Friday, May 28, 2010


“Yet the real world has the power to touch you even here, because you love it. And what you call with love will come to you. Love always answers, being unable to deny a call for help, or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it from every part of this strange world you made but do not want.” How many times have you had a glimpse of how it doesn’t have to be this way, this complex, twisted and strange? That if you let go, took responsibility for your interpretations and beliefs and let grace in, let go and let God, it could all be different – simpler, more loving, less twisted? “All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make [but want] is willingness to learn the one you made [not only doesn’t have to be this way, but because it so changeable and responsive to your thinking and feeling] is false.” All we need is “willingness,” not hard work and a lot of efforting, but willingness, and spirit, the still small voice, will guide us.

“You have been wrong about the world because you have misjudged yourself” [mistaking the ego for yourself]. From such a twisted reference point, what could you [expect]? All seeing starts with the perceiver, who judges what is true and what is false. And what he judges false he does not see. You who would judge reality cannot see it, for whenever judgment enters reality has slipped away.

“The out of mind is out of sight, because what is denied is there but is not recognized. Christ [our oneness with each other and God] is still there, although you know Him not. His Being does not depend upon your recognition. He lives within you in the quiet present, and waits for you to leave the past behind and enter into the world He holds out to you in love.” Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The real world

Right now, as I’m typing this, right now, if I pause and ask for help and accept it, I can experience my reality, and yours, as spiritual beings in a different world. But if I read the newspaper or watch cable news or listen to talk radio and think about BP, the oil spill and the seeming inadequacy of the Federal response and the other news of politicians wanting to turn the clock back on civil rights, I’m right back in the same old dysfunctional, hypocritical, aggravating world.

Here’s what the Course says I can do about that: “Sit quietly and look upon the world you see, and tell yourself: ‘The real world is not like this. It has no [oil wells and oil spills, no wars in Iraq and Afghanistan] no buildings and there are no streets where people walk alone and separate [and afraid]. There are no stores where people buy an endless list of things they do not need. It is not lit with artificial light, and night comes not upon it. There is no day that brightens and grows dim. There is no loss [sickness or pain]. Nothing is there but shines, and shines forever.’

“The world you see must be denied, for sight of it is costing you a different kind of vision. You cannot see both worlds, for each of them involves a different kind of seeing, and depends on what you cherish. The sight of one is possible because you have denied the other. Both are not true, yet either one will seem as real to you as the amount to which you hold it dear. And yet their power is not the same, because their real attraction to you is unequal.

“You do not really want the world you see, for it has disappointed you since time began.” [Boy, that’s the truth! We say there’s progress, but is there, really? We’ve never, ever been closer to making the planet un-inhabitable for our species.] The homes you built have never sheltered you. The roads you made have led you nowhere, and no city that you built has withstood the crumbling assault of time.

“Nothing you made but has the mark of death [the ego] upon it. Hold it not dear, for it is old and tired and ready to return to dust even as you made it. This aching world has not the power to touch the living world at all. You could not give it that, and so although you turn in sadness from it, you cannot find in it the road that leads away from it into another world.

“Yet [as yesterday’s post says] the real world has the power to touch you even here, because you love it.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


“We must simply listen for them,” now. Now is all there really is – the past is over the future has not come. Now is all there really is. “Now is the time of salvation,” the Course says, “for now is the release from time.” “Child of light, you know not that the light is in you.” Now is the time to know it. It “is a light that this world cannot give. Yet you can give it, as it was given you…” freely, joyously, without strings, unconditionally, now. “This light…attract[s] you as nothing in this world can….” It “is unlimited and spreads across this world in quiet joy,” now.

You need do nothing, strive, struggle, earn or prove, the light is yours by virtue of your, and everyone else’s, reality as spirit. “You will find it through its witnesses [everyone you encounter, including yourself], for having given light to them they will return it. Each one you see in light brings your light closer to your awareness. Love always leads to love. And this they offer you who gave them joy” now. No commandments to follow, rituals to do, rules to obey. “Love always leads to love.” Love wholly and fully felt freely, joyously, without strings, unconditionally, now.

