Saturday, December 22, 2007

God's Word

This little ditty came to me this morning after reading "What Am I?" in the Workbook of Jesus' unworldly masterpiece, A Course in Miracles.

God's Word

You are My Son.
You and I are One.
On earth it's done,
as in Heaven.
And now have fun.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Prose and Poetry in A Course in Miracles

A Course in Miracles, Jesus’ unworldly masterpiece, provides us with the offering to train our minds, systematically, to undo, by forgiveness, the dream of the false self and come into the direct awareness of our true Self.

While reading the sentences and paragraphs of the Text and doing the lessons in the workbook, we become aware of the perfect blend of medium and message, structure and content, sound and sense. For example, just look again at the Introduction.

This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

This is a precise summary of 31 Chapters, 365 Lessons, and 29 sections of A Manual for Teachers, and it is only the beginning, simply and profoundly, an introduction.

In the regularly published version of the Course, the entire book appears to be in prose, although extraordinary poetic prose. What is astonishing is that Jesus makes a dramatic and clear shift from prose to poetry in both the Text and the Workbook. It is almost impossible to see this in the prose version. A close study by my friend, Steve Russell, reveals that the shift occurs in Chapter 26 of the Text, and in Lesson 98 of the Workbook. Thereafter, Chapters 26 through 31 and Lessons 98 through 365 are in blank verse, the verse that Shakespeare used for 80% of the lines of his 37 plays. Blank verse is a form of poetic meter called iambic pentameter. An iamb consists of two syllables, the stress on the second syllable, for example, chris TINE. Pentameter means five sets of iambs, or ten syllables. It is called blank verse because it is a form of verse that does not rhyme. (The term used for Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets, for example, is iambic pentameter because they do follow a definite rhyme scheme.)

In Chapter 26, incidentally entitled, The Transition, Jesus makes the shift. In Section VII, The Laws of Healing, appears His last prose paragraph of the Text.

This is a course in miracles. As such, the laws of healing must be understood before the purpose of the course can be accomplished. Let us review the principles that we have covered, and arrange them in a way that summarizes all that must occur for healing to be possible. For when it once is possible it must occur.

The next paragraph, and all subsequent paragraphs in the Text, are aligned on the pages in blank verse.

All sickness comes from separation. When
the separation is denied, it goes.

For it is gone as soon as the idea

that brought it has been healed, and been replaced

by sanity. Sickness and sin are seen

as consequence and cause, in a relationship
kept hidden from awareness that it may
be carefully preserved from reason's light.

Do you hear it?

all SICK ness COMES from SEP ar A tion. WHEN
the SEP ar A tion IS de NIED, it GOES.

Now, Dear Reader, you can rhythmically read the rest of the stanza.

In the Workbook, Jesus uses blank verse for the first time for an entire lesson in Lesson 98, I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation, and for every lesson, thereafter. (For some reason, Lesson 78, Let miracles replace all grievances, suddenly appears completely in blank verse.)

While pondering Jesus’ shift into blank verse, I found a sentence coming into my mind from Lesson 336:

For sights
and sounds, at best, can serve but to recall

the memory that lies beyond them all.

This is a perfect blend of sound and sense. As far as sense, the sentence reminds me that the highest level of perception simply serves to evoke the memory of God. It does not serve to make a better dream. When we learn through the mind training to undo the dreams of the false self, all we are ever doing is living in anticipation of remembering God, our natural inheritance. This phrase also comes to mind from today’s Lesson 340.

I was born into this world but to achieve this day.

I am here only to learn to see through the eyes of Christ, remembering God. The highest function that sights and sounds serve is to elicit this inherent, abiding memory of God.

As far as sound, the rhythm of Jesus’ poetry evokes His memory.

My heart is beating in the peace of God. (Lesson 267 , Title)

Just listen.

Find your pulse in your neck or on your wrist. Simultaneous with each beat of your pulse, say HEART, BEAT, IN, PEACE, GOD.

Now say the sentence aloud, filling in between the beats with my, is, ing, the, of.

Now, all together.

my HEART is BEAT ing IN the PEACE of GOD.

Try this one.

The hush of heaven holds my heart today. (Lesson 286, Title )

And finally.

and SOUNDS, at BEST, can SERVE but TO re CALL

Simply reading Jesus’ poetry that aligns with the beating of your heart can transport you beyond this world by remembering God.

As far as sights, look at this passage from What is a Miracle?

Miracles fall like drops of healing rain

from Heaven on a dry and dusty world,

where starved and thirsty creatures come to die.

Now they have water. Now the world is green.
And everywhere the signs of life spring up,
to show that what is born can never die,

for what has life has immortality.

(Paragraph 5)

I am so grateful to my friend, Steve Russell, who gives us a much more thorough explanation of the shift in the Introduction to his book, The Rhythm and Reason of Reality. He shows us precisely where Jesus makes the transitions from prose to poetry in the Text and in the Workbook.

He told me some time ago, that he found himself hearing the iambic pattern while studying the Course, and then he, systematically, began to examine the entire prose version by sitting down at a computer with a CD of the Course, reading each paragraph aloud. I realize now that with his musician’s highly-trained ear, he was able to listen for the ten beats in the prose paragraphs, and then he hit the Enter key, and resume reading the next line, and much to his joy he saw the pages fill up with sheer poetry, paragraphs of prose transforming into stanzas of blank verse.

I invite you now to take a look at Steve Russell’s wonderful book, a gift to us all.
Click Here:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Colors of Christmas

I am writing this in late November, roughly 30 days before winter officially begins on December 22, the winter solstice. Last night, my wife, Christine, and I had a bonfire, probably the last one of the year before it turns too cold, inviting friends over to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. In a way, it was really quite primitive, sitting around the fire, huddled against the chilly night, surrounded by evergreen trees, listening to the wind gusting through the trees. We were confident that, although it was getting darker and colder every day, there would be a spring, and in six months it would be lighter and warmer.

