GAFF: And The Battle of the Books
Thoughts of an Old Fisherman
by Lorena R. Peter, Ph.D.*
[as it appeared in the April 2012 Newsletter]
Priscilla was reading from the Course. “’The continuing will to remain separated is the only possible reason for continuing guilt feelings.’ And later it says, ‘Any decision of the mind will effect both behavior and experience.’”
The three friends were sitting on Gaff’s spot, watching the clouds float across the sky and the pelicans dive for food. In the silence, each contemplated the meaning of the passage. Gaff silently asked the birds to leave him at least one fish for the cooler. He hadn’t caught many that day and he had promised his family a dinner of fresh grilled fish.
Bobby smiled, “Well, if you always come out of love, you won’t do anything to feel guilty about.”
Priscilla tapped his knee and smiled her agreement. She looked as though she were about to speak.
Just then Wally’s voice reached them from the land side of the beach. “Just the people I wanted to see.” Gaff turned around to see Wally bearing down on them, a big grin on his face. When he saw Gaff turn toward him, he waved a book. “It’s all in here. You’re always bashing me for my sermons about the Apocalypse that’s going to destroy the earth. Well, here’s another book describing the very thing you say won’t happen.”
Gaff grinned, “And what book might that be?”
Wally slammed the book on the palm of his other hand. “It’s not even a man of the cloth. And he prophesies the end of the world—and soon, too.”
Priscilla glanced at the book, one about Paul Solomon and the messages he got while in trance. She smiled. “Bet you haven’t gotten to the end of it.”
Wally frowned. “How do you know that?” He looked at the page with a corner turned down. “Page 195.” He closed the book and looked at the other three. “That’s enough to see where he’s going with it. End of the world. And not a pretty one. The collapse of the Soviet Union was the start of all hell breaking loose. And those guys in the Middle East are going to bring it down on all of us. Bombs. Nuclear. A third of the people on the planet will bite the dust.” His expression was smug and not just a little proud that his point of view was supported by the descriptions of death and destruction he was reading.
Priscilla’s grin got bigger, but she didn’t say anything.
Wally looked from one to the other of his friends, finally burst out, “What? What are you smiling about? This proves my point. Gonna tell the story from the pulpit this very weekend. “ He nodded, pleased with himself.
Gaff looked at Priscilla. “I’m guessing you’ve read that book.”
Gaff turned back to Wally. “I have, too.”
Wally looked at Bobby. “You, too?”
Wally plopped down on the sand. “I was beginning to think I was the only one coming late to this read. It was published in the ‘90’s. Found it on the shelf at the Rectory.” His smug expression gone, he looked at Gaff and Priscilla. “I’m guessing from the looks on your faces that he talks about something good happening after the earth is destroyed. A field of daisies or something like that.”
Priscilla chuckled. “You remember in the beginning of the book he says that a prophecy that comes true is one that has failed?”
Wally frowned. “Ye-e-es?”
She continued, “Right where you’re reading now, he’s talking about a lot of people through the ages who predicted a horrible final act.”
Wally opened the book to the marked place and glanced through several pages. “Yep. That’s what he did. Some really important, credible people mentioned in this chapter.”
Gaff was enjoying this. “You haven’t gotten to the place where he talks about how to avoid it?”
Wally closed the book. “He does?”
Now Wally looked suspicious. “And how would this be done?”
Priscilla was really grinning now. “By feeling only love. By getting rid of any other feeling and only acting out of love.”
Gaff glanced at the tip of his rod to find it wiggling: something big was on the line. “Yep, the way that guy describes the remedy– it is to get rid of duality.”
Priscilla cut in, “You know, like love/ hate. You get rid of the hate part and keep the love part. That’s the same thing this book says.” She tapped the book resting on her knees.
Wally glanced at the black book under Priscilla’s hand. “A Course in Miracles. You’ve mentioned it before. I’ve read that it is absolute blasphemy.”
She nodded. “You have, have you? In fact, the part I was reading just now says that no one needs to feel guilty.”
Wally hurrumphed. “You see. Blasphemy! What about feeling guilty when you do evil?”
Priscilla went on, “The only reason we continue to feel guilty is so that we can feel separate from God.”
Bobby added, “I think the most important thing is what it says about believing stuff like the end of the world coming.”
Wally sniped. “And what would that be?”
“What you believe influences your feelings about situations. Because if you expect to see something bad, you’re leaning in that direction anyway and you’ll interpret things as leading to the end you envision. Your feelings influence the way you act, too. So if you decide that the end of the world is coming, you’ll be fearful and every time a comet is spotted nearby, you’ll think it’s going to crash into the planet and kill us all. Then you’ll act afraid, maybe hide… or lash out at others.”
Gaff added, “Worse yet, you might wage war against the people you think are going to cause the end of the world… and that would only add to the problem. Fighting begets fighting.”
Wally was nodding, thoughtful. But his face said he was looking for the flaw in their logic.
Priscilla said, “This whole book is about learning to think loving thoughts in all situations. ”
Wally spoke slowly, “So I’m supposed to stand there and let people attack me and knock me around?”
“Are they attacking you… really?”
Wally was trying on this idea. “So if I think the world will end in flames, I may also do things to bring that end on? The reverse of what you’ve told me in the past– to be more accepting and loving so that others can love me.”
“Here’s a thought. If you fear that the world is going to burst into flames, that’s thinking that there’s something out there ready to DO it to you. If you feel only love for the whole and you feel that you are a part of that whole, you are creating the future for yourself. You are the created AND the creator. If you act out of love, why would you create anything that was not loving?”
Wally nodded slowly, deep in thought. “Let me see if I’ve got this. Feel that I am a part of the whole universe. And so I can create what I want for the universe. If I act out of love all the time, then whatever I do create will be loving… always!”
“If you feel guilty or afraid, you are feeling separate from God.”
Wally pounded his fist on the book.”What about all those people out there who are waging a war of terrorism in order to kill me and my family? Am I supposed to love them?”
Gaff nodded. “Isn’t that what Jesus taught?”
Bobby laughed. “I think it works in both directions. You feel a part of God, the ultimate source of love, and you’re so full of love that there’s no room for fear or guilt. Or, if you feel only love, you know that love is all around you, and that enables you to feel that you are part of God!”
Wally looked at Priscilla’s book. “Hmm, that’s in your book there?” He held up his own book. “And this one, too? Maybe I need to finish reading this book before I start quoting it.”
The three friends laughed. Gaff said, “I think you’ll like the end.” Then he stood to move toward his rod. He motioned toward it. “And I’m going to like what’s on the end of my line! Those birds may just have left some fish to jump on my hook after all. Julia and my kids are going to love pulling this one off the grill.”
Priscilla stood next to him as his rod bent from the weight of the catch. “It’s a big one! You are always taken care of by the Source of all Love and by your friends out there. WE are part of the whole.”
*Lorena Peter, Ph.D., writes entertaining mysteries, romances and wisdom books.
All have strong spiritual underpinnings and paranormal elements. She blends a medical intuition and healing practice (and travel) with her writing. You may contact her on Facebook. For her understanding of the Course, she thanks Carmen Cameron and the class in Louisville, KY.