Most of the time, being in the now, seeing the light and giving love this way is difficult for me. I think this world is all there is and I’m alone in it and if I don’t take of myself, no one will. But every once in awhile, I get that I’m asleep with God, having a nightmare of the world and can for a moment – now, this moment - see the world differently as a reflection of our spiritual reality, full of grace, peace, joy, love and ease; what the Course calls the happy dream. Right now, as I’m typing this, right now, if I pause and ask for help and accept it, I can experience my reality, and yours, as spiritual beings in a different world.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are you contagious?

Are you contagious? My mother used to tell me that if I wasn’t careful, I’d catch a cold…’catch’ a cold. Now I know people don’t ‘catch’ colds, that the germs are there all the time and something activates them. In similar fashion we’re all, as Linda McNamar said, “God-infected beings, carriers of divinity. [The ‘germs’ of] peace, joy and creativity are already within us waiting to be activated. We are contagious with God.” Unfortunately, we are also contagious with the ego, with the germs of fear, hate, anger, doom and gloom. We are always contagious, its our choice as to what we ‘catch’ and what we infect others with.

When we actively set the intention to praise and bless the conditions in our lives and the people around us, we become infectious with God, spreaders of goodwill. Wayne Teasdale, a Catholic lay monk who opened himself to Hindu traditions, quoted by Daniel Shoer Roth in the Miami Herald, said living this way is truly the point of all religions. “The Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Jew, the Jain, the Sikh, the Christian and [even] the agnostic all belong to the same planetary environment….It is essential for the future for all the traditions to recognize this underling unity.” No matter the narrow theological distinctions, bottom line, we are all in the same boat, either contagious with God in service to the planet and humankind or with the ego.

“When we honor God and look to His guidance, it will lead to ideas that already exist [like the germs] for solving every problem we face no matter how entrenched,” Colleen Douglass said in the Christian Science Monitor. To me, ‘His guidance,’ does not mean only the bible, or recognized theological dogma and it’s certainly not ‘His,’ not masculine. To me, guidance is the still small voice within, what the Course calls the Holy Spirit and manifests as a combination of compassion, connection, inclusivity, oneness, joy, peace, harmony and clarity - all or nothing. If I have clarity and certainty without compassion and joy, it’s not guidance, it’s the ego.

Douglass goes on to say, “Our job is to acknowledge that we stand in the presence of this supreme Being and make sure our view of divine Principle is big enough. In other words, to take off any limitations we might impose on God….” Such as Her form, will, word, rules, etc. “When we do, we’ll naturally lift thought above the specific problem to take stock of solutions we might not have previously considered. God’s action is to harmonize, order, govern, and maintain, according to His own [and often mysterious to us from our ego dominated perspectives] law, the law of good. All elements are already in place [like the germs] to solve every problem. We must simply listen for them.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

God and Reality

I love how I feel when I read the last line of yesterday’s post – strong, peaceful, centered, alert, capable, resourceful, ready, competent. Yet I can’t seem to sustain those feelings and the awareness of my reality as spirit. I slip into ego; ego seems to be my default. I’d rather it wasn’t, but it seems to be. I know noting is real unless I make it real, that nothing can touch me unless I let it touch me, but still I default to ego; and beat myself up over it, too, adding insult to injury. Wouldn’t you think it would be simple to stop those thoughts and shift to spirit? Simple, but not easy.

I’ve come to understand its not about stopping those thoughts or resisting them, that only makes them realer. It’s about shifting, about thinking other thoughts, like how good it feels when I know I’m with spirit and able to be centered and watch my thoughts drift by, like clouds across the sun, being at peace with what is. Not being resigned to conditions – fear, lack, prejudice and hate, but acknowledging that the present moment is all there is to experience, right now. From this simple acknowledgement, I free myself to perceive other possibilities, other ways of dealing with fear, lack, prejudice and hate and my reality as spirit.

When I take time to let this realization permeate my thoughts, I see my life flowing with ease. Acknowledging what is present in the moment, allows me to appreciate what is really real; to realize the deeper truth of my being as spirit and to take responsibility for creating this illusion, this dream of life I think I’m living. Taking responsibility, I can create another, happier dream. But its still a dream and “no dream in this world has ever brought even a dim imagining” of the sense of peace that is God’s love for me and you.

“Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you. The Holy Spirit will restore your sanity because insanity is not the will of God. You will not keep what God would have removed. The communication link that God Himself placed within you [the Holy Spirit, the still small voice], joining your mind with His, cannot be broken.

“You may believe you want it broken, and this belief does interfere with the deep peace in which the sweet and constant communication God would share with you is known. Yet His cannels of reaching out cannot be wholly closed and separated from Him. Peace will be yours. You have it now. God willed you Heaven, and will always will you nothing else. There is no chance that Heaven will not be yours, for God is sure, and what He wills is as sure as He is. Even the darkest nightmare that disturbs the mind of God’s sleeping Son holds no power over him. He will learn the lesson of awaking. God watches over him and light surrounds him.”

Boy, I LOVE that! To me, the ‘God’ the Course refers to is not of this world, the dream/illusion we take to be reality, not made in the ego’s image, not anthropomorphic, nor in anyway related to popular Judeo-Christian or Islamic ideas about God. The God the Course refers to is the real world, the force and energy of which all of us are partake, right now. Awareness of our connection to this God while we believe the dream is real, which we all do, makes the dream bearable until with the Holy Spirit’s help we are able to chose to awake. Happy dreams!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Past, again

When the ego speaks first in the exchange model, judgment and punishment, hypocrisy, shoulding and pain seem natural and inevitable. But, as the Course says, that’s all in the past. The ego is nothing but the past. “Judgment and condemnation are behind you, and unless you bring them with you, you will see that you are free of them. Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true.

“All healing lies within it because its continuity is real. It extends to all aspects of the Sonship [all human beings] at the same time, and thus enables them to reach each other.” So from this we get as the Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to self evident. All men are created equal.”

“The present is before time was and will be when time is no more. In it are all things that are eternal, and they are one. Their continuity is timeless and their communication is unbroken, for they are not separated by the past. Only the past can separate, and it is nowhere.

“The present offers you your brothers [all of humanity] in the light that would unite you with them, and free you from the past. Would you hold the past against them? For if you do, you are choosing to remain in the darkness that is not there, and refusing to accept the light that is offered you. For the light of perfect vision is freely given as it is freely received, and can be accepted only without limit,” and judgment and time are limits. So, “look lovingly upon the present [and know your reality as spirit now], for it holds the only things that are forever true.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hypocrisy, Part 3

Another way to close the gap is to feel the pain, but do it anyway; to go thru the pain; to see the pain as a cost, a price to be paid, as in no pain, no gain. This is the ‘exchange’ model of human behavior – you have to give something to get something, in which everything is viewed as a transaction. In this view pain is akin to the cost of child birth. This is a prevalent view in a free market society, but is it a relevant view, is it the way to view everything? Aren’t some things ‘free’, coming to us without cost or exchange? For example, the love we get from our parents when we’re babies, the bounties of the earth, fresh air and light. We exchange nothing for these, do we?

So, must there always be pain, as in no pain no gain? Isn’t pain really an indicator that something isn’t working well? Michael Beckwith says, “The pain pushes until the vision pulls.” Pain is of the ego. We can do great things with ego, but whatever we do from the ego place will beget more ego and more pain. Vision is of spirit and will beget more spirit. When vision guides, there is no pain, no exchange, simply desire and fulfillment. Being pulled by vision is being guided by spirit. Being pulled by vision is to fulfill purpose with peace and joy, without pain or hypocrisy.

There is no hypocrisy with vision, no fear or pain; no exchange, or ‘shoulding.’ In fact ‘shoulding’ and pain are indicators of ego. If you’re feeling pain or ‘shoulding’ on yourself, its worthwhile to pause and reflect on what’s going on. There’s probably a gap that needs to be closed and probably some hypocrisy, too. Try and close the gap without judging yourself, scaring yourself or shoulding on yourself. That will only bring more of the same.

Try closing the gap with vision instead. What is the great over-arching good you seek? How can you move towards that good without creating more pain, fear and hypocrisy? Isn’t what you seek, what’s good for you – love, peace, joy, hope, opportunity, freedom, good for everyone, something that all people, everywhere, no matter what their sexual preference, skin color or country of origin, are seeking? Ask for vision and you can receive it.