It did bring to mind, though, our ancient ancestors, the Neolithic farmers, sitting around fires thousands of years ago. For them, though, it was quite different, because they huddled in fear, having observed that the sun was sinking below the horizon much earlier each night and returning much later each morning. What if the sun no longer came up? They were afraid that the sun might disappear completely, leaving only the darkness and the permanent cold. Their fears increased as they neared the winter solstice. From vast experience and keen observation they knew of the movement of the sun across the sky, knowing that it would be much darker before it became lighter, but what if it stayed completely dark this time? Motivated by magical beliefs and superstition, they performed rituals to ensure that the sun would be reborn this time. Over the centuries, their rituals seemed to work because during the longest night and shortest day of the year, the sun did, indeed, stop its southerly journey and begin heading north. That is the meaning of the word solstice, from the Latin solstitium, sol meaning sun, and sistere, meaning “to stand still.” The days gradually became longer and the nights shorter for the next six months, until the summer solstice when the sun stood still, again, and then began its journey south.

Early man’s superstition triggered his rituals, encouraging the rebirth of the sun. Superstition shares the same Latin root as solstice, sistere, meaning “to stand,” in this case the prefix super means “to stand over.” Early man thought that perhaps his magical rituals would enable him to stand beyond, or over, the events, having a positive effect, encouraging the rebirth of the sun. Through the centuries these rituals became ceremonies involving the colors red and green, symbolizing the fertility of the earth. People gathered wreaths and holly with its red berries and evergreen boughs and ivy and mistletoe and built fires, and these practices were carried on in various forms by the Greeks and early Christians and Romans and Celts and other cultures throughout the world.

And now it is necessary to account, briefly, for the connection between the winter solstice and the birth of Jesus and Christmas celebrations. December 25 was set four hundred years after the birth of Jesus. Church Fathers, having no exact reference of Jesus’ birthday, borrowed a festival the Romans celebrated, called the Birth of the Unconquered Sun, declared to fall on December 25 by Emperor Aurelian in 270 AD. Our Neolithic ancestors would see the connection, having prayed that their sun conquer the night, again.

Today, although we have long forgotten the superstitious reasons for the colors, we have green and red candles and Christmas trees lights and bulbs and decorations and Yule logs and gifts wrapped in red and green paper and ribbons and bows and Christmas wreaths and holly and mistletoe and candy canes and Christmas cards and stockings, and we wear red and green sweaters and shirts and blouses and pants and skirts and scarves and earmuffs and mittens because these are the colors of rebirth.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I Know About Forgiveness, I Learned from Jesus

Yesterday, I read in the current issue of the AARP Bulletin a column entitled, "What I really know..." This brief article described an incident that occurred in a department store at Christmas time when a long line of children was waiting to see Santa, and a boy emerged from an elevator in a wheelchair pushed by his grandfather, and the children one by one offered to let the boy go in front of them in line. Apparently, this story has something to do with forgiveness, but what caught my eye at the end of the column was this:

YOUR TURN! Tell us what you really know about forgiveness in 400 words or less and submit it by e-mail to AARP.

This is what I submitted, coming in at 400 words.

What I know about forgiveness I learned from Jesus. He implored from the cross:

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Luke 23: 34

He was referring to the people and the rulers and the soldiers, asking that they be forgiven because they were dreaming, living falsely in a world they made up, thinking they were bodies, punishing another body, not realizing that they were as God created them, children of God, their spirits created by God.

For a moment in His suffering, Jesus also forgot His heritage as God’s Son. That’s why He cried out:

My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Mark 15: 34

This cry was met with silence because God did not forsake him, knowing not of this world; Jesus forsook His true identity in His forgetting. This was simply a mistake, not a sin.

Yet, soon after, He remembered His true identity, saying:

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Luke 23: 46

He is proclaiming that the will of God is now all He wants to follow, not His false will, not mine, but Thine.

Finally, after His resurrection, He says to His followers on the way to Emmaus that He fulfilled the prophecy by resurrecting:

Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
Luke 24: 46

True forgiveness is the recognition that you are as God created you, not as you dream yourself to be.

Today, Jesus is alive and well, giving us His unworldly masterpiece,
A Course in Miracles, dictating it over a seven-year period (1965-1972) to Helen Schucman, a psychologist at Columbia University. Believing in the reality of the body in the dream and forgetting your Source as the Son of God is simply a mistake, albeit a mistake with grave consequences, and recognizing this mistake is called forgiveness, as expressed in this passage from Jesus’ Course:

Father, I was mistaken in myself,
because I failed to realize the Source
from which I came. I have not left that Source

to enter in a body and to die.

My holiness remains a part of me,

as I am part of You. And my mistakes

about myself are dreams. I let them go

today. And I stand ready to receive

Your Word alone for what I really am.

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 228

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When Words Spark on the Page: Catching Reflections of My True Self

My friend, Lucy, knowing that I love to read Emerson, e-mailed me a link to his address delivered to the senior class of the Harvard Divinity School on Sunday evening, July 15, 1838. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), the kindred spirit of Teachers of A Course in Miracles, wrote essays of poetic prose that come to us from across the generations, expressing the truth of who we are, the holy Sons of God.

Before reading the address on the internet, I was curious to see if I had read it as a sophomore at Kalamazoo College in the fall of 1960, when I took an American Literature class, my first class as a recently-declared English major. Over the years through all the moves, I kept a copy of one of the texts for that class, The Selected writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, (Modern Library Edition, 1950). This precious, dog-eared book has weathered the years, the pages browning at the edges.

Sure enough, a few paragraphs into the essay, I saw the first faint pencil under-linings made by me as a nineteen-year-old kid. I was amazed that he even read the entire essay, thirty-four paragraphs spread over seventeen pages. As I leafed through the pages, I was astonished at what he had thought significant. I could not believe that the passages that he underlined, asterisked, and circled still stood out as highly significant to me today, almost fifty years later. I only remember a young, lean athlete with a crew cut, five feet nine inches tall, 165 pounds primarily concerned with playing football, running track, his physical conditioning, and delighting in the delicious cafeteria food that was dished out generously with an “all you can eat” policy. This was two years before foreign study in France, two years before his first serious romantic relationship (ending with a broken heart), and three years before graduation.

