Friday, May 27, 2016

I Can Never Forgive a Person; I Can Only Forgive a Thought



I


Defining what true forgiveness is is tricky.  At first, it seems that I am trying to forgive a person.  Someone does something that hurts me, and I ask for help to find the strength to forgive that person.  This is bargaining, and I probably think I am a better person than that person.

The thing is, I can never forgive a person; I can only ask for help to let go of my thought-image that is making up that person, simply a projection. 
I can only forgive a thought.

That’s good because it keeps it all within my mind; obviously, the image I am projecting outside begins inside, and there is where I need to focus.

And, I am up against it because I am dealing with several  thousand thoughts pouring through my mind all day.

Not only that, these thoughts are based on my habitual conditioning, my core beliefs, that were well in place by the time I was five years old.  This automatic conditioning is the basis for the thoughts that are triggered by another person’s behavior.

And, I can let it go because I am placing my finger on my nose, taking full responsibility, looking inside.

What comes to mind is this passage from Luke:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (23/34)

Jesus is acknowledging that those crucifying Him are not aware of their projections.  They completely focused on Jesus, outside of them as a body, completely unaware that He is simply a thought-image, in fact, they all have slightly different thought-images of Him.

Jesus knows full well that they are unaware of their projections and lovingly asks our Father that they be forgiven.

And from Lesson 134, Let me perceive forgiveness as it is:

Forgiveness looks on thoughts with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.”

I can never forgive a person; I can only forgive my thoughts projected on a person.

Again, from Lesson 134: 

He has been  gently awakened from his dream by understanding what he THOUGHT he saw was never there.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

What "Amazing Grace" Means to Me




Judy Collins writes the Introduction to “Amazing Grace:  The Story of America’s Most Beloved Song,” by Steve Turner.  She writes that in the late 60’s she was going through a difficult time in her life, protesting the war in Vietnam, facing difficulties in her marriage and  trying to maintain custody of her son.  For help she joined a support group.

“One night after a particularly argumentative meting I was asked to sing a song that might bring us all back together; a song we could all sing and relate to.  I chose ‘Amazing Grace.’  Instantly, all disquiet faded from the group.  We stood together, singing. Everyone seemed to know at least part of the song.  We were transformed to a lace that was calm and serene, peaceful and loving.
My producer, Mark Abramson, with whom I was working on my current album, was at the meeting that night and called me in the morning to tell me ‘Amazing Grace’ was a song that should be included on the album.  I quickly agreed.

In 1970 I recorded the song at St. Paul’s chapel on the campus of Columbia University in New York.  The chorus singing was comprised of many close personal friends, including Stacy Keach, Harris Yulin, Yafa Lerner, and even one of my brothers, Dinver John.  The recording was truly a coming together of family and friends, kith and kin.

The song swept across the country, becoming an instant hit and for that reason, creating room for other spiritual songs in the poop repertory. 





Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
'Twas blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we first begun.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
Was blind, but now I see.

 John Newton (1725-1807) was a slave trader for 20 years, and then he became an Anglican Cleric, serving Olney, Buckingham, for 20 years.  For his Sunday sermons, he often wrote hymns to supplement his readings.  During this time he underwent a conversion experience, overcoming the guilt he experienced as a slave trader, and in December of 1772, he wrote “Amazing Grace,” expressing how grace overcame his wretchedness.

“John Fawcett, a Baptist minister, was so impressed when he heard Newton speak of his dramatic conversion that he asked him to write his story so that it could be passed around.  This was done in a series of letters to Fawcett, completing the last letter with this comment, ‘I pray God this little sketch may animate those who shall peruse it to praise the exceeding riches of His goodness to an unworthy wretch.”
#     #     #
I selected this song because I, too, felt like a wretch for a good part of my life.  In time, I came to learn that it was not my effort that saved me, it was God’s Grace, and I know precisely when and where that occurred.  

On August 7, 1997, Christine and I crossed the threshold of Endeavor Academy.
Looking back, I see that moment as an apex:
X
Everything I had experienced in my life, came to a point here, and then opened up, and is till opening.
Always looking ahead in my life, I thought if anything were to get done, I would have to do it.  Looking back, I realize that all along I was being guided, and the way was constantly narrowing.
The sports, he degrees, the studying, the reading, the writing, the failed marriage, the failed jobs, drinking and smoking pot and partying, even the apparent successes in teaching and coaching and writing, and the clear-cut crossings, meeting Christine in the fall of 1985,coming across the Course in the fall of 1986, sitting in the closet of my classroom in the late 90’s during my Free Period, meditating, pleading, “God, please get me out of here,” encountering brothers on the 4th of July Weekend, 1997, and finally crossing the threshold of Endeavor Academy, “just for 30 days,” and meeting Master Teacher.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
'Twas blind, but now I see.

Salvation’s time has come.  Today is set by Heaven itself to be a time of GRACE for you and for the world. (Lesson 131, No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.)

The power that this song has held for 250 years is because it is the perfect blending of sound and sense, medium and message, form and content.

First, the sheer poetry of it;  its rhythm is iambic.

a MAZ/ ing GRACE,/ how SWEET/ the SOUND
that SAVED/ a WRETCH/ like ME./
i ONCE/ was LOST,/ but NOW/ i'm FOUND/
'Twas BLIND,/ but NOW/ i SEE./

As far as sound and sense, listen to the assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds:

amAzing, grAce, sAved
swEEt, mE, sEE
hOW,sOUnd, nOW, fOUnd, nOW
lIke, I’m,blInd, I

Listen to the consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds:

amAZing, grACe, SWeet, SOund, SAved, wretCH, onCE, wAS, loST, T’wAS, SEEE

Whenever Christine and I did Session, the last song we played before we began talking was Ronnie Earl’s, “Amazing Grace.”