The ego always speaks first; the exchange model, hypocrisy, shoulding and pain seem natural and inevitable. But they’re not. The still small voice is always within waiting to be heard, but we have to lower the volume of the ego’s raucous cries. We have to know there’s an alternative and ask for the help we need. We’re not as separate and alone as the ego would have us believe. Vision and the still small voice like all things of spirit, are like muscles, the more we use them, the stronger and more useful they become. But it is our choice, we must take the first step. Seek and ye shall find; Knock and it shall be opened unto you; Ask and ye shall receive. Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else shall be added unto you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hypocrisy, Part 2

To avoid the constant buzz of low level stress, judge less and accept more. In other words, knowing but not doing, such as not taking out the garbage, is normal human behavior, not hypocrisy, and does not require a lot of guilt, punishment and fear, some maybe, but not a lot. Be careful what you label hypocrisy. Still, espousing Christian ideals and lacking compassion for all human beings, is hypocrisy, and people who do this might want to fear the ‘last judgment’.

So, to me, the difference between hypocrisy and normal human behavior is scope - the extent to which the lives of others and the functioning of society, and our higher order ideals and aspirations are involved. If the inaction or action will seriously harm or diminish others, here and now, whether to save their souls or not, it reaches the level of hypocrisy.

Still, whether hypocrisy or normal human behavior, the goal is to close the gap between knowing what to do and doing it. If I know what to do and don’t do it, the goal is to close the gap between them. A number of options are available to do this. I can let go of my certainty – of my knowing. I can question, research and be open to other ways of perceiving the situation. Maybe I really don’t know what to do – maybe the garbage can go out every other day instead of everyday. Maybe compassion is more important than punishment.

If I’m going to persist in doing what I know I shouldn’t do, maybe I should just ‘de-criminalize’ it, make it legal and eliminate the fear of punishment and pain. So if I take out the garbage once a week, there’s no punishment but the stink, and that may not be a ‘punishment’ if I don’t mind the smell.

Anyhow, the goal is to close the gap, to get my behavior in line with my ideals or my ideals in line with my behavior. As long as there’s a gap, I’m a hypocrite.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hypocrisy, Part 1

Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things, especially when our ideals and aspirations are involved. I often don’t live up to my ideals, ignoring them in favor of more immediate expediency. Is that as true for you, as it is for me? And, do you feel guilty and beat yourself up over it? I do, ‘cause I want to make a contribution and be a good person, and take what Hillel said seriously, “If not me, then who; and if not now, then when?”

I also think that knowing and not doing, especially with big things like ideals and aspirations is being a hypocrite and being a hypocrite is one of the worst sins there is. Its a ‘sin’ to me, because I agree with Shakespeare that the key to effective living, both as an individual and as a member of society is, “To thine own self be true and it follows like the night the day, that thou canst not be false to any man.” What do you think?

I feel kind of alone in this view though, because a lot of people seem not to mind being hypocrites or even notice when they are, especially people in the news. Instead of stories about people living up their ideals and aspirations, we get stories of people ignoring, or worse yet, betraying them. Like the so called ‘Christians’ who want to fix, shun, or segregate gays, and turn out to be gay themselves.

Anyhow, knowing what to do and not doing it when our ideals and aspirations are involved, seems to be the norm; I do it, you do it, everyone does it, sometimes. But is that ‘hypocrisy’ or just normal human behavior? And if its not hypocrisy, when does it get to be hypocrisy? And why does it matter and who cares?

Last, first. It matters and all of us need to care because judging oneself to be a hypocrite, even with the small things like taking our the garbage, creates a gap, a discontinuity, a doubt, a question, which generates guilt – oh, I should have done that – which creates fear of being caught and punished, and the pain of punishment. And because we’re always ‘shoulding’ on ourselves - judging ourselves as hypocrites, not measuring up, lacking and failing, and though the fear of pain and punishment is mostly psychic and emotional, it still creates a constant buzz of low level stress, that does take a physical toll.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Past

“…perceive a brother [every person you encounter] only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him [them] are also not there, and if it is to them that you react, you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him.” Question your illusions, “ask yourself if it is really sane to perceive what was, as now. If you look upon your brother [this way], you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.

