Proof of Heaven ~ a book review

Proof of Heaven
A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife
By Eben Alexander, M.D.*

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Book Review by REV REJA JANAKI JOY GREEN*

In today’s world of electronic interconnectedness, it’s amazing how some ideas seem to go ‘Viral’ and others don’t.

I received word of this book via a group email from a friend Tricia Aude who was a friend of  Helen Schucman and William Thetford, scribe and co-scribe respectively of A Course in Miracles and currently transcribes the messages of Jesus aka Rajpur ( Hindi for ‘place of the prince’) as He delivers them through Paul Tuttle.

Or was it a message I received from another dear friend who mentioned they have just purchased and read it via Kindle or a second friend who shared they had just finished it.

The Universe was saying, pay close attention, just as it did years ago when I kept hearing ‘A Course in Miracles’ mentioned over and over or recently when I learned of Anita Moorjani’s NDE experience. It appears that this is another one of those ‘wake up calls’ from [y/our] BEING.

And so it is!

The most significant facets of this Near Death Experience [NDE] are:

  •  The person who experienced it was a skeptical neurosurgeon scientist.
  •  The CORTEX of his brain was not functioning yet he experienced crystal clear clarity.
  •  He had a complete and total recovery from E. coli meningitis, which is a medical miracle.

We may have seen television shows regarding NDE’s which often begin with phenomenal claims of other worldly experiences and end with a scientific de-bunking using medical science of the brain to prove it was ‘all in their head.’ The evidence the scientists present is offered in an effort to show that there IS no ‘scientific proof’ that these experiences were anywhere but in the physical brain. This is exactly how Eben [Dr. Alexander] thought until his own first-hand experience of an NDE.

“The more I read of the “scientific” explanations of what NDE’s are, the more I was shocked by their transparent flimsiness. And yet I also knew with chagrin that they were exactly the ones that the old “me” would have pointed to vaguely if someone had asked me to “explain” what an NDE is.”

As I began reading this book and began reading some of the doctor’s experiences during his seven day coma I noticed a skepticism that was creeping in. I was asking myself: “Does this feel true or is this just another ploy to sell books and ride on the wave of NDE curiosity?”

Although I am very open minded, I always employ my own internal ‘TRUTH METER’. I ask, “Does this resonate with the Truth I know within as the Christ?” This experience Eben was relaying was very different from the NDE’s I am used to reading and hearing about and that caused my comfort zone to be stretched. His NDE, in the beginning, wasn’t all warm and fuzzy and I wondered if it were truly REAL.

As A Course in Miracles tells us, “Nothing REAL can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the Peace of God.”

When Dr. Alexander began to speak about the REALITY of his experience, that’s when my METER registered GREEN! I was getting a sense that the reality of the Interconnectedness and immensity of Spirit that Eben experienced could never be threatened.

“The word real expresses something abstract, and it’s frustratingly ineffective at conveying what I’m trying to describe. Imagine being a kid and going to a movie on a summer day. Maybe the movie was good, and you were entertained as you sat through it. But then the show ended, and you filed out of the theater and back into the deep, vibrant, welcoming warmth of the summer afternoon. And as the air and the sunlight hit you, you wondered why on earth you’d wasted this gorgeous day sitting in a dark theater. Multiply that feeling a thousand times, and you still won’t be anywhere close to what it felt like where I was.”  P.39

Dr. Eben Alexander, husband, father, neurosurgeon  contracted the extremely rare condition of E. coli meningitis completely out of the blue. Only 1 in 10 Million people will do the same. He made a full recovery one month after lying in a coma, near death, for seven days. This book is his best attempt at trying to share an experience which was truly beyond words.

As the book progresses, his story becomes an exquisite tapestry.  The experiences of his family and friends and doctors in the hospital, dealing with this grave E coli infection, are interwoven with a recounting of Eden’s experience as a consciousness, with no connection to the past, in a ‘place’ where words could never do it justice.

Even though it kept the attention of the reader by the vacillating between the solid world that we know and the ephemeral albeit Real world that Eben was experiencing, it wasn’t until toward the end of the book that I found myself grabbing for the tissues.

Just as we have all experienced wanting to tell everyone we know about a great book we just read or a great movie we just saw, Eben wanted to share this discovery with his friends and family and most of all with his colleagues. And that’s when he came up against ‘himself’. He saw in their eyes his own disbelief;  the disbelief he had once embraced.

“I was wildly –and naively–eager to share these experiences, especially with my fellow doctors. After all, what I’d undergone altered my long-held beliefs of what the brain is, what consciousness is, even what life itself means–and doesn’t mean. Who wouldn’t be anxious to hear of my discoveries?”

“Quite a few people, as it turned out. Most especially, people with medical degrees.”

But more than just wanting his colleagues to look beyond the solid physical aspects of their experience, he also extended his Vision to our united situation on this planet. When he expressed these thoughts my heart opened with recognition and empathy:

“For all of the successes of Western civilization, the world has paid a dear price in terms of the most crucial component of existence-our human spirit.”

“The shadow side of high technology—modern warfare and thoughtless homicide and suicide, urban blight, ecological mayhem, cataclysmic climate change, polarization of economic  resources—is bad enough.”

“Much worse, our focus on exponential progress in science and technology has left many of us relatively bereft in the realm of meaning and joy, and of knowing how our lives fit into the grand scheme of existence for all eternity.” P.152

“Without recovering that memory of our larger connectedness, and of the unconditional love of our Creator, we will always feel lost here on earth.” P.171

We are all so ensconced in the 3D that it seems we can’t see the forest for the trees. I began to see Eben, much as he sees himself, as another facet of our infinitude who knows now that he is “Here to Heal”. Eben recovered the memory of our larger connectedness.

“So I was communicating directly with God? Absolutely. Expressed that way, it sounds grandiose. But when it was happening, it didn’t feel that way. Instead, I felt like I was doing what we can all do right now through various methods of prayer and deep meditation.  Communicating with God is the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times.”

“Omniscient, omnipotent, personal—and loving us without conditions. We are connected as One through our divine link with God.” P.161

There is a part of Eben’s life that I have not mentioned and it has everything to do with the message he received and more importantly the Being who brought the message to him. Now I leave that mystery of WHO that was for you to discover, dear reader, although the message itself is for all to know and to remember.

“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”
“You have nothing to fear.”
“There is nothing you can do wrong.”

~*~

The following link is to a 30 minute PRESENTATION by Dr. Eben Alexander
http://bitly.com/ProofofHeaven-Alexander

Excerpts:
“The brain is NOT the cause of consciousness.”
“At the deepest level there is ONE Consciousness.”
“The Body and the physical reality is not all there is to the world.”

Morgan Freeman’s “THROUGH THE WORMHOLE” 43 minutes
http://bitly.com/Wormhole-LifeAfterDeath

~*~

*Eben Alexander, MD  has been an academic neurosurgeon for the pastDr. Eben Alexander 25 years, including 15 years at the Brigham & Women’s and the Children’s Hospitals and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Visit him at www.lifebeyonddeath.net    

*Rev Reja Janaki Joy Green [Reja_CIMS] is one of the founding members of the Course in Reja Joy GreenMiracles Society [CIMS]; She is the CIMS webmaster, newsletter editor and producer of the Daily Lesson Mailings. Rev Reja facilitates the Course in Miracles study group in Omaha,  and at the time of this writing was in the 2nd year of the  CMC Ministerial program.  

As a registered Yoga Instructor, Rev Reja teaches Hatha Yoga from the perspective of A Course in Miracles and hosts several social media groups for those who share this journey. Currently she resides with her loving husband Chris Green in Omaha, NE.

Anita Moorjani ~ Dying To Be Me … a review


DYING TO BE ME

MY JOURNEY FROM CANCER,
TO NEAR DEATH,
TO TRUE HEALING

By ANITA MOORJANI

www.anitamoorjani.com
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

[as it appeared in the June 2012 Newsletter]

Review by Reja Joy Green

“It was as though every moment held infinite possibilities,
and where I was at that point in time was a culmination of every decision,
every choice, and every thought of my entire life.
My many fears and my great power had manifested as this disease.”

When I read this paragraph in Anita Moorjani’s book “DYING TO BE ME: MY JOURNEY FROM CANCER, TO NEAR DEATH, TO TRUE HEALING”  it reminded me of what my husband and I often say to participants as we begin our  presentations on A Course in Miracles [ACIM]. We express the idea that absolutely every decision they have made in  their lives has culminated in bringing them to this room and to this moment. Likewise, every decision I have ever made in my life has brought me to writing this review in this moment and all of the decisions you have EVER made have brought you to this moment in which you are reading it.

It was the next sentence in that paragraph that stopped my mind for a moment:

“My many fears and my great power had manifested as this disease.”

Yes, I have learned and have experienced fear as a power capable of manifesting dis-ease. This is quite understandable. And yet the second part of this sentence was an idea that might even go unnoticed if the reader were looking from their regular, comfortable, point of view. Such a concept may not be understandable and so glossed over. “…my great power had manifested as this disease.”  What did Anita mean by this? Why would our POWER manifest as a disease?

To answer this we may want to start with Anita’s experience of ‘disease’.  A dear friend [Soni] and also her brother in law had contracted cancer and had perished from the disease. When this happened Anita became deathly afraid of getting sick herself and also afraid of the medical treatment when she saw how it had ravaged her friend’s body and had not prevented her death.  In her study of cancer, Anita learned that cancer could come from many activities: the polluted air we breathe, the pesticides and preservatives in our food, the chemicals in the water we drink, even the negative thoughts that we think. Her fear only increased.

And then the inevitable happened. In 2002 Anita was diagnosed with cancer. Since conventional, western style medicine had not helped her friend, Anita tried alternative methods:

“I tried faith healing, praying, meditation, and energy-healing sessions. I read every book I could get my hands on about cancer, learning every possible connotation given to the disease. I worked on forgiveness therapy, and forgave everyone I knew—then forgave them again. I traveled through India and China, meeting Buddhist monks, Indian yogis, and enlightened masters, hoping that they’d help me find answers that would lead to healing. I tried being vegan, meditating on mountaintops, yoga, ayurveda, chakra balancing, Chinese herbal medicine, pranic healing, and Chi Gong. But despite all this, my cancer just kept getting worse.” (Kindle Edition, pp. 133-134).

It was at the point of imminent total organ failure, after a four year battle, that Anita’s fight was over. She completely surrendered to – what turned out to be – REALITY.

In this amazing book, DYING TO BE ME, Anita chronicles her life before her diagnosis in Part I, when she developed  a limiting and fear-filled thought system based on years of harassment and abuse for being seen as ‘different’. She shares how she became completely ‘other centered’ and continually struggled to fit in and be accepted and yet the result was always a deep sense of unworthiness.

Part II chronicles her journey to death and back. Anita describes the “Near Death Experience” [NDE] itself, and what happened next. “Being healed of cancer and working to find a new place in the world has been a surprising, challenging, and exhilarating journey!

In this section, Anita describes how she felt after the NDE when she was aware of a connection with everyone in her life, including those at the hospital:

“I felt as though I were connected to them all at a deep level and knew everything they were feeling and thinking, almost as though we shared the same mind.” (pp. 83-84)

As a Course in Miracles student, reading this is a wonderful  affirmation of what we are learning in the Course which teaches:  ‘minds are joined’.

Part III is an expression of Anita’s understanding of “healing, the way the world is today, and how we can live as a reflection of who we really are, allowing our magnificence to shine through.”

When the end came, and Anita finally let go completely she took the leap of faith, and was buoyed up by the LOVE that she knew herself to BE.  That’s when she realized,

“My many fears and my great power had manifested as this disease.” (p. 70)

Anita shares more about the Power manifesting as disease in the Question and Answer area at the end of her book:

“I had this understanding: Ooh, I see—it didn’t happen to me, because in truth, I’m never a victim. The cancer is just my own unexpressed power and energy! It turned inward against my body, rather than outward. I knew it wasn’t a punishment or anything like that. It was just my own life force expressing itself as cancer because I didn’t allow it to manifest as the magnificent, powerful force of Anita.” (p. 165)

When I read this I recalled a portion of the ACIM TEXT which teaches us:

“The mind chose to divide itself when it willed to create both its own levels and the ability to perceive, but it could not entirely separate itself from the Soul because it is from the Soul that it derives its whole power to create. Even in miscreation will is affirming its Source or it would merely cease to be. This is impossible because it is part of the Soul which God created and which is therefore eternal.” ACIM OrEd.Tx.3.45

We derive our power to create from our Soul which is eternal and to which we are eternally connected. There is only one Power and we are given free will to use that Power. When it doesn’t have an avenue of expression it will turn within.

In Anita’s NDE, she came to realize that it was her self-identity which caused the POWER to turn inward:

“I believe that my cancer was related to my self-identity, and it feels as though it was my body’s way of telling me that my soul was grieving for the loss of its own worth—of its identity. If I’d known the truth of who I actually am, I wouldn’t have gotten cancer!” (p. 180)

And Lesson 136 in A Course in Miracles tells us:

Sickness is a defense against the truth.
I will accept the truth of what I am
And let my mind be wholly healed today
.”

Time is also amazing when viewed from within the NDE.

“Time felt different in that realm, too, and I felt all moments at once. I was aware of everything that pertained to me—past, present, and future—simultaneously. I became conscious of what seemed to be simultaneous lives playing out.” (p. 67)

In ACIM we learn that time is an illusion.

Only eternity is real. Why not use the illusion of time constructively?” ACIM OrEd.Tx.1.26

“It is in the reality of now, without past or future, that the beginning of the appreciation of eternity lies. For only now is here, and it presents the opportunities for the holy encounters in which salvation can be found”. ACIM OrEd.Tx.12.30

Anita comes to the realization that Now is the only time there is and how it holds our ‘salvation’!