Before I take a look at the sparks that he saw in the words and phrases and sentences of Emerson’s address, I want to outline briefly what Emerson was expressing in his address. He tips his hand in the third word of the first sentence, “refulgent.”

In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life.

It means “shining brilliantly” from the Latin refulgere, “ to shine back, reflect.” Emerson is seeing a reflection of his own bright mind. He is seeing through the eyes of Christ, standing before the seniors who invited him to speak, experiencing the light of his true Self.

This is one way Jesus expresses it in His Course in Miracles.

The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects. And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came. W-p.II.249:5-7

And here is another.

In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. T-14.IX.5

And now let us enjoy what Emerson sees all around him in his magnificent first paragraph.

In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life. The grass grows, the buds burst, the meadow is spotted with fire and gold in the tint of flowers. The air is full of birds, and sweet with the breath of the pine, the balm-of-Gilead, and the new hay. Night brings no gloom to the heart with its welcome shade. Through the transparent darkness the stars pour their almost spiritual rays. Man under them seems a young child, and his huge globe a toy. The cool night bathes the world as with a river, and prepares his eyes again for the crimson dawn. The mystery of nature was never displayed more happily. The corn and the wine have been freely dealt to all creatures, and the never-broken silence with which the old bounty goes forward, has not yielded yet one word of explanation. One is constrained to respect the perfection of this world, in which our senses converse. How wide; how rich; what invitation from every property it gives to every faculty of man! In its fruitful soils; in its navigable sea; in its mountains of metal and stone; in its forests of all woods; in its animals; in its chemical ingredients; in the powers and path of light, heat, attraction, and life, it is well worth the pith and heart of great men to subdue and enjoy it. The planters, the mechanics, the inventors, the astronomers, the builders of cities, and the captains, history delights to honor. (To read Emerson's essay in its entirety, click on the link at the end of this post).

But, and Emerson does begin his second paragraph with a “But,” because he recognizes that, although he is seeing a bright reflection of his Self, the members of his audience are most likely seeing only a projection of the self, a small speck of their mind that has no source in reality, a small part that serves as an instrument to interpret the world in which our senses converse. But when their minds open to the state of mind of the peace of God, when they experience themselves as created by God, then the mind opens. Thus, he begins his second paragraph in this way.

But when the mind opens, and reveals the laws which traverse the universe, and make things what they are, then shrinks the great world at once into a mere illustration and fable of this mind. What am I? and What is? asks the human spirit with a curiosity new-kindled, but never to be quenched.

In this opening of the mind, man can recognize this huge globe a toy, and fable of the mind, simply the result of a small part of his mind that is projecting, interpreting the world with the senses.

In the third paragraph, he goes on to amplify what he means by the mind opening, revealing the laws which traverse the universe, beginning with this sentence.

A more secret, sweet, and overpowering beauty appears to man when his heart and mind open to the sentiment of virtue.

“Sentiment” comes from the Latin, sentire, meaning “to feel.” “Virtue” comes from the Latin virtus, meaning “worth.” When a man feels his worth as the son of God, that he is truly as God created him, his instruction begins.

Then he is instructed in what is above him. He learns that his being is without bound; that, to the good, to the perfect, he is born, low as he now lies in evil and weakness. That which he venerates is still his own, though he has not realized it yet. He ought.

Even though man is on a journey lying in evil and weakness, he can, now, recognize that he is virtue, that his is light.

And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came.

He knows the sense of that grand word, though his analysis fails entirely to render account of it. When in innocency, or when by intellectual perception, he attains to say, — `I love the Right; Truth is beautiful within and without, forevermore. Virtue, I am thine: save me: use me: thee will I serve, day and night, in great, in small, that I may be not virtuous, but virtue;' — then is the end of the creation answered, and God is well pleased.

Within this context, this point of view, Emerson goes on to warn the seniors who are about to graduate from divinity school of two defects of traditional Christianity.

The first:

In this point of view we become very sensible of the first defect of historical Christianity. Historical Christianity has fallen into the error that corrupts all attempts to communicate religion. As it appears to us, and as it has appeared for ages, it is not the doctrine of the soul, but an exaggeration of the personal, the positive, the ritual. It has dwelt, it dwells, with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus. The soul knows no persons.

The second defect of the traditionary and limited way of using the mind of Christ is a consequence of the first; this, namely; that the Moral Nature, that Law of laws, whose revelations introduce greatness, — yea, God himself, into the open soul, is not explored as the fountain of the established teaching in society. Men have come to speak of the revelation as somewhat long ago given and done, as if God were dead. The injury to faith throttles the preacher; and the goodliest of institutions becomes an uncertain and inarticulate voice.

Now we can see why Emerson was objectionable to so many clergymen that the officers of the School disallowed responsibility of his address. Nearly thirty years passed before Emerson was invited again to speak at Harvard. However, Brooks Atkinson noted in his Introduction to Emerson’s Selected Writings:

Not everyone understood what he was talking about, or approved. Young people seemed to follow him more easily than their elders. A Boston attorney said Emerson’s lectures are utterly meaningless to me, but my daughters, aged 15 and 17, understand them thoroughly.”

With this context established, I can now turn to a sampling of the under-linings of my young self as he noted the particular words and phrases and sentences that caught his eye, sparking from the pages.

Here is the first.

The sentiment of virtue is a reverence and delight in the presence of certain divine laws. It perceives that this homely game of life we play, covers, under what seem foolish details, principles that astonish.

And a couple of pages later.

So much benevolence as a man hath, so much life hath he. For all things proceed out of this same spirit, which is differently named love, justice, temperance, in its different applications, just as the ocean receives different names on the several shores which it washes.

This sentence deserved a circle.

Life is comic or pitiful, as soon as the high ends of being fade out of sight, and man becomes near-sighted, and can only attend to what addresses the senses.

