I will start with the last sentence in your e-mail: I really would like to believe that I’ve not wasted my life chasing illusions.
Well, you have.
Just as I wrote that sentence, this poem flashed into my mind.
LYING IN A HAMMOCK
AT WILLIAM DUFFY’S
FARM IN PINE ISLAND,
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
Now, I am very excited about this flash because it shows me a way to answer your question. In respect to the poem, let me establish that there are two states of mind, one is the peace of God, and that is the only one real, and the other is the state of mind of conflict, ruled by the ego, having no source in reality, being completely unreal, an illusion.
Now, the poet lying in the hammock is experiencing the peace of God and thereby, seeing only this reflection in whatever his eyes light upon, including horseshit. Seeing the reflection of the peace of God does, indeed, light up everything you see. In the last line is the recognition that he has spent most of his life experiencing the conflict of his ego-centered life, thereby seeing only his projections, making his illusory, wasted life.
Since I am in the direct experience of the peace of God, right now, sitting here writing, I am in the state of mind receptive to the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit. That’s what I heard when the poem flashed into my mind.
It is quite possible for you reading this right now to join with me, momentarily bypassing, forgiving, your ego state of mind, the peace of God, and in that moment your skepticism would vanish as you melted into the peace of God.
But the chances are good that your skeptical state of mind interfered with the experience of the true state of mind. There is no way then, that I can convince you of the validity of my experience. Imagine that I am floating in the ocean near the shore, and you are standing on a low cliff looking down and asking me what the water is like. No matter the metaphors I might use to convey to you the temperature of the water, you could only know by jumping in. Your wanting to know on your conceptual terms prevents you from the experience.
Jump into the lessons of The Course in Miracles with little willingness and trust and ask for help to experience the peace of God.
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
Lesson 1: Nothing I see means anything.