“But if all time and experience exist right now, and we’re simply moving through it as we express our magnificence in a physical world, then we have nothing to fear. We don’t have to live in anxiety about what comes next. We can recognize the energy that we’re already a part of, and we can be love in every aspect of our lives. It’s unfortunate that we keep searching outside ourselves for answers—in religion, medicine, scientific study, books, and other people. We think the truth is somewhere out there, still elusive. Yet by doing this, we’re only getting more and more lost, appearing to move from who we truly are. The entire universe is within us.” (p. 144)

And as Course students we are well aware of the dictum:

Seek not outside yourself. The search implies you are not whole within and fear to look upon your devastation and prefer to seek outside yourself for what you are.” ACIM OrEd.Tx.29.46

“Heaven is here. There is nowhere else. Heaven is now. There is no other time.” ACIM Manual for Teachers, #24, 6

This book by Anita Moorjani is such an amazing gift of love.  I am so deeply grateful for her willingness to heal others by sharing her experience of healing.  Anita had tried ‘forgiveness’ as a healing method for her ‘cancer’ and it had failed. She was using the paradigm of thinking something needed to be forgiven, although forgiveness is only called for once there is condemnation.

In her NDE, Anita experienced that we are seemingly suffering from another type of cancer and that is the cancer of the mind which shows up as our condemnation of others for the evil they have done. Anita shares that in the NDE:

“There’s absolutely no condemnation in that realm, because there’s nothing to condemn—we’re all pure consciousness.  On the other side, there’s total clarity about why we are the way we are and why we did anything we did, no matter how unethical it felt in life. I believe that those who hurt others only do so out of their own pain and their feelings of limitation and separation. Perpetrators of acts such as rape and murder are far removed from even having an inkling of their own magnificence.” (p. 169)

This experience of the light beyond the apparent brought Anita the realization that, there is no longer “Us and them”:

“Criminals have lost their center, and what they’re doing to others is actually a reflection of how they feel inside about themselves. We like to think of perpetrators and victims as ‘them’ and ‘us,’ but there is no ‘them.’ It’s all us!

“When we realize this, we feel only connection with everyone and everything. I understood that in the other realm, we’re all One. We’re all the same.” (p. 170)

Synchronistic-ly, today’s ACIM Lesson tells us:

Christ’s vision has one law. It does not look upon a body and mistake it for the Son whom God created. It beholds a light beyond the body, an idea beyond what can be touched, a purity undimmed by errors, pitiful mistakes, and fearful thoughts of guilt from dreams of sin. It sees no separation. And it looks on everyone, on every circumstance, all happenings, and all events without the slightest fading of the light it sees.” ACIM Lesson 158

Anita shared in her book that she went from an ‘outside-in’ view of reality to an ‘inside-out’ view. She wrote that she used to think that the external world was real and “that I had to work within its confines”.  With this view she realized she had given her power away to the outside world and that external events had the ability to control her. “Even illness was an external event that just ‘happened’ to me randomly.”

Anita then writes:

“However, after my NDE, I began to see myself as a divine and integral part of the greater Whole. This includes everything in the entire universe, everything that has ever existed and ever will, and it’s all connected. I realized that I was at the center of this universe, and knew that we all express from our perspective, as we’re each at the center of this great cosmic web.” (p. 113)

Reading these words puts me once again in touch with the essence of Who I AM.

It seems only appropriate to end this article with the very last words in Anita’s book which are the truly inspiring and always make me cry to read them.

In the Question and Answer section the Questions was:

“If there were a message or lesson from your NDE that you wish everyone could know or understand, something that you wish you could shout out from the rooftops, what would that be?”

And Anita answers with all the Love in her Heart:

“ I would want you to know that every part of you is magnificent—your ego, intellect, body, and spirit. It’s who you are—a beautiful product of this Universe’s creation. Every aspect of you is perfect. There’s nothing to let go, nothing to forgive, nothing to attain. You already are everything you need to be. It can seem so complicated, but it’s not.

“If a religion makes you feel lesser than its deities, then you’ve either misinterpreted it or it’s not doing a good job of teaching you the truth. If a guru, teacher, or master makes you feel that you aren’t “yet” enlightened and still have more to “learn,” “release,” or “let go of” before getting there, then they’re not doing a good job of teaching you who you truly are, or you’re misunderstanding them.

“Remind everyone close to you to be themselves, and tell them that you love them just the way they are! They’re perfect and so are you. There’s nothing not to love. Most suffering stems from feeling “less than.” You aren’t less than anything or anyone! You are complete.

“The only thing you need to learn is that you already are what you’re seeking to attain. Just express your uniqueness fearlessly, with abandon! That’s why you’re made the way you are, and that’s why you’re here in the physical world. (pp. 182-183)

P.S. “As though to confirm my realization, I became aware of both my father and Soni communicating to me: Now that you know the truth of who you really are, go back and live your life fearlessly!” (p. 76).

And she is!!

I believe that the greatest truths of the universe don’t lie outside,
in the study of the stars and the planets.
They lie deep within us, in the magnificence of our heart, mind, and soul.
Until we understand what is within,
we can’t understand what is without.
I share my story here in the hope of touching your heart in some way
and reminding you of your own magnificence.

~ Anita Moorjani

Near Death Experience Research Foundation [NDERF] INTERVIEW
with Anita Moorjani

Anita Moorjani was born in Singapore and then lived in Sri Lanka until she was 2 years old. An ethnic Sindhi woman from India, her family then moved to Hong Kong where she grew up speaking fluent Sindhi, Cantonese and English, as well as being conversant with a multitude of cultural idioms. She was educated in English schools in Hong Kong and later studied in England before returning to Hong Kong to take up a senior management position for a French fashion company where she traveled all over the world using her multi-cultural, multilingual background in a variety of business and social settings.

Donald James Giacobbe ~ The Purpose of Unifying the Mind


The Purpose of Unifying the Mind

by Donald James Giacobbe*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

[as it appeared in the November 2011 Newsletter]

 

This article about unifying the mind is  an excerpt from the book
Christian Meditation Inspired by Yoga and “A Course in Miracles”:
Opening to Divine Love in Contemplation.

 

  My approach to spirituality before studying the Course was a blending of yoga and seeking Christ within, which included a heavy emphasis on practicing meditation. Yoga means “union.” I thought meditation was my best means of joining with the Holy Spirit to bring about unification. But what does the Course say about joining with the Holy Spirit?

            Joining with Him in seeing is the way in which you learn to share with Him the interpretation of perception that leads to knowledge. You cannot see alone. Sharing perception with Him Whom God has given you teaches you how to recognize what you see. It is the recognition that nothing you see means anything alone. Seeing with Him will show you that all meaning, including yours, comes not from double vision, but from the gentle fusing of everything into one meaning, one emotion and one purpose. God has one purpose which He shares with you. The single vision which the Holy Spirit offers you will bring this oneness to your mind with clarity and brightness so intense you could not wish, for all the world, not to accept what God would have you have. Behold your will, accepting it as His, with all His Love as yours. All honor to you through Him, and through Him unto God.[1]

          Yes, union with the Holy Spirit happens in meditation, but prior to studying the Course, I did not appreciate the value of perception and did not know how to best use it for my spiritual growth. I know that in meditation I could reduced my scattered perceptions by focusing on one perception. Also, I knew that I could let go of even that single perception and enter the restful state of contemplation. But I thought that the limit to perception was its unification into one perception during meditation, and I was convinced that the best use of perception was to let go of it altogether. It did not occur to me that what I had learned about perception in meditation could be generalized into my daily life. I thought that my outer experience of the world was so filled with scattered perceptions that I could not possibly unify them as I could in meditation. Yet from the Course, I would learn how to focus on what the quotation above describes as the “one meaning, one emotion, one purpose,” which is the one purpose God shares with me. It is the purpose of oneness itself, which in a practical sense means the unification of perceptions that seem to be separate. The oneness of my meaning, emotion, and purpose, and, indeed my oneness with God Himself, is in my mind now. I realized that to find the oneness in my mind, I needed to learn how to unify my thought system, meaning to unify what appeared to be totally disorganized perceptions.

~*~

            When I first started to read the Course, I learned about many ways of using perceptions to grow spiritually. Here is a list of some specific Course recommendations for changing perceptions:

THE SHIFT FROM FALSE PERCEPTIONS TO TRUE PERCEPTIONS

From self-will to God’s Will

From illusions of the past to the awareness of now

From private thoughts to thinking with the Holy Spirit

From perceiving separation to perceiving oneness

From unloving perceptions to loving perceptions

From illusions of nightmares to happy dreams

From projecting guilt to accepting innocence

From holding grievances to giving forgiveness

From attack thoughts to miracles

From illusions of special love to extending love to everyone

From mistakes to corrected perception

From seeing with the body’s eyes to seeing with Christ’s eyes

UNIFYING THE MIND LEADS TO DIVINE UNION

           It seems at first glance that all these approaches to changing perceptions are different, but they have the common element of unifying perceptions by directing new perceptions toward the one goal of God. Because my background was in Christian yoga, I decided to use the term “Miracle Yoga” to describe my understanding of the Course. The goal of the Course is to unify perceptions. The five aspects of Miracle Yoga emphasize a single approach to unifying perceptions. Miracle Raja Yoga arrives at the unification of perception by focusing inwardly in meditation on one thought, which has already been emphasized. Miracle Bhakti Yoga brings about the unification of perception by centering on one emotion, which is love. Miracle Karma Yoga relies on maintaining one function to accomplish the unification of perception. Miracle Relationship Yoga produces the unification of perception through one relationship. Miracle Jnana Yoga achieves the unification of perception by seeking one truth.

          The five methods of Miracle Yoga lead to five places. In the practice of meditation used in Miracle Raja Yoga, you use one thought to bring stillness to the mind. “And turn you to the stately calm within, where in holy stillness dwells the living God you never left, and Who never left you.”[2] Meditation is a process of moving the mind from many distracting thoughts to one thought. The objective is to unify the mind. “One thought, completely unified, will serve to unify all thought.”[3] In meditation moving the mind in the direction of unification based on one thought leads to the “circle of your peace.” This place has many other names: “inner altar,” “changeless dwelling place,” and “holy sanctuary.”

            In Him you have no cares and no concerns, no burdens, no anxiety, no pain, no fear of future and no past regrets. In timelessness you rest, while time goes by without its touch upon you, for your rest can never change in any way at all. You rest today. And as you close your eyes, sink into stillness. Let these periods of rest and respite reassure your mind that all its frantic fantasies were but the dreams of fever that has passed away. Let it be still and thankfully accept its healing. No more fearful dreams will come, now that you rest in God. Take time today to slip away from dreams and into peace….

            You rest within the peace of God today, and call upon your brothers from your rest to draw them to their rest, along with you. You will be faithful to your trust today, forgetting no one, bringing everyone into the boundless circle of your peace, the holy sanctuary where you rest. Open the temple doors and let them come from far across the world, and near as well; your distant brothers and your closest friends; bid them all enter here and rest with you.[4]

          Miracle Bhakti Yoga emphasizes love. The focus on this one emotion of love unifies the mind because love itself is unifying, described in this way: “…the attraction of love for love remains irresistible. For it is the function of love to unite all things unto itself, and to hold all things together by extending its wholeness.”[5] Focusing on love brings you to the “real world,” which is also called the “circle of brightness” and the “happy dream,” and which consists of only loving perceptions.

            This world of light, this circle of brightness is the real world, where guilt meets with forgiveness. Here the world outside is seen anew, without the shadow of guilt upon it. Here are you forgiven, for here you have forgiven everyone. Here is the new perception, where everything is bright and shining with innocence, washed in the waters of forgiveness, and cleansed of every evil thought you laid upon it. Here there is no attack upon the Son of God, and you are welcome. Here is your innocence, waiting to clothe you and protect you, and make you ready for the final step in the journey inward. Here are the dark and heavy garments of guilt laid by, and gently replaced by purity and love.

           Yet even forgiveness is not the end. Forgiveness does make lovely, but it does not create. It is the source of healing, but it is the messenger of love and not its Source. Here you are led, that God Himself can take the final step unhindered, for here does nothing interfere with love, letting it be itself. A step beyond this holy place of forgiveness, a step still further inward but the one you cannot take, transports you to something completely different. Here is the Source of light; nothing perceived, forgiven nor transformed. But merely known.[6]

          Miracle Karma Yoga involves taking selfless action and expressing your function. Applying the one function of following God’s Will and God’s Plan leads to the “Circle of Atonement.” Your special function is always a form of forgiving others, which enables you to forgive yourself.

            Everyone has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each one is always the same; God’s Son is guiltless. Each one teaches the message differently, and learns it differently. Yet until he teaches it and learns it, he will suffer the pain of dim awareness that his true function remains unfulfilled in him. The burden of guilt is heavy, but God would not have you bound by it. His plan for your awaking is as perfect as yours is fallible. You know not what you do, but He Who knows is with you. His gentleness is yours, and all the love you share with God He holds in trust for you. He would teach you nothing except how to be happy….

           Each one you see you place within the holy circle of Atonement or leave outside, judging him fit for crucifixion or for redemption. If you bring him into the circle of purity, you will rest there with him. If you leave him without, you join him there. Judge not except in quietness which is not of you. Refuse to accept anyone as without the blessing of Atonement, and bring him into it by blessing him. Holiness must be shared, for therein lies everything that makes it holy. Come gladly to the holy circle, and look out in peace on all who think they are outside. Cast no one out, for here is what he seeks along with you. Come, let us join him in the holy place of peace which is for all of us, united as one within the Cause of peace.[7]

          Miracle Relationship Yoga is focused on holy relationships based on partners having a common purpose and seeing holiness in everyone. Maintaining a relationship of holiness allows you to see the “face of Christ,” which is the “vision of the Son of God.” In the holy relationship, you have the opportunity to see the light behind your brother’s body and see his guiltlessness. Looking past your brother’s mask, you can even perceive the face of Christ. “The face of Christ is looked upon before the Father is remembered.”[8] The face of Christ reminds you of your true relationship with God and with all your brothers and sisters in Christ.

            You have a real relationship, and it has meaning. It is as like your real relationship with God as equal things are like unto each other. Idolatry is past and meaningless. Perhaps you fear your brother a little yet; perhaps a shadow of the fear of God remains with you. Yet what is that to those who have been given one true relationship beyond the body? Can they be long held back from looking on the face of Christ? And can they long withhold the memory of their relationship with their Father from themselves, and keep remembrance of His Love apart from their awareness?[9]

Miracle Jnana Yoga is concerned with finding truth and gaining understanding. This seeking of one truth leads you to the “borderland” where all false perceptions are replaced by true perceptions. Here you choose between illusions and truth by bringing them together and seeing that illusions are meaningless and so can be easily released.