This passage was circled and asterisked.

Alone in all history, Jesus estimated the greatness of man. One man was true to what is in you and me. He saw that God incarnates himself in man, and evermore goes forth anew to take possession of his world. He said, in this jubilee of sublime emotion, `I am divine. Through me, God acts; through me, speaks. Would you see God, see me; or, see thee, when thou also thinkest as I now think.'

These lines drew under-linings and and circles.

The spirit only can teach. Not any profane man, not any sensual, not any liar, not any slave can teach, but only he can give, who has; he only can create, who is. The man on whom the soul descends, through whom the soul speaks, alone can teach. Courage, piety, love, wisdom, can teach; and every man can open his door to these angels, and they shall bring him the gift of tongues.

Finally, he circled God is.

It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake.

As I said above, when I perused the under-linings throughout the essay, my first thought was astonishment, but my second was why be astonished? Since we are walking around in the world, but not of the world; since we are as God created us; since we are the light of the world, it is the most natural thing in the world to experience light sparking.

Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalm 82:6)

It is inevitable that our Godliness break through, that we see sparks, that we see our light reflected, that the thin veil part between our self and our Self, that we experience the holy instant.

In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been. Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted. Nothing has changed. Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside.

In the holy instant, in which you see your Self as bright with freedom, you will remember God. For remembering Him is to remember freedom.

During the time I was writing this essay Peg, my musician friend, came up to me, eager to tell me about her recent experience. She said that the other afternoon, while listening to music in her apartment, she remembered a powerful experience she had in college while playing in the school orchestra.

When I was in college, I had an undeniable experience of God while performing with our orchestra. We were playing Shostakovich's 5th symphony. During the slow (Largo) movement, I became aware of a moment of intense focus, where everyone in the hall, performers and audience alike, was completely joined in the event. I was barely breathing. It seemed as though the performance would fall apart, and yet it felt that we were playing perfectly. I could hear every part, and the music was gorgeous! There was nothing else happening at that moment -- just the music and everyone's experience of it. At that time, I called this an experience of extreme intensity. Now, I think it's more accurate to call this a holy instant, simply a personal experience of God.

The reason she was so eager to tell me of this holy instant is because, in the same moment, she had thought of me reading Emerson, knowing that I probably had similar experiences. I looked at her in utter amazement and said to her, "Yes. I am writing about it right now!"

Again, on the one hand, I am truly amazed; on the other, this communication, this communion, is the most natural thing in the world, joining with your brother who is also in the world but not of it.

That Peg and the young guy experienced these sparks demonstrates the inevitability of recognizing our birthright.

It is certain because it is impossible.

This motto is one of the first things you see when you cross the threshold into the lobby of Endeavor Academy. It is certain that you are as God created you because it (what you have made of yourself) is impossible.

It does not surprise, nor astonish me, to remember that Kalamazoo College’s official motto is Lux esto, “Let there be light.”

Here is today’s lesson.

The Son of God is my Identity.

My Self is holy beyond all the thoughts

of holiness of which I now conceive.

Its shimmering and perfect purity

is far more brilliant than is any light

that I have ever looked upon. Its love

is limitless, with an intensity

that holds all things within it, in the calm

of quiet certainty. Its strength comes not

from burning impulses which move the world,

but from the boundless Love of God Himself.
How far beyond this world my Self must be,
and yet how near to me and close to God!

Father, You know my true Identity.
Reveal It now to me who am Your Son,

that I may waken to the truth in You,
and know that Heaven is restored to me.

There is a plan.

To read Emerson's address, click here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Sleeping Dream and Waking Up

Last night I had this remarkable dream.

I am at some sort of a conference, and then we are leaving. I am riding in a car with Ramona and Monty, Monty’s driving. Suddenly, he drives off the road, I mean really off the road, and we are in the air looking down at the ground a couple of miles away. Somehow we have become separated from the car and we are slowly floating to the earth.

The thing is there is absolutely no fear, no apprehension, we are just falling to the end of this particular existence.

I did not experience the impact of hitting the ground; the next thing is that I am walking around looking for Monty and Ramona, and I run into Ramona and we are so happy to see each other, and she says, “Isn’t that amazing, there are no regrets.” Then we run into Monty, happily embracing.

Then I look around and see other people in the same situation, and there is a sense that we are gathering for whatever is next, and there is only joy.

I am writing this the morning after the dream. After reading today’s lesson, Now will I seek and find the peace of God, (Lesson 230) I decide to open the Text at random and read a section. I opened to The Temple of the Holy Spirit. (T-20.VI) “At random”. . . highly unlikely. These sentences, in particular, caught my attention, still basking in the memory of the dream.

Then lay aside the body and quietly transcend it, rising to welcome what you really want. And from His holy temple, look you not back on what you have awakened from. For no illusions can attract the mind that has transcended them, and left them far behind. (9:5-7)

Ramona’s comment, “Isn’t that amazing, there are no regrets” is echoed in this phrase, look you not back on what you have awakened from.

The fact that we are walking around in bodies at the end of the dream reminds me that we are in the world but not of the world. At every moment in this world, now, we have an opportunity to remember the truth of who we are, the holy Sons of God, even though we are tempted to believe that the body is real. The moment of remembering is the holy instant, and in this moment we are free to look for each other with the eyes of Christ and see in our brother’s face the face of Christ.

You who are learning this may still be fearful, but you are not immobilized. The holy instant is of greater value now to you than its unholy seeming counterpart, and you have learned you really want but one. This is no time for sadness. Perhaps confusion, but hardly discouragement. 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? (T-20.VI.12)

Finally, the dream is especially powerful because of the irony that it is a fall into eternity, unlike Adam’s fall to earth, as described in elementary school primers,

“In Adam’s fall,
we sinned all.”

. . .Then I look around and see other people in the same situation, and there is a sense that we are gathering for whatever is next, and there is only joy.