“You consider it ‘natural’ to use your past experience as the reference point from which to judge the present. Yet this is unnatural because it is delusional. When you have learned to look on everyone with no reference at all to the past, either his or yours as you perceived it, you will be able to learn from what you see now. For the past can cast no shadow to darken the present, unless you are afraid of the light. And only if you are would you choose to bring darkness with you, and by holding it in your mind, see it as a dark cloud that shrouds your brothers and conceals their reality [as Christ, as spirit] from your sight.

“This darkness is in you [in your ego small self, not in them. Of course it is within them, too, when they abide with their ego small selves instead of their big Selves as Christ/spirit].”

“To be born again is to let the past go, and look without condemnation upon the present. The cloud that obscures God’s Son to you is the past, and if you would have it past and gone, you must not see it now. If you see it now in your illusions, it has not gone from you, although it is not there.”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thou mayest

In John Steinback’s East of Eden, a powerful story of choice, lust, love and redemption, he has one of the characters, I think it was a Japanese man, long-time friend of the family, say, by way of explanation for, and resolution of, all the conflict, “Thou mayest.”

Thou mayest. In a family dominated by a strict, fundamentalist father who believes in the literal interpretation of the bible, natural desires and needs take on the extra weight of heavenly censure. Everything – love, sex, passion, hope, is temptation and must be resisted. Guilt accompanies almost every thought and action. Loving and innocent motives become twisted and conflicting. Not, Thou mayest, but Thou shalt not.

The characters struggle with one another, find some peace after great suffering and pain, and achieve a vague awareness that their conflicts, especially their inner conflicts, what they’ve been struggling against, aren’t necessarily temptation. They can be, but fundamentally their needs and emotions are neutral, not either good or evil, but with the power to be either good or evil depending on the heart and intentions of the individual.

In fact, perhaps not neutral at all, but actually good. All the natural human emotions - love, sex, passion, hope, aren’t temptations at all, but actually good because they’re ‘natural’ and therefore God given. Good because if God is love and original sin is a mythic metaphor created by the ego to explain its birth, then all of God’s creation is meant to be good, when seen without the ego, when we choose to see it with spirit instead of the ego. Thou mayest, not Thou shalt not.

I think Steinback is saying that the fundamentalist interpretation of the bible popular when he was writing, just after the turn of the previous century (and still popular today), had the metaphysics inside out, upside down and backwards. There is no devil to tempt us and God is love. Thou mayest. We do have a choice, to awaken to our reality as spirit or remain asleep in the fear and horror of the ego illusion. The Tem Commandments were not about Thou shalt not, but about Thou mayest. What Thou mayest means to me is that God is saying, it’s only a dream, your reality is with me, you are still with me, you are eternally my child, live from that space with that knowledge.

Thou mayest - we need not fight our natural emotions – love, sex, passion and hope, but experience them as blessings and opportunities to choose to awaken to our reality and everyone’s reality, as spirit. If I honor myself and you and everyone as spirit, “I need fear no evil [nor do no evil] for Thou art with me.”

Thou mayest is not an ego message, it’s a God message! It’s not a license to kill or indulge or commit mayhem. It’s an invitation, a plea really, to get our bloated nothingness out of the way; to hide nothing from God, not one spec of pain or fear; to let go of what we think we know (what we’ve learned with the ego), of our belief in sin, guilt and mistakes and give it all over. Its permission to live fully as spiritual beings (surrounded by other spiritual beings) having earthly experiences.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not making guilt real

“You cannot dispel guilt by making it real, and then atoning for it.” This is good advice, especially when I’m feeling weighted down by mistakes; beating myself up for the horrible things I’ve done, and for the way I’ve mistreated and possibly crippled my wife. Its one thing to fuck yourself up, but fucking up somebody else, feels unforgivable; especially when that person is fundamentally good and innocent and sweet. How’s that for making the guilt real? I know I have to let go of my mistakes, that dwelling on mistakes is dwelling in the past and the past is over, if I will let it be over, and that now is the only time I have to act.

I know the action to take now, when I feel the guilt is to let it go and turn it over to spirit. “The Holy Spirit dispels guilt simply through the calm recognition that it has never been…. As you look upon yourself and judge what you do honestly, you may be tempted to wonder how you can be guiltless. Yet consider this: You are not guiltless in time, but in eternity.”