            There is a borderland of thought that stands between this world and Heaven. It is not a [physical] place, and when you reach it is apart from time. Here is the meeting place where thoughts are brought together; where conflicting values meet and all illusions are laid down beside the truth, where they are judged to be untrue. This borderland is just beyond the gate of Heaven. Here is every thought made pure and wholly simple. Here is sin denied, and everything that is received instead.

This is the journey’s end. We have referred to it as the real world. And yet there is a contradiction here, in that the words imply a limited reality, a partial truth, a segment of the universe made true. This is because knowledge makes no attack upon perception. They are brought together, and only one continues past the gate where oneness is. Salvation is a borderland where place and time and choice have meaning still, and yet it can be seen that they are temporary, out of place, and every choice has been already made.

Nothing the Son of God believes can be destroyed. But what is truth to him must be brought to the last comparison that he will ever make; the last evaluation that will be possible, the final judgment upon this world. It is the judgment of the truth upon illusion, of knowledge on perception: “It has no meaning, and does not exist.” This is not your decision. It is but a simple statement of a simple fact. But in this world there are no simple facts, because what is the same and what is different remain unclear. The one essential thing to make a choice at all is this distinction. And herein lies the difference between the worlds. In this one, choice is made impossible. In the real world is choosing simplified. [10]

There may be some uncertainty in your mind about whether you will ever manage to let go of all illusions and accept your place in Heaven. But the Course maintains that there is no uncertainty in God, and so, you can trust in His Will being accomplished. “Have faith in only this one thing, and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you.”[11]Your going Home is only a matter of time, and time itself is just another illusion.

~*~

**References are from 2nd Edition of A Course in Miracles, published by Foundation for Inner Peace
To locate these References in A Course in Miracles – Original Edition please do a phrase search on-line

1. T-14.VII.7.1-9, pp. 288-289

2. T-18.I.8:2, pp. 373-374

3. W-108.5:1, p. 195

4. W-109.5:1-8, 8:1-3, pp. 197-198

5. T-12.VIII.7:10-11, p. 235

6. T-18.IX.9:1-7, 10:1-7, pp. 395-396

7. T-14.V.2:1-8, 11:1-9, pp. 282, 284

8. T-30.V.7:5, p. 637

9. T-20.VI.12.5-11, p. 439

10. T-26.III.2:1-14, 3:1-6, 4:1-10, pp. 546-547

11. T-13.XI.7:1, p. 268

~*~

*Donald James Giacobbe was the director of the Aquarian Age Yoga Center in Virginia Beach, VA. He provided yoga teacher training certification courses and led meditation workshops and retreats. Don has attempted in his teaching of meditation to strip away the rituals of Zen Buddhism and yoga practices and transpose only the bare essence into a Christian context. Don encourages the doing of God’s Will, being receptive to the Holy Spirit, and finding Christ within the temple of one’s own heart. While respecting all Christian spiritual expressions, he became a monk by making his vow directly to God, without the stamp of approval from any religious organization. In 1988 Don became a student of A Course in Miracles, and his practice and teaching subsequently changed from “Christian Yoga” to “Miracle Yoga” This form of spirituality is a synthesis of yoga and the philosophy of A Course in Miracles, encouraging the seeker to see with “forgiving eyes” and perceive Christ in everyone. Don’s goal is to maintain a balance between opening to divine love inwardly and allowing that love to be extended outwardly to others.

You can find a more complete description of the five aspects of Miracle Yoga at http://miracleyoga.org/

** All quotes in the article and references (with pages noted) are from the “second edition” of the Course published by Foundation for Inner Peace.

 

Available on Amazon

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Scott Kalechstein Grace ~ Teach Me How To Love

Teach Me How To Love

A True Story  that Touches Hearts and
Helps with the Laundry

[Song on YouTube]

TeachMeHowToLove

[For more information on this book, just CLICK the picture above]

Oh my! What an experience. There I am on my  porch-deck, crying – then laughing – then laughing – then crying. There was so  much I resonated with in Scott Kalechstein Grace’s book “Teach Me HOW TO  LOVE” Teach Me How to Love: A True Story That Touches Hearts & Helps With The Laundry.  I absolutely loved it!!

Not only did I also live in New York City around the same time as Scott did,
but I also went through a very similar search for meaning. I bookmarked some places that intrigued me like when Scott “focused like a laser beam on the here and now”. It was during that time when Scott was a struggling artist
selling laundry bags on the street’s of the NYC boroughs and had to vigilantly be on the watch for the police. Scott wrote, “Perhaps the finest moments of connection happen when we are willing to abandon the popular script and improvise our own”, speaking of when he handed a funny permission slip from his Mom to the police who came back later and wanted a copy of it since their cronies hadn’t believe them.

Scott wrote of his laundry bag performance as a “ministry” which it
truly was. Throughout the book we witness Scott’s ability to be HERE and NOW no matter what he is doing and to transform day to day interactions into moments of “connection”. My husband is a mainframe programmer and works in various cities but he always sees it truly as a venue to extend his love. My husband goes to work, much as Scott describes his work in this book:

“excited and eager to make a small difference in people’s lives, to bring a little levity to their gravity.” People end up realizing that there’s
been a shift in their lives and they are just not the same as before and that’s because their hearts have been touched by the extension of Love.

That’s the gift Scott has and it’s a gift he has now developed to the point of being able to transform his connection with others into an instant “Song Portrait”.[He shared this talent recently on Facebook!]

AH, and Scott shared so many synchronicities in his book! I love synchronicities! They are incredible, like when Scott “heard” to play
“AMAZING GRACE” in the airport and a man in the crowd shared that he had just buried his Mom and that song was her favorite and how he felt it was a message from her. The man said, with tears in his eyes: “I felt her presence. I heard her telling me she was quite all right, and that she would always be with me.”

Another time Scott was guided to pick up a little pamphlet at a workshop, just after asking for guidance in healing the relationship between himself and his mother and discovered that the pamphlet contained a conversation between the workshop leader and an unidentified person which was actually SCOTT! The conversation had occurred four years earlier at another workshop in which Scott was working out his relationship with his Mom!! Afterwards Scott got a chance to share the pamphlet with his Mom which began the healing of their relationship.

Throughout the book Scott shares his breakthroughs which are incredibly genuine and heartfelt. There was the time Scott got his white pants dirty just before having to stand up and give a talk and he was quite upset until he finally realized, “Is there ever a moment or place where the opportunity to express love doesn’t exist?” NO!! Now is the only time there is and LOVE can always be expressed. Love waits on welcome, not on time.

Regarding Soulmates, Scott wrote: “I imagine if Jesus were preaching to today’s crowd on the Soulmate subject that he might say: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of your own soul, and your Soulmate will be added unto you.'” That was my experience. I had finally given up and said, OK God. I am here only to be truly helpful. If that means I will be alone, so be it. I am here only to heal, to be healed and to love. I decided to stay in NE and shortly afterwards met and married my Soulmate!!

Scott wrote: “Music had always been a source of great joy for me, but it was beginning to show up as something I never knew it could be: a delivery system for guidance, healing and transformation.”

That’s what this book is. It’s a delivery system for Guidance, Healing and Transformation. It gives us a wonderful glimpse into Scott’s journey, which is our own, as he opens up his heart and lets himself be Guided. I’m blessed to  have read it and now I’m blessed to be sharing it with you. As the sub-title says: It’s “A True Story that touches hearts and Helps with the Laundry”!!

Reja Janaki Joy Green
Omaha, NE
[More of Scott’s music in CIMS October Newsletter]

*Scott Kalechstein Grace lives in Marin California with his lovely partner Venus, and their darling daughter Aysia. He is a Writer / Coach / Comedian / Speaker, as well as a Singer / Songwriter / Recording Artist / Minister and Workshop Leader.

 

Bette Jean Cundiff ~ Sacred Steps

 

Sacred Steps: A Program of Soul Progression

Based on Ancient Yoga and A Course in Miracles

By Bette Jean Cundiff*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~

When I was asked by the author to write the forward to her book, I was extremely honored. I agreed to read the book and then I would decide how I felt about it.

The following is my forward and as you can see, I was very moved by its beauty and artistry as it weaved together Ancient Yoga and A Course in Miracles, both disciplines that I truly love. ~ REJA JANAKI JOY GREEN

FORWARD

In A Course in Miracles our Elder Brother reminds us that there are no accidents.

“There are no accidents in salvation.
Those who are to meet will meet because together
they have the potential for a holy relationship.
They are ready for each other.”

~A Course in Miracles-original edition [ACIM-oe] Manual For Teachers #3 What are the Levels of Teaching?

You have this book in your hands or you are reading it as an eBook and that is no accident. Every decision you have ever made throughout your entire life has brought you to this beautiful moment of NOW. And in this beautiful moment of NOW there is no past. The future is not yet. There is only this Holy Instant in which you are being called once again to LISTEN. LISTEN within for Guidance. LISTEN to your Soul and let it tell you the next right step on your journey without distance. That next right step may very well be these “Sacred Steps”.

I first met Bette Jean Cundiff in New York City in the 1980’s when I attended a workshop she was giving together with Paul Steinberg. Paul was the brother of Saul Steinberg who was the printer of the very first set of the hardback edition of A Course in Miracles through Coleman Graphics. The workshop was called, “Miracle Experiences: The Goals and Healing of Your Special Relationships in ‘A Course in Miracles’ “ and was one of the first I had taken as I began my journey with A Course in Miracles.

Bette had also written “The Children’s Material” which I used as a guide in bringing up my young son using the principles of A Course in Miracles. I owe Bette a debt of gratitude for this material and the benefit my son and I received. I recall my son would turn to me and in his little voice would chide me saying, “Mommy. Where is your happiness?”; Knowing I would remember that it is inside me, and would point to my own heart as we would both smile in remembrance and recognition. ♥

And now we come to “Sacred Steps: A Program for Soul Progression”, Bette’s most current book which appears to be a culmination of the past 30 years of studying, sharing, teaching and writing about what she has learned and what has been ‘given’ to her through inner Guidance.

As a student and teacher of Yoga, as well as a student of A Course in Miracles, I cherish the beautiful and artful integration of ancient yoga with A Course in Miracles that Bette presents here. The ideas are thought provoking and creative but more than that, they are presented in a way that brings a feeling of peace and unconditional love. I felt nurtured and safe and my heart opened to their Truth. The words were more like notes in a symphony and each word and even each letter seemed to be wrapped in LOVE; a LOVE which was almost palpable.

Describing each Chakra, Bette uses color, texture, and feeling to paint an in-depth picture offering a deep experience of their meaning. Then, in-between each description, additional information builds a foundation: Your Electromagnetic Field; The Power of the Universe as the Sacred Serpent; The Body’s Windows [major organs and glands] ; The Earth’s Windows [vortices]; The Celestial Radiance [personal aura]; The Rhythm of Color [Color as waves of energy]. I discovered that this foundation brought with it an appreciation for life.

“…And every time you walk into a room you change the whole electromagnetic energy field by your simple presence.” P30

As well as a sense of renewed responsibility:

Your personal and radiant aura offers your message of peace and love to the world. It surrounds, you, caresses you and gently or powerfully touches the people in your life.” P46

Bette beautifully presents the chakras as related to the levels of Soul evolution but then offers various modalities such as Sacred symbols [geometrics] as well as movement and affirmations to help with the integration. And finally there is practical application with a personal training program offered in the form of a Workbook.

My sense is that this book is a blessed gift offered to your Soul from another aspect of the Infinitude which is One with you. It’s truly a gift of Love to Love. There is only this Holy Instant in which you are being called once again to LISTEN. LISTEN within for Guidance. LISTEN to your Soul and let it tell you the next right step on your journey without distance. That next right step may very well be these “Sacred Steps”.

Reja Janaki Joy Green
Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]

~~*~~

*Bette Cundiff has been a teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1977 and has traveled throughout the US, Canada and Australia setting up conferences which teach about forgiveness. She is author of the internationally recognized children’s version of A Course in Miracles, “The Children’s Material” and has also produced a full miracles course in a novel for the young reader “Help is on the Way!”. In addition Bette is author of “Side by Side, the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”. Many of her books have been translated into Spanish.

Here is Bette, in her own words:

In 1976 a powerful light filled ‘voice’ impressed onto my mind wonderful thoughts that I could not help but write down. Writing books naturally followed. Over the years this Guiding Light has occasionally assumed a sense of personality, but no matter, I knew the wisdom given to me came from That which fills us, directs us and of course loves us all. For more than thirty years I lectured around the world on spiritual psychology, comparative religions, spirituality, A Course in Miracles, the Twelve Steps and co-dependency recovery and so much more. From that time on, studying, sharing, starting up study groups globally, and writing about what I had learned and what was ‘given to me’ through inner guidance has been my passion.

Susan Dugan ~ Runaway Bunny


Runaway Bunny

by Susan Dugan*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 [as it appeared in the June 2011 Newsletter]

“Read it again, Mama,” my then two-year-old daughter would chant night after night at bedtime. And regardless of how tired I was, I would start over, vaguely conscious even then that my own little bunny would all too soon be running away as all little bunnies eventually do.

“Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away,” I read.

“So he said to his mother, ‘I am running away,’” my daughter would chime in. She loved that part.

“’If you run away,’ said his mother,” I continued, “‘I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.’”

Like most young children, my daughter loved this tale by Margaret Wise Brown concerning a little bunny’s fantasies about striking off on its own, assuming various identities and hell-bent at trading the security of a safe, toasty warren and a parent’s adoration for more alluring horizons. Becoming for example a fish in a trout stream that tries to swim away only to have its mother come after him and fish him out with a pole. My daughter would clap her small hands as the little bunny became a rock on a mountain, a crocus in a garden, a circus performer, and a sailboat in its frenzy for freedom and laugh as the patiently indulgent mother followed in hot pursuit, morphing into a mountain climber, a gardener, a trapeze artist, and a steady wind to blow him back into her loving fold.

“Read it again, Mama,” my daughter would command each time I attempted to close the book. Because, in truth, she liked the descriptions of the bunny’s adventures and the Mama’s chase much more than the ending where the bunny gives up and comes home. She has always been like this. In daycare, instead of clinging and pitching fits like normal children, she would wiggle down off my hip and toddle bravely off toward the playroom calling out names and dispensing hugs like a politician working a fundraiser. I would stand watching as the other parents labored to pry their writhing, wailing spawn from their calves, trying to convince myself that this was a good thing. I had raised a confident child. Still, it was all I could do to resist casting a line and reeling her back in.