The song of rejoicing is the call
to all the world that freedom is returned,

that time is almost over, and God’s Son

has but an instant more to wait until

his Father is remembered, dreams are done,

and only Heaven now exists at all.
W-p11.2. What is Salvation? 5:2

Friday, July 13, 2007

If Your Brothers Ask You For Something "Outrageous," Do IT.

The other day I came across this very puzzling opening sentence of a paragraph in Chapter 12, Section III, The Investment in Reality in Jesus’ Course in Miracles.

Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something "outrageous," do it because it does not matter. T-12.111.4:1

I find this sentence puzzling because, certainly, my brothers often do ask for what, at the moment, seems outrageous, meaning “to exceed the bounds of what is reasonable, or expected.” So, according to this sentence, in the face of these unreasonable requests, I am supposed to be just a “patsy” and say “Yes” no matter what? I should just walk around being passive, a victim of their whims? My refusal would be somehow wrong? And if it does not matter, why do it in the first place?

(Dear Reader, I suggest that you bring to mind the most recent "outrageous" brother request).

I kept re-reading the paragraph and slowly began to catch a glimpse of Jesus’ teaching.

Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. 4:2

There it is. Understanding the sentence depends on the point of reference for the second “it,” it does not matter. It does not matter because your brother is in the wrong state of mind. And, the point is, if it does matter to you, then you, too, are in the wrong state of mind. This “it” refers to the false world projected by the split mind. This split mind, having no source in reality, projects a world of fear; this is the illusion, the dream, the world made up by an ego that is a substitute for the Kingdom of Heaven.

So, if I automatically refuse, it means that for a split-second I, too, have identified with “it,” and because I am not in my right mind, I am in lack. That is why Jesus begins this section with this paragraph, establishing a context for what is to follow.

I once asked you to sell all you have and give to the poor and follow me. This is what I meant: If you have no investment in anything in this world, you can teach the poor where their treasure is. The poor are merely those who have invested wrongly, and they are poor indeed! Because they are in need it is given you to help them, since you are among them. Consider how perfectly your lesson would be learned if you were unwilling to share their poverty. For poverty is lack, and there is but one lack since there is but one need. T-12.111.1

There. If my response to my brother’s request is an automatic outrage, then I have impoverished myself, and therefore, reinforced his poverty. Now, back to the third sentence of the paragraph I began with.

It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. Why would you insist in denying him? For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both. 4:3-5

Now, for a moment I remember, and it’s always a matter of remembering and forgetting, that it is all going on in my mind, and it all depends on what state of mind I am in. If I am experiencing my split mind, I cannot join with my brother, and I see him as impoverished. If, however, I am in my whole mind, the state of mind of the peace of God, this is salvation for both of us, and I will automatically offer to him this gift of salvation.

Poverty is of the ego, and never of God. No “outrageous” requests can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else. 4:7,8

Let’s look at the complete sentence, again:

Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something “outrageous,” do it because it does not matter.

I realize that the once puzzling sentence comes together now when I understand that the entire sentence pivots on the first “it,” do IT because it does not matter. IT stands for, Herein lies the peace of God, and because of that recognition, I know that:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.


“Will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” and you have said, “I know what I am and I accept my own inheritance.”

I am reminded of something I overheard years ago in a mall when two women walked by and one said to the other, “Well, it’s a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” When I am in my right mind, “it” does not matter because I know the truth of what I am, the Holy Son of God. The thing to watch for is, even if I am in my right mind, how quickly, automatically, habitually, unconsciously I can be drawn into split mind. Vigilance is all. Recognition. Recognize what does not matter. This is doing IT.

IT is salvation, meaning to step back for a moment, ask for help, and experience the truth of what I am, and what my brother is, the holy Sons of God. It also helps me to remember that he is also asking for salvation.

He is asking for salvation, as you are. Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. 4:6, 5:1,2

IT is the heart of A Course in Miracles, and IT is expressed in a variety of ways, as Atonement, Self, Identity, the Holy Instant, and Forgiveness.

Atonement remedies the strange idea
that it is possible to doubt yourself,

and be unsure of what you really are.

This is the depth of madness. Yet it is

the universal question of the world.

What does this mean except the world is mad?

Why share its madness in the sad belief

that what is universal here is true?

Nothing the world believes is true.
It is
a place whose purpose is to be a home
where those who claim they do not know themselves
can come to question what it is they are.
And they will come again until the time

Atonement is accepted, and they learn

it is impossible to doubt yourself,

and not to be aware of what you are.


If you will recognize that all the attack you perceive is in your own mind and nowhere else, you will at last have placed its source, and where it begins it must end. For in this same place also lies salvation. The altar of God where Christ abideth is there. You have defiled the altar, but not the world. Yet Christ has placed the Atonement on the altar for you. Bring your perceptions of the world to this altar, for it is the altar to truth. There you will see your vision changed, and there you will learn to see truly. From this place, where God and his Son dwell in peace and where you are welcome, you will look out in peace and behold the world truly. Yet to find the place, you must relinquish your investment in the world as you project it, allowing the Holy Spirit to extend the real world to you from the altar of God. T-12.111.10

Once I shift into a state of Oneness, I experience my Self and offer IT to my brother, and in our joining is the experience of what is Real.

My holy brother, think of this awhile:
The world you see does nothing. It has no

effects at all. It merely represents

your thoughts. And it will change entirely

as you elect to change your mind, and choose

the joy of God as what you really want.

Your Self is radiant in this holy joy,

unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable,

forever and forever. And would you

deny a little corner of your mind

its own inheritance, and keep it as

a hospital for pain; a sickly place

where living things must come at last to die?

And so again we make the only choice

that ever can be made; we choose between
illusions and the truth, or pain and joy,
or hell and Heaven. Let our gratitude

unto our Teacher fill our hearts, as we

are free to choose our joy instead of pain,

our holiness in place of sin, the peace

of God instead of conflict, and the light

of Heaven for the darkness of the world.


And here IT is expressed as Identity.