This means that the thing to do now is to understand that guilt and the idea of time itself are of the ego - my bloated nothingness, and to get my bloated nothingness out of the way of the divine circuits, not by making guilt real, but by giving it to the Holy Spirit. I can feel the guilt and see it, making it a little bit real, but rather than dwell on it, and wallow in it - making it very real, I’ll give it over. In fact this turns out to be therapeutic.
“Do not hide suffering [guilt and mistakes] from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefuly for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it….”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Inner Guidance

The guidance is so essential! Without fresh, wholly well meaning input, I would continue to do what I always did. That’s how we are; creatures of habit. The illusion is a self-fulfilling prophecy, we get what we expect to get. Fear and its sisters prudence and due diligence, keep us locked into our habitual ways of being. Indeed, that’s what the illusion is; it’s not that I’m not here, don’t have a body or there is no world - that’s true at the metaphysical level, but at the everyday physical level I am here.

The illusion is thinking I know what things mean, can interpret on my own, can teach myself. Reality is that I only know what I know, what my family, culture and experiences have taught me - a very narrow, tiny bit of stuff I’ve abstracted from all that I might know. And I’m often wrong! My family had it wrong, my culture’s wrong and I’m wrong. I’ve been operating on incorrect premises. Oh, I can get by and do better than get by on what I know, but, like the people who used to think the world was flat, I’m wrong and I’m limiting myself.

The great thing is, if I realize I’m wrong, I can open to getting it right, or at least more right. That’s where the fresh, wholly well meaning input comes in. It helps me undo the illusion. Fresh, ‘cause it’s new to me and not weighted down with my BS, or as Emerson said, “my bloated nothingness,” and wholly well meaning, because it has nothing to prove, and wants only the best for all concerned. This input is what the Course calls the Holy Spirit and what most of us call our souls.

The Course says that when we slipped into the dream/illusion of separation, even though it ended the instant we slipped into it, a little piece of our spiritual reality, a memory of our oneness with God, came with us. This is where our guidance – the fresh, wholly well-meaning input, comes from; the still small voice of our souls. It’s with us always, everybody has one, it represents a fresh, non-earthly way to experience things, and it is wholly well meaning.

Tuning out the distractions of the ego illusion, enable us to hear the song our souls are constantly singing. No struggle, no effort, just a non-doing undoing by letting go and changing the channel from fear and the ego to love and spirit. The ego will struggle, frantically, and its raucous screams will shake us, but it is not who we are. Breath into it, allow it to wash over you; know it is meaningless, only your bloated nothingness slipping out of the way of the divine circuits. If you shift your focus, the raucous shrieks will diminish and the song of your soul will be more audible.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Effortless efforting

It occurs to me that I might be misrepresenting the fundamental message and intention of the Course with my talk about how well it works in my life, and could work in yours. The Course clearly states that it’s intent is not to make life better here in the world, but to help us wake from the dream of an illusory world, to the reality of eternal peaceful life as spirit; that it’s either the real world of spirit or the dream/illusory world of the ego. That the dream becomes better as we follow the Course, is epiphenomenal – a 25 cent word I don’t get to use very much which means, side effect.

In other words, I don’t do the Course to make the illusion more comfortable, I do the Course to awake and attain the real world of spirit, and as I do that, the illusory ego world becomes more tolerable. Doing the Course undoes the illusion. I don’t attack or challenge the illusion, I just do the Course. Here, again, is that subtle, Zen paradox, about non-doing or effortless doing. It’s amazing and comforting, not so amazing really when you think how really it all comes from a single source, how the Zen ideas, as well as the fundamental core of all faiths, are so similar.