Fast forward 16 years and my daughter is mentally and emotionally preparing to leave the family den without so much as a backward glance as all brave bunnies eventually will. Chomping at the bit to forge a new, improved, and more exciting life for herself. I am acutely aware–as we begin her final semester in high school and final varsity soccer season; as we start filling out graduation announcements and planning a celebration for family and friends–that my days as a live-in parent are numbered. As she studies for her final IB exams and weighs final college offers, I am also conscious that the story of The Runaway Bunny is everyone’s story, a story of taking the “tiny mad idea” that we could flee our Father’s all-encompassing, eternal Love and play hide and seek with him in a hallucinated world of which he—remaining thankfully, unalterably sane–knows nothing.

I’m OK with this, I tell myself as I set about whipping up another comfort food classic—macaroni and cheese and tuna noodle casserole and my famous spicy turkey meatloaf—she is, ironically, rarely around long enough anymore to eat. I know I am really trying to assuage my own persistent sense of loss. A nagging regret that defies my growing faith in what A Course in Miracles is saying. Its take on the nature of our closest relationships and the enduring specialness of this specific relationship in particular I still think I want more than the perfect, all-inclusive Love all the seeming fragments of the one child of God continue to pretend to push away.

Then, too, I catch myself watching my daughter sometimes with a deep sense of longing, wishing I could impart what I am learning in A Course in Miracles about our universal authority problem, the ego’s journey into an invented world wherein it continually seeks but never finds itself.  A reenactment of the original journey away from the mind we embarked on when we forgot to laugh at the thought of separating from our creator, choosing instead to follow the ego away from the one mind and then forget we ever had a mind. Assuming bodies–intent on competing both for survival and divine attention and approval–and forging deeper and deeper into a dream of self-imposed exile from perfect, eternal, all-inclusive Love. Cutting deals with others to get our needs met that never work for long enough while continuing to try to entice the ego’s God to follow us into this world and validate our illusions.

But I know we cannot fix or change or spare any of the inhabitants of this world what the Course calls their “curriculum,” not even the ones we literally bring into it. This comes as a particular affront to parents and yet, we can only choose love over fear whenever an opportunity to do so presents itself. We can only choose for the inner teacher of love; thereby teaching love; the inner teacher of invulnerable strength; thereby teaching invulnerable strength.

On the level of form, I find myself grieving what still sometimes feels like my daughter’s impending defection, even as I recognize the time has come for her to give this world’s illusions her best shot. We have outgrown my long fantasized ability to protect and control her and I realize that the faster she experiences all the world has to offer, the more quickly she will learn to resign as her own teacher as we all must eventually do. Still, a part of me wishes I could somehow intervene, somehow spare her the time and disillusionment that eventually propels us to finally plead for a better way.

Sometimes I still wish I could just convince my daughter to accept the ending to The Runaway Bunny, wherein the little bunny realizes it might just as well stay put and reap the benefits of maternal nurturing and the mother rewards him with a big, fat carrot. But I know too much about how this dream works now. Besides, that would require me to accept it myself and I am not quite there yet, still invested in this world at least when it comes to the fate of my little bunny as I swallow another spoon of baked mashed potatoes in her behalf and wait with my little dog for my daughter to come home.

~*~

*Susan Dugan is an A Course in Miracles student and teacher blogging about practicing ACIM’s extraordinary forgiveness at www.foraysinforgiveness.com. Her collection of personal forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness was recently published by O-Books and is now available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Extraordinary-Ordinary-Forgiveness-Susan-Dugan/dp/1846945585. She appears in the documentary A Course in Miracles: The Movie along with premier Course Scholar and Teacher Kenneth Wapnick, PhD, best-selling Course Author Gary Renard, and Nouk Sanchez and Tomas Vieira, Take Me To Truth: Undoing the Ego.

 

Nothing to Forgive ~ J. Michaels

 

Nothing to Forgive

By J. Michaels*

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

http://www.jmichaelsbooks.biz

[As it appears in the June 2011 Newsletter]

 

The goal of forgiveness is to realize that there is nothing to forgive. That goal is stated quite eloquently in one of the most articulate and persuasive books ever produced in the English language, the revolutionary spiritual teaching of A Course in Miracles.  I have studied this divine curriculum on a daily basis ever since the first time I picked it up, almost twenty years ago. That teaching, studied so diligently and absorbedly, changed my life in unimaginable ways and led me away from an egocentric, self-absorbed existence to a life now filled with blessings. That long and inspired journey taught me forgiveness, which opened my mind to the infinite possibility of a life existing alongside the delusional and ego-ruled existence that we know as “the world”. I came to see that divine possibility as an ever-existing reality which lives just outside our perceptual boundaries, yet knows no peer or even comparative examples in an inherently-limited, perceptual world. If I may, I will borrow a few minutes from your day to tell you of my adventure and the treasures found in its pursuit.

I received a copy of A Course in Miracles from my wife shortly after the death of my mother. At that time, I had no idea of what it was about (neither did she) and certainly no forewarning of how much it would eventually impact my life. I have always had an inquiring mind, especially when it comes to matters of mind and spirit and that inquisitiveness, accompanied by a deep inner connection, compelled me to study this strange new book. Within a few minutes of my initial reading, I knew I held something very special in my hands. Having always possessed a preference for anything out of the ordinary, the book quickly grabbed my attention and I proceeded to delve into it with an open mind. Despite my proclivity for the unusual, I am also a very pragmatic, results-oriented person and surprisingly the Course appealed to those leanings as well.

What I discovered was an articulate (even poetic) curriculum for seeing the world as we know it in an entirely new light, one that left me both hopeful and spiritually enlivened. It is an intelligent and insightful view of both the frailties of this world and the reality of the divine realm. Better yet, it gives very precise instruction for dealing effectively with the former and for discovering the truth of the latter. Unlike many spiritual practices, it deals not only with spiritual concerns but also with the part of the mind which drives our ego-centric lives as well as the part capable of unveiling and living in the unified Mind of the Divine.

An essential component of the practice of Course precepts is forgiveness, as mentioned previously. The big difference however is the way the Course defines the term. Unlike the traditional perception of forgiveness as pardoning someone for wronging us, the Course prescribes forgiveness as a means for eliminating the barriers created by the guilt and fear driven ego mind and thereby revealing to us our true spiritual nature. It does so by providing compelling arguments that we should forgive not because someone has wronged us but rather because, in truth, the “wronging” only occurred in an illusory state of mind, or dream. As radical as it may seem, this revolutionary worldview has been proposed and endorsed by such great historical minds such as Plato, William James, Albert Einstein, and Carl Jung, as well as contemporary luminaries such as Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and Dr. Wayne Dyer. The Buddha himself taught that most of us live our lives in a dream state and that our main goal in life ought to be to awaken from it to the reality of our divine nature. Jesus of Nazareth spoke of his “Father’s House” and the many wonders of the divine world as his truth.

The good news is that we can awaken from the illusory dream of a perceptual-based world created by an ego-ruled mind and live our lives in a more enlightened way. That way is the path of forgiveness and of A Course in Miracles.

In order to provide an example of how forgiveness works in the material world, I offer a story from my own life. Many years ago, shortly after my wife and I married, she began to experience dreams in which I was unfaithful to our marriage vows. Although she readily admitted there was no basis for suspicion or the dreams, she continued to have them. Having studied dreams for many years, I understood that they were simply revealing to her aspects of her subconscious that had nothing to do with reality.  Yet the dreams seemed so real to her that upon awakening, she was actually angry at me for some time until it completely dawned on her that she had been dreaming. This is much like what we all experience in dreaming at times and points out how “real” our lives can appear to us, even in a dream state. It is only upon “awakening” that we realize that we have been dreaming and have finally returned to the real world.

I remember similar experiences during the sixties as I experimented with hallucinogenics. The state of mind induced by those drugs convinced me, while under their influence, that my altered state of mind was, in fact, my reality. I was so convinced of it that I did some pretty stupid things. Unlike some others, I did not go as far as to believe I could fly and leap from an upper level balcony, but I suspect that was due more to good providence than good sense.

All of these experiences, including my wife’s dreams, convinced me that our sense of reality is very much conditioned by our state of mind and, that in a perception-based existence, our reality is not only limited but distorted as well. Once we accept that premise, it is but a very short leap to consider the world as we perceive it as misrepresented at best and illusory at worst. My years of study of the Course and subsequent experiences in the world have only served to confirm that belief and to further convince me of the unsatisfying and false view of reality the material world presents.

Though it may seem that we have traveled a tangent here in search of an answer, we have not. For the basis of forgiveness as I have described it here is predicated on the fact that we judge, condemn, and even crucify ourselves and others based on behavior and performance in a world built on illusion. Having said that, should we not forgive ourselves for something we never, in truth, did? Should we not reconsider our allegiance to a world built on such a fragile foundation? And would not a good starting point for that reevaluation be letting go of any judgments or resentment based on what may or may not have actually happened? Any reaction to an event is based on the assumption that what we perceive is true or else would we not simply ignore it? If that premise of truth does not persist under the microscope of reason, do we not do ourselves and others a grave injustice by continuing as if it does? Is it not possible, as the Course states, there is nothing to forgive.

What we discover, once we accept the absurdity of a life based on an illusory foundation, is a reality much more satisfying and certain than any found in the limited, contradictory, and uncertain world we have accepted for so long. Despite a long history of disease, violence, death, wars, and nightmarish epochs such as the Inquisition, we continue to accept our “reality” as our due; while at the same time expounding that it was created by a benevolent, loving Creator. I don’t blame this mess on God. I believe the world as we perceive it is a result of our own misguided perception and willingness to accept illusion as our reality. No perfect, loving God would deign to create divine offspring only to then let them live in such a world. I submit that God did create the world; only not the one we perceive and “validate” with our frail and unreliable senses. I believe He created a world so superior to what we normally experience we would be filled with joy at the mere sight of it. That world, my friends, exists. It has always existed and it will exist forever, whether we are aware of it or not. Yet once we do awaken and become aware of its truth, we will know beyond any doubt whatsoever, that it is the real world and that we have spent our lives dreaming a nightmare of our own construction. But rather than regret, we will know only of the all-encompassing Love our Beloved Creator has used to create the real world. I know this from A Course in Miracles. I know this from practicing forgiveness for twenty years, including the forgiveness of my son’s murderer. And I know this from having seen and touched that world.

Nothing I can put into words can adequately describe of what I speak but know it is a promise made by God to His lost and errant children as they leave the dream of hate and come home to Him in Paradise. Is it not worth some small effort to consider the possibility of a divine life that exists now, and not just some abstract and distant promise of an artifact of mortal death? I look around at the material world and I see no reason to cling so fervently to it or the dismal existence that it offers. For me, I’ll bet my money on forgiveness, and God.

Copyright 2011 J. Michaels

J. Michaels
Writer, Storyteller, Poet
Spiritual Life Coach

                ~

j@jmichaelsbooks.biz
www.jmichaelsbooks.biz

Robyn Busfield ~ Forgiveness is the Home of Miracles

Forgiveness is the Home of Miracles
by Robyn Busfield*

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

http://www.robynbusfield.com/

 [As it appears in the June 2011 Newsletter]

Robyn is a student and teacher of “A Course in Miracles.”
During her first year of the Workbook lessons, she was inspired to relay her personal journey through the lessons.
She shares this personal journey in her new book, “Forgiveness is the Home of Miracles.”
Below is an excerpt taken from Robyn’s new book.

It is August 2007. I have been studying the “Magnetic Laws of the Universe” for more than a decade. Acknowledging and implementing these unquestionable laws over all these years has indeed brought harmonious changes to my once questionable life.

However, little did I know my world was about to change. My perception was about to be questioned yet again. And just when I thought I had it all figured out…

On this warm August day in Redondo Beach, California, I sit to visualize as I had done for many years after discovering the knowledge of the now famous Law of Attraction. I have been visualizing for just a few minutes when I hear this gentle Inner Voice—the Inner Voice I have come to know very well at this point in my life. It gently said, “We are not going to let the Universe know what we want today. Instead, we will be silent and allow a Higher Knowing to let us know what is best.”

I was floored. For many years, each time I visualized, I had received strong, encouraging, passionate feelings. It always felt like the right thing to do. Now, I was getting the message that this was no longer the right thing to do!

After visualizing for so many years, I found it difficult to just stop. It had become a big part of my life. I also wasn’t completely sold on this new idea of not visualizing. So the next morning I sit to visualize once again. It didn’t take long, seconds maybe, before the same Inner Voice led me away from visualizing and gently guided me to hand all outcomes over to a Higher Knowing.

Okay, I didn’t need any more convincing. This August day of 2007 would be the last day I would sit to visualize. I don’t feel this means that I don’t have a say in what I desire to see around me. After exploring the possibility of creation, I have come to understand that whatever I see and enjoy will continue to be. Or whatever I give little focus toward, or desire for, will cease to exist. I know this much: I am not going to walk around with my eyes closed. So, my ability to create a desired environment will continue to be based upon my enjoyment of my surroundings. I think this is the catch: Don’t control the outcome by placing emphasis on the outcome. It’s like the saying, “Let go, let God,” Or, “Jesus take the wheel.” I hand over the controls to my future, because I believe there is a Higher Knowing that knows better than me. Then as I move forward, I move in the direction that I am gently guided to, while enjoying whatever I choose to enjoy along the way.

I feel that there can only be one reason why this change is occurring in my life. I have recently begun to study and practice the principles of a Text and Workbook called A Course in Miracles. A friend had given me this rather large and biblical looking book a few years earlier. At the time I read a little more than half the Text, each page at least four times over to assist in understanding this unique verbiage, and then placed this somewhat complicated book back upon the shelf.

Today, I muse over this shift in perception that the Workbook of the Course obviously is offering. This shift from thinking I understand everything around me to the realization that I really don’t know much at all—which will enforce a new belief in everything that I perceive. I basically have no choice if I wish to move forward here. I must surrender all knowledge and all past learning and say, “Show me the way. Show me the Truth.” Therefore, “Please correct my perception.”

I am realizing that I must hand the steering wheel over if I am to have faith on my journey home. Also I am learning that Holy Spirit is my Inner Voice (Voice for God), as well as the Source of Higher Knowing, and will guide me as necessary on the path that leads me to peace, freedom, and love—thence God.