Deny your own Identity, and you
will not escape the madness which induced

this weird, unnatural and ghostly thought

that mocks creation and that laughs at God.

Deny your own Identity, and you

assail the universe alone, without

a friend, a tiny particle of dust

against the legions of your enemies.

Deny your own Identity, and look

on evil, sin and death, and watch despair

snatch from your fingers every scrap of hope,

leaving you nothing but the wish to die.

Yet what is it except a game you play

in which Identity can be denied?

You are as God created you. All else

but this one thing is folly to believe.

In this one thought is everyone set free.

In this one truth are all illusions gone.

In this one fact is sinlessness proclaimed

to be forever part of everything,

the central core of its existence and

its guarantee of immortality.


You experience IT by an action of your mind, shifting from illusion to truth, experiencing the Holy Instant.

Then is each instant which was slave to time
transformed into a holy instant, when

the light that was kept hidden in God's Son

is freed to bless the world. Now is he free,

and all his glory shines upon a world

made free with him, to share his holiness

Finally, and firstly and always, what is required is Forgiveness.

Be merciful today. The Son of God
deserves your mercy. It is he who asks

that you accept the way to freedom now.

Deny him not. His Father's Love for him

belongs to you. Your function here on earth

is only to forgive him, that you may

accept him back as your Identity.

He is as God created him. And you
are what he is. Forgive him now his sins,
and you will see that you are one with him.


Forgive, and you will see this differently.

These are words which give
you power over all events that seem
to have been given power over you.

You see them rightly when you hold these words

in full awareness, and do not forget

these words apply to everything you see

or any brother looks upon amiss.

W-pI.193.5:1, 6:3,4

Even though this is reasonable and clear in my mind, in the next moment, I will probably forget, and strike out again when I am given an opportunity by my brother to remember. In fact, while writing this essay for the past few days, I have often found myself outraged by brothers' requests, forgetting to see them as opportunities. But that’s all right. Even 3 out of 10 would not be a bad average, .300 is a solid average for a Big League baseball player. In perspective, Ted Williams, the Splendid Splinter, averaged .406 in 1941, and that record has lasted for 66 years.

So, here’s the pep talk.

Take it easy on yourself.
You have choice.
Step up to home plate.
Take your stance.
Ask for help.
Keep your eye on the ball.
Swing freely.
Remember where you are already standing,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's Your Decision: Either Old Experiences, Beliefs, Perceptions, or New Experiences, Beliefs, Perceptions

If you were completely honest with yourself, you would have to admit that no matter how much you have tried to put together a life, there are times when you say to yourself, “There’s something seriously wrong here, and there must be a better way.”

Fortunately for you, for all of us, not only is there a better way, but this way has been mapped out in a how-to-manual that appeared on this planet in 1975, A Course in Miracles. This unworldly masterpiece was scribed by Helen Schucman who heard an “internal voice,” Jesus’ voice, say to her on October 21, 1965, “This is a course in miracles, take notes.” For the next seven years, she dutifully transcribed the Text, Workbook, and Manual for Teachers. (Kenneth Wapnick, Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles, Foundation for A Course in Miracles, 1991, p. 199.)

You are in the fix you’re in because you faithfully followed the instructions of an unwritten manual, folklore passed down through the generations, teaching you that seeing is believing. You eagerly learned early on to trust as real what you see, hear, taste, smell and touch. Whatever was not sensed was unreal. This way of seeing seems completely natural.

Let’s test out this belief by being real specific. Let’s take a look at what is around us. I’ll go first.

I am sitting on my couch looking out of my window, gazing at the landscape bathed in the sunlight of a beautiful day in June. I close my eyes and make the decision that when I open them, I want to see only the objects before me.

I see the cylindrical, mesh bird feeder containing black sunflower seeds. A Cardinal alights and pecks at the seeds. I am reminded of an incident when I was 6 or 7, and a friend and I were shooting at birds with BB guns. We wounded a Blue Jay, and we were chasing it through the neighborhood, when an old lady came running out of her house, chastising us for killing birds, and we said it was a Blue Jay, and she immediately let us off the hook because that was OK by her, Blue Jays menaced other birds.

And other associations immediately flooded in. At that time, my mother, father, sister and I lived in a little village, Moorepark, Michigan—my parents owned a general store, and we lived in the back in one room separated from the store by a curtain; no running water, only well water from a pump, an outhouse in the back; we went to a one-room schoolhouse, grades K-8, one teacher, Mrs. Steininger; across the street was a gunsmith, Bergie Hughey, who also ran a one-pump gas station; my friend, Rudy, and I played in the fields and swamps all day, exploring and hunting frogs with bows and arrows.

Whew. Now, I am back from that trip down memory lane, and I am going to try it again. This time, I will close my eyes, and when I open them, I will make the decision to look at only the space between objects, wanting to see, in effect, only the air.

Now I am looking with soft eyes, in fact, I am not seeing as much as experiencing. Gazing in this manner, I find that my mind is peaceful, still, unoccupied, and tranquil. I am scanning what is before me, but I am not naming objects, and since I am not naming things, I am not flooded with associations. I am simply content; my mind is empty. When I do look at something, like a bird at the feeder, I experience only love. I continue gazing with soft eyes, becoming increasingly mellow, content, tranquil, loving, peaceful, unified and free. A tree branch, laden with green leaves, lifts and falls in the soft breeze, the leaves shimmering, the tops green and the undersides flashing gold.

While writing the draft of this essay, I did the exercises and then wrote about my experience, and at this point, I went so far out, losing all sense of being a body, fading into a state of consciousness of oneness, of light, so that what was inside my mind and what was outside were blended together. At this point, I just decided to stay there, and I put down my pen for the day.

Now I am back, and this passage comes to mind.

Beyond this world there is a world I want.
I choose to see that world instead of this,
for here is nothing that I really want.

Then close your eyes upon the world you see,
and in the silent darkness watch the lights

that are not of this world light one by one,
until where one begins another ends

loses all meaning as they blend in one.


This is seeing through the eyes of Christ.