So, I’m resigning as my own teacher, trying, but not too hard, to not struggle and force things to happen in the world. Of course, I’ve got to work, eat, take a crap, stay healthy, be amused, that’s what we do here. But I’m trying to do it all with spirit, with guidance, not taking it so seriously, to feel my reality as spirit in each moment and in each activity. The goal isn’t to cross another item off the to-do list, feel good and avoid pain; the goal is to feel my connection with spirit, to realize my, and your, oneness; to truly, deeply experience the idea that the obstacles ARE the path.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Resign as your own teacher

The ‘working’ and doing what it takes to allow spirit and our extraordinary, metanormal capacities to shine through, is essentially inner work, self checking and monitoring, a mindfulness, an awareness of what we’re thinking and who we’re thinking with, either ego or spirit. For example, if I’m thinking/feeling alone, overwhelmed, angry, anxious, I’m with ego and need to shift to spirit. The Course and indeed most of Murphy’s material says it’s almost impossible to shift away from ego on my own, help is needed. The Course says pure spiritual help, what it calls the Holy Spirit, is necessary; Murphy’s stuff agrees but suggests that the spiritual help can also come through other people. Either way, the bottom line is, as the Course says, and I love this, I have to resign as my own teacher.

“You have learning handicaps in a very literal sense,” the Course says. “There are areas in your learning skills that are so impaired that you can progress only under constant, clear-cut direction, provided by a Teacher Who [the Holy Spirit] can transcend your limited resources. The learning situation you have placed yourself in [the imagined separation from God/Spirit] is impossible. Poor learners are not good choices as teachers, either for themselves or for anyone else. Your [the ego’s] learning goal has been to not learn. The ego’s rule is, ‘Seek and do not find,’ ‘try to learn but do not succeed.’ Every legitimate teaching aid, every real instruction and every sensible guide to learning [and these are all around us, many in forms we would label ‘bad’ or ‘difficult’] will be misinterpreted. The aim of your teaching is to defeat itself, what can you expect but confusion?”

“But perhaps [no ‘perhaps’ about it!] you do not realize , even yet, that there is something you want to learn, and that you can learn because it is your choice to do so. Resign now as your own teacher. This resignation will not lead to depression. It is merely the result of an honest appraisal of what you have taught yourself, and of the learning outcomes that have resulted. Under the proper learning conditions, which you can neither provide nor understand, you will become an excellent learner and an excellent teacher. Your learning potential, properly understood, is limitless because it will lead you to God. You need offer only undivided attention [thus the mindfulness and self monitoring]. Everything else will be given you. For you really want to lean aright, and nothing can oppose the decision of God’s Son [you, me and every person – we, all of humanity are, in the Course’s context, God’s one son].”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Extraordinay metanormal capacities

For me, the power in the Course doesn’t come from it’s ‘sacredness’ or any other extrinsic thing about it, but from its intrinsic, inherent usefulness – it works! The more I follow it, the better my life gets. That’s why I’m sharing it with you; and that’s why I share other things. I’ve found that thy work for me [and others] and thought it might work for you, too.

I’ve been reading another book that has much the same impact and deals with much of the same content as the Course, Michael Murphy’s, The Future of the Body. Murphy musters vast amounts of evidence from prehistoric times to the present, suggesting that evolution is going on within each and every one of us right now, and moving human beings in the direction of more frequent everyday manifestations of extraordinary metanormal capabilities. In other words, every person alive on the planet now and in the past, is, and has been, a vector for evolution, and can, with discipline, training, faith and commitment, tap into latent inner powers that have seemed supernatural.

Grace, for example. Murphy says that grace, the Buddha nature, Hasidic joy, Hindu moshka, etc, is not a supernatural gift dispensed by a supernatural, external deity for the deserving few, but a natural, ever-present inner reality, equally available to all. Wow!
Imagine, having the ‘blessing’ of grace as a constant reality. How cool, how good! How different our individual lives would be, how much healthier, peaceful, joyous and productive; and society, too.

Grace is one of the extraordinary ‘metanormal’ capacities that evolution is bringing into increasing daily manifestation. Again, we can’t sit back and wait for evolution to do it, but knowing that it’s there for everyone, and then ‘working’ and doing what it takes to allow it to shine through, is quite different and much more empowering than believing that it’s dispensed by some whimsical deity to the faithful few.

In other words, the gift is given, it’s there within each one of us, waiting to be opened. Our purpose is to open it, and the other ‘gifts’, to open it ourselves and help one another open it. Murphy quotes Philip Novak, talking about the Buddha nature as about “not so much on our attaining it, but on our not obstructing its continuous salvific activity…. Far closer to the truth than the notion that grace is absent is that it is always and everywhere present…. We remain blind to the graceful immanence…failing to draw on its power.”