So, now I move forward learning to have faith in releasing a lifetime of knowledge and trusting that Holy Spirit has eternal knowledge ready for me—the knowledge I once knew before I fell asleep. Today, I came across this excerpt from the Course which I found interesting: Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know. Knowledge is power, and all power is of God. You who have tried to keep power for yourself have “lost” it. You still have the power, but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it. [FIP Text, pg 296, 1.1; ACIM-OE Text CH 14, VII 58 pg 287] This confirms yet again that there is no use in me holding on to that steering wheel. I don’t know the way. And I surely don’t know the answers. Holy Spirit knows the way, and Holy Spirit has every answer ready for me to hear when I am ready to listen. If only I would let go of the steering wheel and trust Holy Spirit entirely…it is then that I will be reminded of my true power.

By Robyn Busfield – Author of “Forgiveness is the Home of Miracles”
For more information please visit: www.robynbusfield.com

~*~

*[From website]Robyn is a student and teacher of “A Course in Miracles.” During her first year of the Workbook lessons, she was inspired to relay her personal journey through the lessons. She shares this personal journey in her new book, “Forgiveness is the Home of Miracles.” Robyn states, “If we want to truly eradicate all pain and suffering that exists in our lives then we must open our minds as they have never been opened before. A Course in Miracles has opened my mind and opened my heart…and a miraculous journey has been unfolding.”

Rob Rideout ~ My Path to the Course

My Path to the Course
by Rob Rideout*
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 [as it appeared in the April 2011 Newsletter]

 

Looking back now, my path to A Course in Miracles probably all started in 1969 when I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, under the influence of the Campus Crusade for Christ. However, after joining a Christian brotherhood of aspiring monks, where I was daily quizzed on how many Bible verses I had memorized and could recite verbatim, I was totally confused by it all. Their version of reality just didn’t sit well with me. I felt like a parrot of Bible verses, that I didn’t even begin to understand, or the town crier that nobody wanted to hear. Jesus would show me more, much more.

As divine synchronicity would have it, I ingested a hallucinogen that resulted in a near death experience the day after Christmas, 1970. When I was in the black void, with only the consciousness that “I Am”, George Harrison’s song My Sweet Lord began playing.  That was my voice singing to God, not George’s! Soon a brilliant white light began appearing out of the darkness, as my soul sang “I really want to see you Lord”. Then somebody started to emerge out of the light. This Holy One oscillated between masculine and feminine. As I’d been praying to Jesus, I thought it might be him, but without a beard. I began crying from the depths of my soul, as the Holy One communicated telepathically into my heart. I knew this Being to be nothing but pure love. Then it was over. I was shot back into my body, hearing the words to a new song telling me “it’s been a long time coming, it’s going to be a long time gone.” How true that has been.

A year later, I saw the cover of Autobiography of a Yogi. It was Paramahansa Yogananda who had come to me! Next came meeting Baba Ram Dass, who confirmed that I wasn’t crazy and stated that Yogananda had appeared to many young spiritual seekers on drugs. He also autographed my copy of Be Here Now. My next decade was spent being an aspiring yogi and practicing Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship lessons and exercises, chanting, meditating and receiving initiation into Kriya yoga. Yogananda’s path and linage of gurus brought the much needed clarity for me to understand Jesus and Christianity better. Yogananda also showed me the essential truth behind the oneness of all religions. And he brought me to Babaji, the Mahavatar who sent him to America back in the 1920s. Ever since I heard the name Babaji, I knew I knew Him. He and Jesus work together, behind the scenes, in the cosmic scheme of things. And Babaji was to be the next step in my ongoing spiritual evolution. However, I did not know at this point that He had supposedly manifested a body again and was residing in the small village of Haidakhan, in northern India. That would come later, along with the mystery and myth of this current manifestation.

After hearing Bhagavan Das sing, I bought a dotara and began chanting mantras to God daily. This simple, ancient two- stringed instrument is easy to play and lets one follow the drone sound into silence. At this point, I purchased my own place in the woods and met a man who’d lived with Babaji. He conducted a Vedic fire ceremony that Babaji had taught him to initiate my new abode. I questioned and grilled him repeatedly, asking if this new Babaji was the same entity Yogananda had written about. Yes, one and the same but peoples egos still question His true identity. Babaji’s new Kriya yoga was the path of truth, simplicity and love while performing karma yoga- work – and keeping one’s mind on God, through repetition of the ancient mantra Om Namaha Shivaya. Babaji stated that this mantra alone was more powerful than a thousand atomic bombs and His 1-800 number. I began at this point seriously doing japa, or the repetition of the mantra on 108 rudraksha beads, to get this vibration into my sub consciousness. I also learned many ways to chant it on my dotara. With all of this going on, I bought A Course in Miracles and began the daily lessons immediately. I tried to make sense of the Text but got nowhere; each sentence bogged me down and had to be re-read over too many times to assimilate. I was just too young, I told myself. I was thirty-three. I’d deal with this Text later, someday, maybe.

Then after a year of being married, our house burns down- a real karmic fire ceremony. In the ashes, untouched by the fire, was a picture of Babaji and His cymbals from Haidakhan. Talk about miracles! Next, was the unexpected news that we have a baby coming, after losing everything? My marriage started to dissolve quickly after I fell twenty feet off a roof, breaking my body in twelve places. Surviving death, I was put back into college for two years to be retrained, while my ex-wife and son left for the Southwest. This is when all of my abandonment issues led to extreme drinking alone. After graduation, I left for India to see Babaji’s ashram, as He had already left His physical body again, and to pray for help with my life in the most spiritual country on earth. I attended the 1995 Kumbha Mela festival with ten million others and lo and behold, who should appear? It was Babaji, asking me if I was having fun.  Yes, but I couldn’t speak to answer Him! Then He disappeared back into the crowd, leaving me blown away. Returning state side, I ended up following my ex- wife and son to the Southwest, where my next step was peyote meetings with the Native Americans for many years to come. Everything I’d read and studied in the Course was evident on the medicine inside that tipi. God Is. I learned more in one night than I had in years of studying metaphysical books. But I didn’t practice all I’d learned and I let my depressed ego, alcohol and abandonment issues take me closer to death’s very door. However, as fate, karma and prayers would have it, I ended up in prison for 2.5 years, instead of dead, where I stumbled upon the Courses’ Manual for Teachers in our library. Soon, I had the entire book sent in free to prisoners and was reintroduced to Jesus again, with all the time I needed to study every word of that lengthy text. After twenty years, I must be old enough to get it now! In time and with the help of the Course, I was finally able to forgive myself for the bizarre life my ego had constructed. I did the daily lessons again, trying to see the face of Christ within each inmate. That was not an easy one. But I left prison a changed, free sober man, much better for the experience and with a first draft book about it all under my belt. Today, I have eight years of sobriety under my belt and my book Still Singing, Somehow won the fall Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. This is a very condensed version of my story- an odyssey of one soul’s karma.

Singer/songwriter Rob Rideout is still singing, somehow on a farm overlooking Colville, WA with his three cats Baba, Maya and Olive. He recently published a second book of poetry, based on his song lyrics. The release of his CD of original songs is scheduled for spring 2011.

To contact, purchase books, view pictures, hear interviews, see videos and read reviews, go to www.stillsingingsomehow.com

ARTICLE also appears in Selfgrowth

~*~

*Singer/songwriter Rob Rideout is still singing, somehow on a farm overlooking Colville, WA with his three cats Baba, Maya and Olive. He recently published a second book of poetry, based on his song lyrics. The release of his CD of original songs is scheduled for spring 2011.
To contact, purchase books, view pictures, hear interviews, see videos and read reviews, go to www.stillsingingsomehow.com

Bette Jean Cundiff ~ The Water is So Inviting

 
The Water Is So Inviting
By Bette Jean Cundiff*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the April 2011 Newsletter]
 
 

Time flows along like a river taking us along like guests floating in its current like fallen leaves. When I look back at how the eddies and rapids pushed me into new territory unseen around the bend of the river, I am always amazed at where I have ended up and excited about what will come next.

The books entitled “A Course in Miracles” floated into my life in 1976 when I was searching for something other than a religious upbringing that just didn’t fit. Ever since then its philosophy and discipline have become the foundation for my spiritual, emotional and physical health. Then, in 1977, I was introduced to Judith Skutch (Whitson) who encouraged me to do something for children, and so the Holy Spirit guided me to write The Children’s Material, which, since 1978, has been recognized internationally as a children’s version of the Course.( This past year the original material was divided into two age appropriate books: Book – Little Lamb’s Big Book, with large illustrations and new color and color projects. Plus, Help is on the Way!, a complete novel that includes within it the workbook, for preteens, a much forgotten group when it comes to spiritual studies.)

The river, however was always pushing me through the rapids, and by the 1980’s I had been setting up groups and national conferences on the Course around the U.S. as well as Canada and Australia for the now thousands of its students studying these books. In 1985 another leaf floated by and I asked a good friend and guest speaker at these conferences to join me in writing a small comparative booklet on the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles. J.R. Richmond and myself titled it Side by Side. (The newest edition with Spanish translation.)From that time forward my talks revolved around applying the Course in the healing of relationships, or what was becoming known as the area of co-dependency recovery.

Like most families, the flowing water sometimes becomes turbulent with swirling rapids. My husband and I discovered there were relatives on both sides afflicted with mental illness and addiction, two diseases that so often go hand in hand and are referred to as dual diagnosis. We had front row seats in the experiences of individuals struggling in the whirlpools of addiction and recovery. This led to the lectures that form the basis of another book, “Hand in Hand – Recovery and Miracles”.

And so, several years ago, I found myself giving a lecture to a spiritual group in the Midwest on A Course in Miracles and recovery. I was asked a simple question, “Is this material teaching mind over matter?” I spontaneously answered with the response, “No, it is teaching mind over what doesn’t matter!” I explained, the river will keep pushing us along, so our job is simply relax and not fight the current. What then could possibly matter?

Since then I have used this phrase many times, not just with my students and clients, but most especially with myself! Boy, how seriously we take life. After all isn’t being an adult judged by how responsibly we handle problems? And problems are serious business, right? Wrong!

“Wait,” you say. “What do you mean problems aren’t serious? I have lots of problems. My whole life is one unsolvable problem – and I take this very seriously! I am responsible and I am an adult and this is no laughing matter!”

Whew! Bummer! What a drag! With this frame of reference every time we enjoy life we must feel unconsciously that we are irresponsible and immature. So naturally we are going to set ourselves up for more and more problems so that we can prove to ourselves and others how adult we are. We struggle and splash and try to fight and control that current. If you doubt that this is true, just reflect for a moment or two on what you like to think about most of the time. And guess what you’ll discover? You like to focus on your problems! You worry pretty consistently just to make sure you don’t forget any of them. Gee, you wouldn’t want to lose any, would you?

Does all this worry really make any difference? Not really. Rarely do we ever come up with solutions when we are so busy remembering, reliving and reorganizing our problems. So the obvious release from this imprisoning predicament is to shift from worry to serenity. To move from worry to serenity effectively you will need to:

1. Shift beliefs about fun and adulthood.
2. Learn to focus on solutions rather than problems.
3. Discover what really matters and release what doesn’t.

Here is where applying A Course in Miracles is, not just handy, but essential in helping us float along peacefully. Of course, change may not happen overnight, since being able to accomplish all three points effectively takes time, but hey, what else is time for?
And the water is so inviting.

* Bette Cundiff has been a teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1977 and has traveled throughout the US, Canada and Australia setting up conferences which teach about forgiveness. She is author of the internationally recognized children’s version of A Course in Miracles, “The Children’s Material” and has also produced a full miracles course in a novel for the young reader “Help is on the Way!”. In addition Bette is author of “Side by Side, the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”. Many of her books have been translated into Spanish.

Here is Bette, in her own words:

In 1976 a powerful light filled ‘voice’ impressed onto my mind wonderful thoughts that I could not help but write down. Writing books naturally followed. Over the years this Guiding Light has occasionally assumed a sense of personality, but no matter, I knew the wisdom given to me came from That which fills us, directs us and of course loves us all. For more than thirty years I lectured around the world on spiritual psychology, comparative religions, spirituality, A Course in Miracles, the Twelve Steps and co-dependency recovery and so much more. From that time on, studying, sharing, starting up study groups globally, and writing about what I had learned and what was ‘given to me’ through inner guidance has been my passion.

Susan Dugan ~ Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness

Crusader Rabbit Retires
by Susan Dugan*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 [as it appeared in the March 2011 Newsletter]

By far the most popular of the humiliating nicknames I endured in junior high (Susan of Arc, Susan of Troy, etc.) was “Crusader Rabbit;” in honor of the TV cartoon character of the same name whose efforts to save the day from his nemesis Dudley Nightshade in constant reruns enthralled my brother Michael and I  when we were little. Like Crusader Rabbit, I seemed to have come in with a keen eye for folly and an insatiable appetite for justice that belied mild-mannered first impressions.

I spent my childhood taking on neighborhood bullies and rescuing injured birds and animals.  In fifth grade I organized our class to remotely “adopt” a Korean child. By junior high, I attempted to launch Civil Rights and Vietnam War protests within a community then referred to as Nixon’s “Silent Majority” for reasons that defied logic given the frequency and volume of their opinions. Although I theoretically had access to persuasion through my role as student council president and newspaper editor I had yet to learn that no amount of cajoling, educating, or bargaining could necessarily convince someone to change his mind. And I did not yet understand that morality in this world exists only in the eye of the beholder.

I spent another two decades seeking and never really finding justice in one way or another–through political activism, volunteering, and the written word–an exhausting and ultimately isolating experience. I couldn’t figure out why people of my generation—even some of my friends–did not share the same perception of the world’s troubles let alone solutions I did. More importantly, I didn’t comprehend why nothing I worked for ever seemed to make a lasting difference, or why even when participating in groups in which members shared a common mission conflict and divisiveness reigned.  It wasn’t until I found A Course in Miracles 7 years ago that I began to realize I had been looking for justice where it can never be found, but with a little willingness to admit it wasn’t working could begin to seek and find a better way.

And yet, here I am again this morning bemoaning injustice; contemplating, for instance, the many ways in which lives appear to be randomly plucked from this world for no apparent reason. And wondering again how to answer the question of why when it comes to the subject of physical and emotional suffering. Culminating in death as it inevitably does for every embodied one of us who first get to witness its seeming brutality in those we love and finally confront for ourselves.