Monday, March 14, 2016

I Was Struck



The other morning, reading the Lesson for the day, 71, Only God’s plan for salvation will work, ideas started pouring in about how thoughts come to mind that lead to creative expression.  I grabbed my notebook and recorded in thoughts as they came in.


I Was Struck

 “One winter morning I was struck by the beautiful graphic quality of our oak trees and bare branches.  I set up my easel in front of the window, which framed this composition, Winter Morning Trees.”  Nancy Cox.
. . .I was STRUCK by. . . 

Turning a phrase into blank verse

Father, please help me see
how You are manifesting through me.

Fa ther, please help me see
how You are man i fest ing through me.

FA ther,/ please HELP/ me SEE/
how YOU/ are MAN/ i FEST ing/ through ME./

It came to me to say.

Give us this day our holy bread.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Insertion of light

Alignment

Attune

Resonate

Frequency

Vibration

The issue here is to discuss what it means to be aligned to a Christ vibration in a body that walks around and encounters other bodies in frequency.  “(I Am Word”, channeled by Paul Selig.)

Receptivity

Lesson 49, God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.

from today’s Lesson 71, Only God’s plan for salvation will work:

What would You have e do?
Where would You have me go?
What would you have me say, and to whom? (11)


Give Him full CHARGE of the rest of the practice period, and let Him tell you what needs to be done by you in His plan for your salvation.  He will answer you in proportion to your willingness to hear His Voice. (Lesson 71.12)

The world is CHARGED with the grandeur of God.


God’s Grandeur
Gerar Manley Hopkins (1844.1889)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.



from “The Impersonal Life,” channeled by Joseph Brenner.

I have been with you always, but you did not know it.

I have purposely led you through the Wilderness of books and teachings, of religious and philosophies, keeping ever before your Soul’s eyes the vision of the Promised Land; feeding you with the mana of the Desert, that you might remember and value and long for the Bread of the Spirit.

Now I have brought you to the river Jordan that separates you from your Divine heritage.

Now the time has come for you consciously to know Me; the time has come for you to cross over into Canaan, the land of Milk and Honey.
Are you ready?

Do you want to go?

Then follow this My Word, which is the Ark of My Covenant, and you shall go over dry shod. 

BE STILL AND KNOW.

For me, when I am struck, I grab a notebook and a pen, not an easel and a brush, sit before the window and compose a Haiku:

A gray evening sky
latticed with dark black branches
a bird lands, branch bobs


Sunday, February 21, 2016

SINGULARITY Certain Connections Between Earthly and Heavenly Experiences




Saturday, 23 January 2016
Five-Minute Writing Exercise
Everything that I experience begins in my mind with an image to which I attach a story, or a thought to which I attach an image.  And I believe them.  Beliefs are powerful, indeed. This, then, is my “world,” totally in my mind and projected outward. 
It is only when my mind is free of my thought- images and beliefs that it is truly itself, present, and joined with all other minds, joyous and free.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Haiku

Do only this, now
Do that next, making  that this
This is heart-centered


A Direct Experience

While walking the endless corridors of the Kalahari Resort, I say to myself, OK, now simply do this, be attentive to walking.  Let go of that thought-image coming up in front of me, and let go of that that thought-image that was behind me, making that this moment.
Be aware of my feet striking the soft carpet, heel-toe, right foot, heel-toe left foot, breathe in and breathe out.

When I begin thinking about thethat that is coming up this afternoon, let that become this.

When I only do this, I am whole-heartedly receptive to the still small Voice speaking to me all through the day.

While I was walking, this essay kept going through my mind.
Then, I said to myself, OK, get back to walking and focusing on this, stepping through the corridors, letting that essay go.

Now is the only time there is.

Be here now.

I am going directly home after finishing my walk, and then the that of writing this down will become the this of the moment.

And, now, at home, sitting on my couch, I listen to this Voice and write this essay.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
(William Wordsworth, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.”)

As your heart is the Source of your rue Self, your thoughts, once removed from those of the ego-mind are the expression and extension of your true Self.  (A Course of Love:  The Treatises, 2.4)

My Heart Leaps Up When I Experience Singularity

While driving to Michigan on the Sunday following our Friday Writing Class, where, among other things, we read William Wordsworth’s poem, “My heart Leaps up,” I “just happened” to come across this account of an ADC (After Death Communication) in “Hello from Heaven” by Bill and Judy Guggenheim.

Victoria is a homemaker in Manitoba, Canada.  Her husband and she shared this wonderful symbolic ADC 15 years after their daughter, Gail, died in an automobile accident at age 19:

Last year we went to The Compassionate Friends picnic.  It was a bright, sunny day without a cloud in the sky.  At the end of the picnic, we all released helium balloons, and to ours I attached a note to Gail from all of us.  The last line said, “Wishing you lots of rainbows, Sweetheart.”  Then off it went into the atmosphere.  

As we were leaving the park, we looked at the clear blue sky, and there was a rainbow from horizon to horizon!  My husband and I looked at each other, and I said, “Gail got our message and is sending one back to us!”  

The park is about twenty-two miles from our home, and that rainbow followed us all the way!  As we got back into town, my husband said, “Take a look, honey!”  It had become a gorgeous double rainbow!  We stood beside the car holding hands just looking at the sky.

My Heart Leaps Up
William Wordsworth
My heart leaps up when I behold 
   A rainbow in the sky:
 
So was it when my life began; 
So is it now I am a man; 
So be it when I shall grow old, 
   Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.


Experiencing
singularity, my heart
leaps up!  Thank you, God.