The present is the only time there is.
And so today, this instant, now, we come

to look upon what is forever there;

not in our sight, but in the eyes of Christ.


The world fades easily away before
His sight. Its sounds grow dim.


There is a silence into which the world
can not intrude. There is an ancient peace

you carry in your heart and have not lost.


Now, Dear Reader, you try it.

First, close your eyes and decide when you open them that you will want to see only objects, name them, and let your mind be flooded with associations.

* * *

Thank you.

Now, close your eyes and decide when you open them that you will look only at the space between objects, wanting to see only the air, if you will, allowing your mind to be free.

* * *

Thank you.

If you managed to let it all go, you may find it difficult to come back to reading this essay. Good!

Take your time.

What you may have experienced is a paradox, that seeing and naming objects now seems unreal; while looking at the air seems more Real.

A “paradox” is defined as “a situation that seems to be absurd or contradictory, but in fact may be true.” It comes from the Latin paradoxum, “contrary to opinion,” from dokein, meaning “to think.”

Here is the paradox that underlies
the making of the world. This world is not

the Will of God, and so it is not real.


In the Course Jesus teachers you to recognize that what you unconsciously, habitually, take for granted is not so. And in this recognition is an opportunity to experience something else, that which is Real.

You do not seem to doubt the world you see. You do not really question what is shown you through the body's eyes. Nor do you ask why you believe it, even though you learned
a long while since your senses do deceive.
That you believe them to the last detail

which they report is even stranger, when
you pause to recollect how frequently
they have been faulty witnesses indeed!

Why would you trust them so implicitly?

Why but because of underlying doubt,

which you would hide with show of certainty?


All along you have been trying with underlying doubt to make the unreal, objective world, Real, thereby preventing yourself from experiencing what is Real. That is why you are in the fix you’re in, and indeed, there is another way.

Complete abstraction is the natural condition of the mind.

“Abstraction” is defined as “a state in which one is deep in thought and not concentrating on the surroundings.” “Abstract” comes from the Latin abstrahere, meaning “to drag away.” Our objective world seems to be natural, but in fact, it is unnatural, and our natural condition is to be dragged away from the objective world, from our surroundings.

Complete abstraction is the natural
condition of the mind. But part of it

is now unnatural. It does not look

on everything as one. It sees instead

but fragments of the whole, for only thus

could it invent the partial world you see.

The purpose of all seeing is to show

you what you wish to see. All hearing but

brings to your mind the sounds it wants to hear.

Thus were specifics made.


. . . what you wish to see. Remember, in your practicing you closed your eyes and instructed yourself in what you wished to see. You have the power of decision to see either the unreal, or the Real. When you choose to see the unreal, you carve it out of unity.

You live by symbols. You have made up names
for everything you see. Each one becomes

a separate entity, identified

by its own name. By this you carve it out of unity.


Now, everything is in place for you to begin to experience a better way. The word “experience” comes from the Latin experiri, meaning “to try out.” You just “tried out” seeing objects. This experience of seeing leads to beliefs and beliefs lead to perception. For your entire life, objects have seemed Real, leading you to trust that seeing is believing. Then, a moment ago, you practiced seeing with soft eyes. This experience could lead you to seeing something more real than objects, and this can lead you to a belief in the Real beyond the objective world.

In effect, then, what you believe you do see. That is what I meant when I said, "Blessed are ye who have not seen and still believe," for those who believe in the resurrection will see it.

The good news is that you can begin, right now, to change your beliefs by having new experiences, resulting in new interpretations and new beliefs, leading to new perceptions.

Experience does teach.

This course is perfectly clear. If you do not see it clearly, it is because you are interpreting against it, and therefore do not believe it. And since belief determines perception, you do not perceive what it means and therefore do not accept it. Yet different experiences lead to different beliefs and experience does teach. I am leading you to a new kind of experience that you will become less and less willing to deny. Learning of Christ is easy, for to perceive with him involves no strain at all. His perceptions are your natural awareness, and it is only the distortions you introduce that tire you. Let the Christ in you interpret for you, and do not try to limit what you see by narrow little beliefs that are unworthy of God's Son. For until Christ comes into his own, the Son of God will see himself as Fatherless.

You no longer have to tire yourself out by maneuvering in your surroundings that have no source in Reality. You can be aware of new experiences that will lead to new beliefs and new perceptions.

You can practice by looking at the space between objects.

Finally, you are always looking into a mirror, what is first “inside” is then “outside.” You see what you decide to see, as the preceding exercise demonstrated. If you decide to see old beliefs projected out, you will see in your mirror an objective world. If you decide to see through the eyes of Christ, you will see the reflection of love and peace that is your natural inheritance.

This is the way Jesus expresses it in a sonnet.

This world you seem to live in is not home
to you. And somewhere in your mind you know
that this is true. A memory of home

keeps haunting you, as if there were a place

that called you to return, although you do

not recognize the voice, nor what it is

the voice reminds you of. Yet still you feel

an alien here, from somewhere all unknown.

Nothing so definite that you could say

with certainty you are an exile here.

Just a persistent feeling, sometimes not

more than a tiny throb, at other times

hardly remembered, actively dismissed,

but surely to return to mind again.


This is not your Home, but you can learn to experience Home here by deciding to see in a better way by looking through the eyes of Christ.

It is always your decision.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No-Mind is a Worldly Concept; the Holy Instant is an Unworldly Experience: A Savior's Dialectic

Philip Chard, a psychotherapist, writes a regular column, “Out of My Mind,” that appears in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His most recent article (May 22, 2007) is entitled, “Paying no mind to the ego can help reduce stresses.” He tells of a woman, Connie, an advanced student of meditation who can induce "no-mind," a state of consciousness in which one's sense of self temporarily fades or evaporates. Consequently, she experiences interludes when there is no discernible "me" in her awareness.

She was able to draw on this discipline when she was confronted by her boyfriend-turned-stalker.

Eyeball-to-eyeball with this bully, she intuitively used her spiritual training to remove her "self" from the confrontation.