I suppose I found myself once more seduced into believing the ego’s world could offer any sane answers based, as it is, on the insane idea of fragmenting invulnerable, perfect wholeness. The “tiny mad idea” A Course in Miracles tells us the one child of God took seriously at the very beginning thereby seemingly fracturing invulnerable oneness and propelling itself into an entire hallucinated universe of forms competing for their very survival. Programmed to sooner or later self-destruct to prove they existed at God’s expense in the first place but completely unconscious of that original belief. I mean, really?

And yet, in grappling with the sudden death of a healthy, young person close to someone I love this past week, struggling to console the seemingly inconsolable; I discovered anew just how invested I still am in what A Course in Miracles refers to as “the hierarchy of illusions.” The idea we share that some problems are greater or lesser than others. That the injustice of someone cutting in line at the supermarket or on the highway for example pales before the injustice of a terrorist attack; the death of an elderly person in his sleep after a long, full life somehow makes more sense than the loss of an innocent child or an admired, generous person in the prime of her life.

Within the ego thought system, of course, such logic holds, along with the belief that God works in mysterious ways and has his own reasons for calling us home. But the ego’s God–like the thought system that engendered it—is; how to put this nicely: seriously disturbed. Unconsciously informed by and invested in it as we are, the only solution–regardless how trivial or conversely painful, unfair, and catastrophic the problem appears—remains calling on the sane part of our mind for help. Actively engaging the memory of eternal, perfect, all-inclusive safety and wholeness that followed us into the dream and patiently awaits our call to heal our mind in every circumstance.

“It is not difficult to understand the reasons why you do not ask the Holy Spirit to solve all problems for you. He has not greater difficulty in resolving some than others. Every problem is the same to Him, because each one is solved in just the same respect and through the same approach. The aspects that need solving do not change, whatever form the problem seems to take.” (A Course in Miracles, Chapter 26, II. Many Forms; One Correction)

And there’s the rub, from the ego’s point of view. What happens if we begin to depend on the part of our mind that sees beyond all illusory problems to the same old story of separation taken seriously at the beginning and offers us the same deeply comforting answer: it never happened; we remain awake in God dreaming of exile? Our blind and deaf allegiance to and belief in the ego eventually weakens while its frightening story that always ends the same heart-breaking way disappears into the ether from which it sprang.

Note to self: Crusader Rabbit needs to retire. He will never vanquish Dudley Nightshade. But the child within all of us that screams out for justice in the perceived face of this world’s bitter ways can find true, enduring, inalterable solace where it always resides. Patiently waiting in our one mind, providing healing instants of relief and release each time the injustice of the ego thought system in all its guises rears its ugly head and we remember to ask for help in seeing truly. We will be in pain until our confusion about where all seeming problems lie is healed. Then we will awaken to find ourselves eternally united within the perfect Love we never really left; fused with an infinitely living and loving God that is, thank God, oblivious to our silly dream of individualized, finite banishment.

“The one mistake in any form has one correction. There is no loss; to think there is, is a mistake… You who believe it safe to give but some mistakes to be corrected while you keep the others to yourself, remember this: Justice is total. There is no such thing as partial justice…Think, then, how great your own release will be when you are willing to receive correction for all your problems. You will not keep one, for pain in any form you will not want.”

When we look with the part of our mind that can truly see all problems reveal themselves for the ravings of a terrified mind tortured by guilt over a crime that never occurred. In gently accepting the certainty of shared innocence and protection the Holy Spirit offers for ourselves, we can confidently comfort others. Without speaking one word about this Course, allowing words filled with compassion for the injustice of the condition those of us in bodies all find ourselves in to simply flow from our forever indivisible heart. Internally resolved to awaken through forgiveness by changing our inner teacher again and again until all lingering guilt over the thought of separation dissolves and we open our eyes together on our true, invulnerable nature.

~*~

*Susan Dugan is an A Course in Miracles student, teacher, and writer. She posts weekly about practicing ACIM’s extraordinary forgiveness in an ordinary life at www.foraysinforgiveness.com. A collection of her forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness is being published March 25, 20011 by O-Books and is available at amazon.com. Pre-order here.

Judith B Allen

Looking Through Water
By Judith B Allen*

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

[as it appeared in the March 2011 Newsletter]

      My recently published novel began to stir in my mind thoughts of my own miraculous healing from metastasized breast cancer in 1985. I attribute my healing to my intense study and, finally, understanding of the principles of A Course in Miracles—most significantly, surrender to the Will of God whose purpose for me is only happiness.

That healing resulted in a non-fiction book, The Five Stages of Death and Dying Getting Well, published in 1992. When my much-loved younger brother Tim died of metastasized melanoma in 1996, all of my understandings about healing were deeply challenged, and a novel began to take shape. After the story had topped 500 pages, it was clear I was writing two stories, one being the first part of the story, which is picked up years later in the second novel. This first novel became Looking Through Water published in 2010, with a sequel to follow.

“Are supernormal abilities the spawn of the devil, or a gift from the Divine?”

In Looking Through Water, that is the question for Addie, gifted with a healing touch and caught between her parents, Jake and Rose Sawyer, who sharply disagree on the source of her gifts.

Growing up in an Oregon coastal town in the 40’s and 50’s, Addie at age five sees her grandpa’s ghost at his funeral. Jake is horrified, and Rose, who covertly studies pre-Course paths to Truth, is captivated. When Addie later reveals an electrifying healing touch, her parents’ conflicts over religious beliefs escalate, and the strictly literal Bible church founded by Jake’s family gets involved. Addie, caught in the middle, assumes as children will, that she is the reason for her parents’ battles, and tries to give up her healing gift.

When Magdalena, a famous healer from Finland, visits and becomes her mentor and friend, Addie is determined to make healing her life work. But when her healing touch saves her brother Joe’s life, and the church gets wind of it, all hell breaks loose.

Addie struggles to save her family, understand her unique gifts, and plan a course for her future, while dealing with the calamities triggered by each of her parents.

Addie and her mother seek to understand the Divine, and many Course concepts pop up in pre-Course terms. You will recognize a “sacred moment,” for example, as a holy instant. In this excerpt, Addie struggles to understand the ego. She uses a Finnish word, henki, as a name for the Voice for God, which she often hears inside herself. Kyky is the Finnish name for “gift,” which she uses to name her healing touch.

EXCERPT from Looking Through Water [ed. note: henki is a Finnish word meaning “Spirit” or “Soul”]

“What’s he thinking about? Me being an instrument of the devil?” I didn’t like to think about it myself, didn’t want to think maybe my henki was wrong and maybe what Mom called a healing touch might actually be from the devil.

Mom turned the oven on low, put in the plate of pork chops and closed the door. “He’s got to get his mind around something he knows is true, but his church says it’s not.”

“What’s that?” I said.

She dumped a Mason jar of peas into a pot and set it on the stove, and turned around to lean against the stove. “You’ll have to ask him what he really believes. Maybe some time when you’re a little older. Right now, he’d probably just tell you what he thinks he ought to, to try to keep you scared about the devil.”

“Well, sometimes I believe in the devil, too,” I said.

“You do? Why on earth…?”

I took a big deep breath and sat up straight in the chair. “Well, you know that little red devil that’s on the Underwood Deviled Ham can?”

      “Mercy! It’s just a symbol! It’s not real.”

“Well of course I know it isn’t real. But one just like it dances on my shoulder and whispers in my ear. Whispers things like, ‘go ahead, go ahead,’ when it’s something I know I shouldn’t do. Or ‘nah, just skip it,’ when it’s something I should do, like say my prayers before I go to sleep. Sometimes I’m just too sleepy.”

Sometimes the little devil told me to do fun things that got me in trouble, like the night I put all the barn kittens in a burlap bag and carried them into the house, then put them all under the covers in Joey’s bed. Joey loved it, but I got sent to bed early, right after I had to gather up all the kittens and take them back out to the barn.

She closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead like she had a headache. “You spend too much time looking at labels on cans, Addie.”

“But…”

She opened her eyes. “You don’t have a personal devil. I know Dad believes in a devil, and hell, but I strongly disagree. How could a loving divine intelligence need to punish anyone? There is no such thing as the devil. So there couldn’t be a devil dancing on your shoulder.”

“But it whispers to me, too, like Fig! I hear it in my head! Or maybe my neck. Somewhere like that.”

“Listen to me, Addie Belle. That’s not a real devil, it’s just your…let’s call it your mischief self. Pay no attention and it will go away.”

That was a big relief about my mischief self. Unless Mom was wrong and Dad was right about the devil.

“Is mischief self the opposite of sixth sense? The way the devil is the opposite of God?”

Any minute now she’d say I asked too many questions.

“It’s just so hard to define these things, especially to a child.”

That was her way of saying I asked too many questions. She pulled out a chair, sat down to face me. “Here’s what I believe.” She ticked off sentences on her fingers. “A sin is just a mistake, not something to be punished. Jesus is a beloved child of God, just like all of us are, and God wouldn’t sacrifice one of his children in order to save the others. A loving father would not condemn his children to hell for their mistakes. There’s no such thing as the devil. Children are born innocent. That little devil you talk about—it’s just your mischief self. If you get quiet and listen, you’ll hear that other voice instead, your…sixth sense. Sixth sense you should listen to, and mischief self not.”

But I liked listening to the mischief self, too. Sometimes it had good ideas. Fun ideas. Trouble ideas. Getting sent to bed early about the kittens was worth it, it was so fun seeing Joey chasing them all over his room and some escaping into the kitchen so everybody had to chase them. And the first time I missed the school bus and walked the railroad tracks to school and thumbed a ride on the handcar when the rail inspectors came by. They let me help pump their seesaw to make it go. After that, I missed the school bus on purpose sometimes, and spent the whole day walking the railroad tracks, finding places to explore, riding the handcar with the rail inspectors, eating my sandwiches by the side of the tracks, waving at the train when it went by. After about the fifth time, the principal called Mom and asked if I was sick. She drove around looking for me, but never thought of the railroad tracks. When I walked home as if I’d just gotten off the bus, I told her I’d been in school all day, I was such a quiet person they must have not seen me.

She didn’t believe me. But after that I found other ways to listen to my mischief self.

“Mom?”

“What now?” We were close to the end of this conversation, I could tell.

“You and Dad have opposite beliefs for just about everything. How am I supposed to know what to believe?”

Mom studied her hands in her lap. When she looked up, her mouth was a straight line, her eyes steady. “You’ll just have to make up your own mind about things. Neither one of us can tell you what’s right for you.”

“Well, I believe my sixth sense is real. Otto calls it henki. I’m not sure if my mischief self is real or just my imagination. How do I tell the difference?”

“Your sixth sense—henki?—is quieter than your mischief self, and sometimes you may feel it in your belly rather than hear it in your head.”

Mom sat for a minute. “But in your case, you might actually hear it. I wouldn’t rule that out. A girl who has other gifts…well, who knows.”

“I think I still kind of believe in a real devil, even if the little one on my shoulder is just my mischief self.”

Mom looked at me as if I’d taken leave of all my senses, her mouth open in disbelief. She put the pan of mashed potatoes in the oven with the pork chops, and leaned against the stove. “I want you to tell me why you believe in the devil.”

“Because Dad said my hands were magic and that meant witchcraft. Which is from the devil.”

She laid her hand on top of my head. “Your healing touch is from God, not the devil. Try to remember that.”

~*~

 *Judy Allen has been a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1983. Her mother, Frances Reed, established the Reed Miracles Center in Portland in 1985, which Judy then co-directed for nearly twenty years; she edited and wrote semi-monthly articles for The Bridge, the newsletter for the Center. She also established and directed The Healing Place, a Center for Attitudinal Healing in Portland. She has given workshops on forgiveness and healing, and offered sessions at many ACIM conferences over the years. After she retired to become a full-time writer, her first novel Looking Through Water was published in 2010. Her ACIM-related blog includes some of her Bridge articles, at  http://www.judyallen.wordpress.com. Her writing-related blog is at http://www.lookingthroughwater.wordpress.com. Looking Through Water can also be ordered from either of these blogs.

ACIM Originial Edition Book Review

A Course in Miracles-Original EditionA Course in Miracles-Original Edition by Helen Schucman

REVIEW by Rev Reja Joy Green

A Course in Miracles is a self-study course. In the beginning it tells us, “This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you may elect what you want to take at a given time.”

Many have described the Course as the greatest document given to man EVER. To learn more about what the COURSE is and how it came about, you may want to go to our Blog and take a look at some of the VIDEO links on the right side. https://cimsmiracles.wordpress.com/

From the FOREWORD:

A Course in Miracles (often called just “the Course”) is a self-study course for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious, in its perspective. Although it uses Christian terminology, it is ecumenical in its approach, and its underlying ontology is reminiscent of ancient refrains, echoing the world’s most hallowed traditions.

The Course is pragmatic in its method, and its aim is a peaceful mind: “Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is.[2] Nevertheless, the Course frequently emphasizes its simplicity.[3]

The story of the Course began when, in the midst of an environment of intense competition and negative attitudes, Columbia University clinical psychologist Dr. William T. Thetford decided he had had enough and declared to his colleague, Dr. Helen Schucman, “There must be another way, and I’m determined to find it.” Dr. Schucman vowed to help him.

What ensued was a dramatic progression of waking dreams for Schucman, which culminated in October 1965 with her experience of a voice which spoke clearly in her mind, saying “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”

With Thetford’s support and assistance in transcribing her shorthand notes, Schucman took down some fifteen hundred typewritten pages of A Course in Miracles over a period of seven years.

Schucman did not claim to be the author of the material herself. As she often explained, she heard a kind of inner dictation and she felt compelled to write it down, even though at times she disagreed with the content and resisted the process. The voice which spoke through Helen clearly identifies himself as Jesus. Nonetheless, one need not be Christian nor accept Christianity’s traditional doctrines to benefit from the teachings of the Course. Indeed, traditional Christians will at first find many of the pronouncements contained in this work to be startling and perhaps unbelievable. Persistence and open-mindedness will nevertheless be rewarded.

The dictation of A Course in Miracles was completed in September 1972 and resulted in three volumes—the Text, the Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers. As the development of the material progressed, Schucman and Thetford faced the formidable task or organizing the original typescript (often called the “Urtext”) into what would become A Course in Miracles. They divided the Text into chapters and sections and gave titles to each, and they removed a great deal of material from the early chapters, material they believed was meant for them personally, not for the Course. The edition that resulted from those efforts is the book you hold in your hands.

BACKGROUND:

Course in Miracles Society (CIMS) is a non-profit organization and the publisher of this book. CIMS was formed by an international group of Course students and teachers and was organized to discover, authenticate and propagate the divine teachings of A Course in Miracles.

In 1992 the Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP] current copyright holders and publishers along with the sister organization Foundation for A Course in Miracles [FACIM], had the thought that the copyright on the A Course in Miracles on ACIM were being infringed on and started to make changes on what could be quoted, etc.

In 1993 “A Course in Miracles” and “ACIM” were registered as trademarks by FIP. Subsequently, a CompuServe forum, in which two  current CIMS members were a part of, was closed down for a short period and re-opened under another name due to trademark infringement. Marianne Williamson was asked to pay royalties. Robert Perry of the Circle of Atonement was denied permission to publish his book on the Course.

Over the next several years there were the beginnings of a push back by the Course community. Eventually, in 1996, a spiritual community found itself being sued by FIP for copyright infringement.

During that time an old 1972 version of the Course was discovered in the library of the Association for Research and Enlightenment [A.R.E.], transcribed into electronic form and placed on the internet by anonymous parties. This was the copy given to Hugh Lynn Cayce [son of the ‘Sleeping Prophet” Edgar Cayce] by Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford once they had re-typed the original manuscript several times, removing the personal material.

Bill and Helen wanted to know if the A.R.E. might publish it. Hugh Lynn DECLINED to publish it but wished them success in their endeavors. He said the material was very much in line with what his father brought through.

This copy is now referred to as the Hugh Lynn Version of the Course or “HLC”, later to be known as JCIM and finally CIMS: Original Edition.

Shortly after giving the copy to the A.R.E., Helen and Bill met Ken Wapnick. Not too much longer, Ken and Helen began to ‘revise’ the Course. Ken believed that certain punctuation was incorrect, some terms needed clarification, section headings needed revision, etc.

“As a result of that editing, about a quarter of the Hugh Lynn Cayce version was deleted from the first five chapters of the Text, and the remaining material was rearranged and rewritten.The resulting derivation was then copyrighted by FIP.” <-quoted from “Jesus Course in Miracles [JCIM]”, published Feb 2000 before a temporary restraining order halted distribution until the copyright was overturned in 2003.

“A copy of the public domain Hugh Lynn Cayce version of the TEXT portion of A Course in Miracles was obtained, carefully transcribed into a digital format and widely distributed on the Internet…” <-quoted from JCIM.

In 2000, a few individuals from around the country, decided to publish the JCIM. The non-profit organization called “Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]” was formed.

With an anonymous donation, CIMS was able to produce the first set of copies and were also able to distribute 500 copies before receiving a temporary restraining order. The Judge wanted CIMS to cease until the copyright case was decided. Marianne Williamson, who was in Omaha giving a presentation at that time, was handed the first copy of this edition. Doreen Virtue, Rev Sky St John and Rev Jack Groveland also received copies from the first 500 printed.

[The JCIM is still available here although quantities are limited: JCIMS Book ]

CIMS eventually resumed publication once the copyright was ruled invalid due to pre-copyright distribution in 2003.

The following link is to a document which distinguishes the two versions.

http://jcim.net/Images/Comparison%20OE%2…

There is also an informational timeline of the activities leading up to the court decision:

Copyright TimeLine

There are people who prefer the Ken Wapnick version and others who prefer the CIMS original edition.

Most importantly, the COURSE is available, in all ITS glory, and now we have ITS Guidance for our way HOME.

Please join us in our projects. We would love to share your friendship.

~ Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]

View all RejaJoy reviews

  LISTEN to 23 min MP3        WATCH Video

Susan Dugan

 

Some Things Will Never End
by Susan Dugan*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]

This essay was excerpted from her book of personal forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, being published by O-Books March 25, 2011.

My teenage daughter had been chosen to sing a duet in her high school’s end-of-the-year POPS concert. In his fifteen years in the role, the choirmaster had only chosen freshman for solos once before. It made my daughter feel special. I am sorry to say it made me feel pretty damn special, too.

As a very young girl I had written plays and coerced my brothers, neighborhood children, and even an aging Labrador Retriever into performing for the adults in our basement and backyard. By the time I got to high school, however, stage fright prevented me from ever auditioning for a leading role again. I resigned myself to lead singer and dancer in the chorus, all the while pining away for the spotlight I once relished. Now my karma had come full circle—enabling my daughter to make the debut my descent into shyness had preempted.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those neurotic Stage Mom’s consumed with winning a spot for their weary spawn on American Idol. I had never pushed my daughter into anything–on the outside, anyway. In my parallel ego universe, however, I sat at a Singer sewing machine stitching imaginary costumes, my daughter’s musical theatre career spinning bobbin-like out in my twisted little wrong mind.

She rehearsed at school over the next couple weeks while continuing to play her starting position on the JV soccer team through the trials and tribulations of what passes for spring in Colorado. A sky lobbing handfuls of slush one minute, unleashing a faucet of pollen the next. At one of her games the wind tossed the goal into the air like a candy wrapper. Girls from both teams stormed the field to the rescue, wrestling it back into place like Circus acrobats. The losing season forged on.

My daughter had inherited my severe tree allergies among other special qualities. Her eyes had taken on the haggard look of our neighbor’s hound. Just days before her performance, I took her to her voice lesson. Ten minutes in her voice failed and her teacher called it off. With all these voice metaphors floating around you’d think it might have registered on me which voice I had been listening to. But seduced by our promise of specialness, I had already sided with the voice for fear.

For the next three days I obeyed the ego’s instructions like a marionette, flailing and hovering over my daughter, pumping her with tea and honey, vitamins, Chinese herbal concoctions, and salt water gargles as she continued to rehearse, play ball, and struggle to complete final school projects. Two days before the first night of two consecutive evening performances, the choirmaster yanked her from soccer practice to attend the dress rehearsal. The soccer team had a game scheduled the next day three hours before the performance. That night, my exhausted, nerve-wracked teenager climbed into bed with me, something she had not done in years. I tossed and turned in sympathy with her seeming plight.

That Thursday dawned with temperatures in the 20s. Schizophrenic moisture—alternating from snow to rain to sleet and back again—doused fields, lawns, and blossom-swollen trees. I fretted over my daughter as she left that morning. Even though I do not believe in interfering at school I emailed the choirmaster and asked him to yank her again should the league go through with the game despite the weather. He politely explained that only performances trumped games and since she had time to do both his hands were tied.

The big night came. I sat in the audience agonizing through the entire first act, the program balled in my sweaty palm. I could barely breathe as she stepped on to the stage and began performing “Some Things Are Meant To Be from the musical Little Women. The song recounts the end of the relationship between Jo and her younger sister Beth, who is dying.

Some things are meant to be,
the clouds moving fast and free.
The sun on a silver sea.
A sky that’s bright and blue.
And some things will never end.
The thrill of our magic ride.
The love that I feel inside for you.

Talk about special. I could see my daughter was nervous. She did not reach for the notes during crescendos as she normally would. Still, her voice did not crack once. She did not forget her lines or burst into tears, or, thankfully, scan the audience for my anxious eyes. She got through it. It was just a performance, after all. Nothing inside her had changed because her mouth went dry and her leg shook and her voice met her only seventy-five percent of the way. Her magnificence—the truth in her that had temporarily slipped my puny mind—remained intact.

I sat humbled, watching at last with my right mind, the truth in us both. Our specialness faded along with the spotlight on my daughter and her friend as their lovely young voices grew still. Concluding a song about the body’s thrill ride and inevitable demise. Unrelated or fettered by the real love we are.

Some things will never end.

The next morning I congratulated her again, longing to say something to make up for the seeming error of my ways.

“I’m sorry if I’ve been kind of an idiot lately,” I began.

She set her glass of juice down on the counter. Here comes Psycho Mom again, I could almost hear her say.

“It’s just that I’ve never had a fifteen-year-old daughter before, you know?”

When she was little she would crawl into my lap, sandwich my face in her small hands.

“Remember when I was the Mama, and you were the baby?” she would say, sending shivers down my spine. She still gave me shivers.

She smiled. “Fifteen-and-a half,” she said.

~*~

*Susan Dugan is a writer, student, and teacher of A Course in Miracles. This essay was excerpted from her book of personal forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, being published by O-Books March 25, 2011. She chronicles her journey applying the Course’sextraordinary forgiveness in an ordinary life at www.foraysinforgiveness.com.

 

 

 

Bette Cundiff

Sucessful Relationships

By Bette Jean Cundiff*
~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]

Reprinted with permission from her book “Hand in Hand-Recovery and Miracles”

Ah, sweet mystery of life — finding that perfect mate who matches your personality, who emotionally and sexually fits like a glove and who is committed to you through thick and thin for always! To be able to unravel that mystery unfailingly would be worth, well, more than is imaginable.

Finding the perfect mate in a world of imperfect personalities seems highly impossible and the journey just a touch risky. But, oh, how humanity struggles on. Perhaps a reality check is in order.

Let’s start with a few points to remember:

1. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
2. You see only what you want to see.
3. When depressed you actually look for a bleak world, and when enthused you look for upliftment. You find just what you are looking for.
4. The see-saw of unstable emotions will create an unstable environment.
5. How can anyone seem perfect if you are constantly seeing them mutate according to your own shifting emotional state?

Finding the perfect mate under these conditions demands a stabilizing of your own emotions. Psychic shock absorbers are going to be a necessity.

In my classes and counseling sessions I consistently need to review the Deadly Cycle of devolving focus into problems rather than solutions, and then once again review the alternative called the Healing Cycle of acceptance, forgiveness and peace. Go back to the sections in this book to review this if you have forgotten what they are about. This practical, step by step process can help anyone stop rocking his or her emotional boat. From this placid position the world and the people who surround you can be seen with clarity and serenity.

Surprise, surprise! Clarity brings insight followed by appropriate decisions. And the individuals who come into your life can be experienced accurately. Acquaintances, friends and lovers will fall naturally into the right categories. No more stretching and squeezing yourself into relationships that simply don’t fit – everything is now customed sized.

THE SEVEN SECRETS TO INTIMACY
Let’s define intimacy not as action and behavior, but instead as attitude. What will make successful relationships? The right attitude!

SECRET # 1 – OPEN
To be open means being willing to look at the issues within yourself – to look inside and say to yourself, “What needs to happen here? The buck starts and stops here and I am the one ultimately responsible.”

Most of the time our breakdowns will be from not looking at who we are, how we feel, and what we need to do. We tend to focus on everyone out there. Earlier, (in my book) we talked about the Deadly Cycle and the need to project guilt out and find fault in others. We just love to say, “If they would just fix themselves we could have a great relationship!”

It just doesn’t work that way. We must start with ourselves. This means willingness to look at our own issues with courageous clarity – to be truly open.

SECRET # 2 – HONEST
Here is the willingness to bring all of your hidden concerns, fears, as well as your dreams, up for discussion with your partner. This may include your spouse, a friend, or family member, or an associate at work. And to bring these issues up honestly – not to walk around the edges, but to be clear and concise and to tell what you mean without blame.

Remember the first secret is looking at yourself and acknowledging your own emotions and needs and desires, as well as your own breakdown areas.

Be honest discussing this with your relationships. Share your desires, your needs and your requests. Don’t spend time blaming yourself and certainly don’t find fault with your partner.

SECRET # 3 – LIKE
For intimacy to succeed it is really important to like the other person.

We will look more closely at this secret in the next section on the components of a successful marriage. But for now just remember that you need to like the person, not necessarily agree with or approve of their behavior and actions all the time. But it is important to like the person.

Here is a spin on the Golden Rule. Like others just as you would like to be liked.

 

SECRET # 4 – SHARE
Sharing — to give and receive freely in your relationship. No game playing, hidden agendas, power plays, and no psychological accounting being done to make sure that what is given is received in fair share.

Too often relationships seem to work only if an unspoken bargain is kept meticulously. When one of the partners doesn’t show just the right amount of affection, or agree with the other’s opinions, or heaven forbid, enjoys the company of other friends, the bargain seems broken and the relationship on the rocks.

Sharing is giving fully because giving is enjoyable in and of itself. It’s as simple as that.

SECRET # 5 – RESPECT
Respect your partner and free them to make his or her own decisions without your interference. Allow them to succeed as well as fail in their own process of growth. This is how we all learn and we can’t do it for others. We can’t fix things for others.

It is our responsibility to learn the appropriate boundaries for ourseslves and others — and then respect them!

SECRET # 6 – HELP
Now here is when you get a chance to actually give advice or actually do something concrete to help your partner. But guess what? You don’t do it until you are asked!

Don’t intrude your advice or help into a situation in which it is simply not wanted. When someone shows you in some way that they want your help, then you can involve yourself. They must give you permission first.

The challenge is not to be attached to your advice. Remember to share without identifying with your advice or help. Through prayer and meditation you can find that powerful place within yourself that frees you to be spiritually detached – loving, helpful when appropriate — and not feel hurt if your advice is refused.

SECRET # 7 – THANK
Appreciate all the efforts your partner makes toward the success of your relationship.

There are only two messages sent, no matter what is really said.

1 – “I am helping in the only way I know how”.
2 – “I am frightened and confused and need help”.

Make the effort to hear these messages hidden within your conversations, and they will then elicit from you a sense of gratitude and love which you will want to share.

Remember, say “thank you” often!

DON’T FORGET YOURSELF
And by the way, how about creating real healing for yourself too?

Will you be open and honest with yourself?

Will you like yourself and share freely, not denying yourself what you need and desire?

Will you respect your own boundaries and help yourself whenever you need to?

And will you thank yourself for all the efforts you make to heal yourself and your world?

If you do apply these Seven Secrets of Intimacy to yourself the world will see the light of love and forgiveness shining brightly through you.

“HAND IN HAND ~ Recovery & Miracles: Companion Book to Side by Side the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”
https://www.createspace.com/1000248396  

~*~

 * Bette Cundiff has been a teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1977 and has traveled throughout the US, Canada and Australia setting up conferences which teach about forgiveness. She is author of the internationally recognized children’s version of A Course in Miracles, “The Children’s Material” and has also produced a full miracles course in a novel for the young reader “Help is on the Way!”. In addition Bette is author of “Side by Side, the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”. Many of her books have been translated into Spanish.

Here is Bette, in her own words:

In 1976 a powerful light filled ‘voice’ impressed onto my mind wonderful thoughts that I could not help but write down. Writing books naturally followed. Over the years this Guiding Light has occasionally assumed a sense of personality, but no matter, I knew the wisdom given to me came from That which fills us, directs us and of course loves us all. For more than thirty years I lectured around the world on spiritual psychology, comparative religions, spirituality, A Course in Miracles, the Twelve Steps and co-dependency recovery and so much more. From that time on, studying, sharing, starting up study groups globally, and writing about what I had learned and what was ‘given to me’ through inner guidance has been my passion.

Carol Howe ~ Extra Material

 

Extra Material

By Carol Howe* 

For those new to the groups, this is the sixth in a series of short excerpts that did not appear in the book, Never Forget To Laugh, Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course In Miracles.  (I apparently only know how to write books with long titles!)  They refer to experiences Bill’s friends had with him after his passing.

During the course of writing Never Forget To Laugh, it was my good fortune to spend considerable time on the phone with Judy Skutch Whitson as she recounted her memories and experiences with Bill.  As our own connection deepened, I found myself increasingly “tuning in” to her and to Bill.  One afternoon after a lengthy conversation with Judy, I entered a place of quiet and seemed to receive a personal message from Bill for Judy.  Here he was again, sending Judy messages through someone, but at least this time it was a friend!  (On another occasion, a message about Judy’s mother’s imminent death came from a very unlikely source.)  I thought it was a very comforting and confirming message and one anyone would be happy to receive.  And it was thought-provoking.  When I gave her this message, she jokingly responded to tell Bill to mind his own business!   Undeterred, he continued to offer kind and encouraging words to be given Judy.

Bill seemed intent on not minding his own business.  During that same period, in addition to messages for Judy, I was becoming engaged in a dialogue with him that included advice and encouragement about the book writing endeavor.   I still found it unusual to be having a discussion with someone we have been conditioned to think of as “dead” although this was not the first time he had definitely come through.  I inquired inwardly, “How do I know this is you, Bill, and not thoughts of my own invention?” Bill’s silent response was, “Ask Judy about her plaid dress and her answer will let you know you’re really talking to me.”

That definitely got my attention because just prior to the time these messages from Bill were coming, in my mind’s eye I had unexpectedly envisioned Judy as a little girl with long dark hair, happily running free and wearing a plaid dress with some red in it.  Although I couldn’t actually see it, I sensed the details about it.  In no way was I attempting to see something about Judy; the inner pictures simply intruded into my awareness unbidden.  Therefore, after that surprising statement by Bill (how did he possibly know I had entertained that fleeting thought?), I emailed Judy but approached the subject obliquely because it was so astonishingly specific.  I asked her if a plaid dress had ever been important to her when she was a little girl because I was getting a strong impression of her wearing one and that she was very happy.  I did not add the second half of the story that Bill had asked that I do this to certify the authenticity of his presence.  To my considerable amazement, she shot back an email in capital letters, “ABSOLUTELY and I have the pictures to prove it!”  I breathed a sigh of relief and then told her the remainder of the reason I was asking – this was a “test” of Bill’s authenticity in my mind.  She then sent pictures of herself in her plaid dress, which did have red in it, with her baby sister—their first taken together by a professional photographer and dear to her as her sister died suddenly many years ago.

Try as we might, there is no getting around the fact that we’re all still here together as One, beloved and safe, regardless of the presence or absence of bodies.  So here’s a special round of New Year’s gratitude for Bill and everyone, forever at home in the heart of God.

For more about Bill’s book and what others have to say about it , please go to: http://www.neverforgettolaugh.com.

* Since 1979 Carol Howe has presented highly interactive seminars, workshops, retreats, classes, and lectures on universal spiritual principles and their practical application — for the general public, health-related and other special interest groups, and corporations – nationally and internationally. Please visit Carol’s website to view her Books, CDs and Tapes.

After the publication of her book, NEVER FORGET TO LAUGH: Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course in Miracles, Carol began to share additional material regarding Bill. This material is currently being shared on her Facebook Group and will eventually be available on her website.

 

Never Forget to Laugh

Never Forget to Laugh

Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course in Miracles

 

by Carol Howe

                                                                                  MORE INFORMATION

This book is magical!!  It brings the life of Bill Thetford to our awareness in such a heartfelt and loving way.
After reading it you feel as if you knew him as your best friend and his spirit is still with you.

———————————————————————-

AMAZON BOOK REVIEW by Reja Janaki Joy Green

If you have read and enjoyed “The lives of Helen Schucman and William Thetford” by Neal Vahle then I recommend that you read Carol Howe’s book: “Never Forget To Laugh: Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course In Miracles“. Although Neal Vahle’s book is a well documented account of the lives of both scribes in which he includes Carol among the many people who had a major impact on Bill, Carol’s book adds the depth that comes from truly knowing someone, having personally participated in his life. Neal recounts how Judy Skutch remarked in 1979, shortly after meeting Carol, “I know why you are here. Bill needs to be socialized. I bequeath you Bill.” And thus began Carol’s friendship with Bill.

Even though some of the material in Neal’s book is also in Carol’s book, Never Forget To Laugh: Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course In Miracles is not simply a work of research. Carol brings a very unique perspective: Bill had been a house guest in Carol’s home; he had taken road trips with Carol, along with her husband Bob; and Bill had also participated with Carol at various Course events – as well as just simply meditating together.

Carol’s reflections gave me a very personal sense of Bill, as if I had known him all my life. If you are a A Course in Miracles student, then Bill has already touched your life. With this book, Carol has given all of us glimpses of another dimension of Bill. He is our Brother and our Friend and someone who will always be a part of our lives. Treat yourself to this gift from Carol and find your connection with the beautiful and gentle soul of Bill Thetford.

For reviews, articles, testimonials, and unpublished segments from the book visit http://www.neverforgettolaugh.com/

Carol Howe


Extra Material

By Carol Howe*
[as it appeared in the  November 2010 Newsletter]

 

We need to know that as people—the everyday man, woman or child—we are individually profound.

In Never Forget To Laugh I had occasion to quote two gifted psychics who had read for Bill during his lifetime. In addition, I spoke with several others in 2006 and 2007 out of curiosity to see what they might pick up about him. During a reading with the first one, I mentioned that I was commencing research for writing a biography about a deceased friend of mine, Bill, well-known in some circles, and might she have anything to say about that. After making some relevant and accurate comments, she said, “I’m hearing – did this Bill have anything to do with typing? He is showing me this old-fashioned typewriter and when it gets down to the end you push the carriage over and then it goes back. I want to say he’s written a lot of things or come up with lots of ideas. He seems to be gathering notes together. . . . I feel joy with him, I feel happy with him. And I feel as if this is something he would like very much to have done. He will help you very, very much with it.”

If there is any symbol within Course circles associated with Bill, it would certainly be the typewriter on which the original notes were typed so I was, needless to say, impressed and reassured with the few right-on comments she made about him.

Six months after that conversation, I spoke with another psychic/healer, one of the most gifted in my personal experience (who chooses to remain anonymous) and asked her if she could tune into my friend, Bill, as I was writing a book about him. The following are a few short excerpts of her much longer “tuning-in.”

“Your friend is very happy to speak with you. Okay, what I am hearing, Carol, is that he is at some sort of precipice for his development and growth, a moving on. So what I’m hearing is that the timing of this call is very good. . . . They’re saying to remember him because when you who are yet part of the physical world remember him, you bring him to the physical world. It’s part of how he gets here, like a bloodhound tracing the scent. Your remembering him helps him touch base in the physical world, helps him move about if that makes any sense. I don’t know any other words than that. You help transport him to the people he needs to reach, as well as to be with you, too.”

“Bill wants you to remember all of the living examples you can, like the stories you were just telling. He didn’t talk the talk necessarily, he lived it. He did very ordinary things and yet he had an extraordinary ability to touch other people, whether it was building a sand castle at the beach or whatever. How he did that, what that looked like – you and he can “talk” that back and forth. The concern would be that it would ‘pedestalize’ him because he was so extraordinary. The reader might avoid doing work, thinking, ‘Well shoot, I’m not anywhere near that smart or clever. This kind of insight, this kind of understanding must come to only very top brains, or something.’ . . . Any person can have a sense that he/she is extraordinary, too.”

“He’s saying that humor is very important, stress the humor. God is a funny guy. In other words, not to take our lives, the story that we make up about our lives, so seriously. One of the things that the guys (her “guides”) had to work hard on teaching me is that I don’t really have it until I can laugh at myself. Once I can see how terribly funny something was—whatever it was—then I have it, so he wants you to stress that.”

“He’s (Bill’s) also saying, Carol, that it’s time for this whole power thing to be broken in some way; it has to come down from the mountain. We pretend the power belongs to a special few – the pope, the president, and corporate entities. We need to know that as people—the everyday man, woman or child—we are individually profound. And the everyday person comes with their his/her own mission, too. He wants you to get that message to folks. It’s a big message but I feel pretty strongly that you guys can talk just fine, interacting across the aisle, so to speak. . . . In other words, you’re very receptive to him, which is great. . . . I just saw kind of like two magnetic things touched and okay, good. The contract is made and the deal is signed. Your intention and his are in sync so there should be no problem.”

It will be left to the reader to decide if our “interacting across the aisle” worked!

As in his earthly life, Bill is nothing if not tenacious. In many ways he seemed to attempt to make his presence and his help known. In late October 2008, while driving to an appointment, I was focusing on him, feeling his presence deeply, and receiving his message that I did not have to rely on my memory alone, or that of others, because he was remembering for me. It was unsolicited but once again reassuring and I was feeling very happy about this writing enterprise. Within less than a minute of feeling his words, I glanced over to the lane of traffic to my right and my attention was riveted on the car just ahead sporting an out-of-state license plate that read WNT-65xx. I didn’t focus on the last two digits as I was stunned at the confirmation – William Newton Thetford who died at age sixty-five and the Course was born in 1965. By this time, it would be very difficult for me to adopt any position other than that Bill’s imprimatur is laid on his biography. As Shakespeare famously said in Hamlet, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

* * *

* Since 1979 Carol Howe has presented highly interactive seminars, workshops, retreats, classes, and lectures on universal spiritual principles and their practical application — for the general public, health-related and other special interest groups, and corporations – nationally and internationally. Please visit Carol’s website to view her Books, CDs and Tapes.

After the publication of her book, NEVER FORGET TO LAUGH: Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course in Miracles, Carol began to share additional material regarding Bill. This material is currently being shared on her Facebook Group and will eventually be available on her website.

http://www.neverforgettolaugh.com

 

 

 

Treasure of the Mind


TREASURE OF THE MIND:

A Tale of Redemption

By J. Michaels*
~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2010 Newsletter]
[Preface:”My son’s untimely and premature death at the tender age of seventeen left me in despair….I will leave you to ponder what is fact and what is fiction. I have truly exercised my poetic license, but in the process, a story worth the ‘telling’,and I believe the ‘reading’, has been born.”]

REVIEW BY REJA JANAKI JOY GREEN

While I was reading this book I went through a gamut of emotions and when I had finished  many of the pages were wet with my tears. I ‘recognized’ so much of what J. Michaels shared here. Even though I have not gone through the grief and guilt of losing a child, I have experienced the pain of separation from my Source and the inherent guilt I allowed that sense of separation to bring. I have felt like a victim and have blamed the dream. I have longed for release and healing and for the forgiveness that can only come from within.

This book is about a Journey we must all make; to walk with forgiveness in our hearts, out of the dream of fear, anger and guilt and into our TRUE Reality as the sinless Eternal Son of God.

J. wrote:

“I refused to let the grief-induced depression take me and, on that little patch of beach, I fought for my soul. I had deluded myself for years about every conceivable subject. Now it was time to let my faith take over and save me from the world and myself. Sitting there on the beach, I felt Chris with me. I felt him stronger than I ever had before and I knew he was truly alive.”

And J.’s Guide tells him,

“Sadness is for those who don’t believe in eternal life. Our bodies may separate after today but our minds and souls never will.”

This book that J. Michael has given us is simply a gentle, beautiful, artful illustration of the message of A Course in Miracles and I feel so blessed to have read it.~ Janaki Joy *Reja* Green, CIMS

REVIEW BY KAREN BENTLEY

Treasure of the Mind is a short, fictionalized story of author J. Michaels’ recovery from grief and guilt after the death of his teen-aged son, Chris.
It’s told from the perspective of a bereft father who interacts with a friend named Wayne and a wise man named Solomon.
At the start of the book, the Wayne character says “Tell me about your hell and we’ll see if there’s a way out.”  We follow along with the father as he learns how to exit from suffering.
Michaels has an unusually beautiful way with words. He artfully combines equal doses of prose and poetry to deliver an uncompromising ACIM-based spiritual message about the meaning of love and life. The essence of the Course is captured and distilled in a clear, concise and minimalist way. As the Solomon character says, “…you know my position on the use of words; as few as possible to make the point…”
The best part is that Michaels doesn’t actually talk directly about the Course. He doesn’t rely on extensive quotes. And he doesn’t offer up the re-hashed interpretations of others. It’s refreshing to hear from a translator who can think for himself.
That said, the story is a predictable one, and you know from the start how it’s going to end up. This doesn’t take away from the emotional impact that reaches out and grabs you as you change your perspective about the death of a loved one.

I very much liked Michaels’ lyrical poetry, which reads like a song on paper. Somehow Michaels is able to make an elegant point with the precision of a surgeon. “Forgive me Father for I have sinned; falser words were never spoken. Children of God could be but perfect; even if thoughts are broken.”

“Treasure of the Mind” would be particularly helpful to any parent dealing with the loss of a child, and it’s really too bad the subtitle doesn’t specifically target or appeal to this audience.
Karen Bentley
America’s Spiritual Reviewer
karen@karenbentley.com
____
*J. Michaels additional books include: “The Poet’s Quill”, a spiritual poetry collection; plus poetry collections, “EmeraldMandala”, and “Mystic Twine”.  To order “Treasure of the Mind” please click here.
[These reviews originally appeared in the CIMS February 2010 Newsletter ]