"I stood there, got centered and entered a no-mind state," she recalled. "In any ego sense, I mostly disappeared."

This goon screamed at her and brandished his fist, but Connie remained steadfast in no-mind awareness. There was a tense pause until, inexplicably, he backed away, gave her an irritated but bewildered stare and then took off.

This appears to be a victory for Connie, and it seems that training in no-mind meditation offers protection from ego conflicts and bad things that happen in the world. This is a rather seductive account.

But before you begin searching for a meditation center in your area, I would invite you to take a hard look at the premises of this story. The word “premise” comes from the Latin praemissa, meaning “to set before.” A premise, then, is a proposition that forms the foundation of an argument. The foundation of her story is based on four main premises:

1. There is a world.
2. We are victims of the world.
3. There are other people out there.
4. My ego-personality is real.

Before I take on the premises one-by-one, let’s imagine that you are hearing the story by listening to Connie tell it as if she were having a sleeping dream. That’s right. You are sitting by her bed listening to her narrate the story deep in a sleeping dream.

“I am walking along a deserted street at night, and suddenly I run into my ex-boyfriend who has been stalking me. He begins yelling at me. ‘You are a horrible person. You treat me terribly. I am so disappointed.’ He raises his fist as if he’s going to strike me. I just stand there, entering into a no-mind state. He continues yelling, then he pauses, steps back, gives me a bewildered look, and runs away.”

Because you know that she is simply recounting a dream, the story does not have the impact and seduction that it might have once had. And, if we take it one step further, when Connie awakes from the dream, the events will quickly fade away into the nothingness from which they came.

As you listened to the narration of the dream, it was obvious that it was all going on only in her mind. As the center of the dream, all the images were seen through her eyes. She was peopling her world based on her past experiences. She was describing a world of time and space that existed only in her mind.

You may be catching a glimpse of a well-kept secret that there is absolutely no difference between a sleeping dream and a waking dream. If Connie were to wake up from her dream and see you sitting there, she is, in fact, not waking up at all; she is simply falling into another dream. Look at the parallels: Everything is going on only in her mind. She is peopling her world with images based on her past experiences. She is making up a world of time and space based on what she sees, hears, tastes, smells, and touches. And her basic premise is that seeing is believing. It seems that the waking dream is more real than the sleeping dream, but this is not so.

Now we are in a position to take a hard look at the premises of Chard’s article, and replace them with new premises based on the transformation of your mind.

1. There is a world.
New premise: There is no world out there separate from our image making.

2. We are victims of the world we see.
New premise: We cannot be victims of a world we made up in the first place, unless we choose to be.

3.There are other people out there.
New premise: There are not people out there, separate from the peopling I do in my own mind, projecting images.

4. My ego-personality is real.
New premise: My ego-personality is the dreamer of the dream, both sleeping and waking.

The only way to see the truth of these premises is to recognize that there is no difference between a sleeping and a waking dream. This recognition requires the experience of non-dreaming state of mind, a place in your mind where you experience the peace of God. It is quite possible to discover this state through the mind training provided by Jesus’ other-worldly masterpiece, A Course in Miracles.

Listen to Jesus describe dreams.

Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be, and that because you want it you see it. And while you see it you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realize that the emotions the dream produces must come from you. It is the figures in the dream and what they do that seem to make the dream. You do not realize that you are making them act out for you. In (sleeping) dreams these features are not obscure. You seem to waken, and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognize is that what caused the dream has not gone with it. Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. And what you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in (sleeping) dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, (This is the key—dreaming is a defense against experiencing the peace of God, your Reality as the truth of what you are). In your waking dreams, the special relationship is your determination to keep your hold on unreality, and to prevent yourself from waking. And while you see more value in sleeping (unreality) than in waking (Reality), you will not let go of it. T-18.5

This description by Jesus of the similarity of sleeping and waking dreams may still not be enough to convince you of the truth. It might be helpful to demonstrate exactly “how” it is that we dream.

Projection makes perception.

The word “projection” comes from the Latin, projectum, meaning “something thrown forward.” We throw an image-thought into the “world,” and then see it there. Perception comes from the Latin percipere, meaning “to seize completely”. So, what we decide to seize from what we “see out there” is that which we threw “out there” in the first place. It’s as if we are playing catch with ourselves. We throw a ball into the air and then we run under it and catch it. Throwing and receiving is like projecting and perceiving, and this happens so rapidly that we forget the connection. We go around and around in a causal loop, forgetting that we are the cause, and what we see is the effect. Our thoughts are the cause, and the "world" is the effect of our thoughts. That is why we can say there is no world, other than the world you see made up of your thought-images.

The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos. T-21.1

When you perceive through the eyes of the ego, you see chaos. When you look through the eyes of truth, you see with vision. That is what it means to change your mind. You can shift from the causal loop of perception to vision, when you ask for help to relinquish your images that are defending you from the peace of God. This vision is your inheritance because you are as God created you, His most Holy Son. And you are not alone. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to help you awaken from your dream.

Correction is for all who cannot see. To open the eyes of the blind is the Holy Spirit's mission, for he knows that they have not lost their vision, but merely sleep. He would awaken them from the sleep of forgetting to the remembering of God. Christ's eyes are open, and he will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept his vision as yours. T-12.V1.4:1-4

To look with vision rather than with ego eyes means to look through appearances since appearances are simply our thought-images projected out. Here is an analogy to convey what it means to say that you can see through and experience a reflection of your peaceful state of mind. Yesterday, on a bright summer morning, I was sitting on our deck reading the Course, and I came across these two sentences:

When the peace in you has been extended to encompass everyone, the Holy Spirit’s function here will be accomplished. What need is there for seeing then?

At that moment, experiencing gratitude and peace, I looked up and saw peace reflected because I was staring at the lush green of the pine boughs and the leaves of the lilac bushes and the trees, and it all appeared blurry, seeing everything as One. I was looking with soft eyes because I was, inadvertently, looking through the thick lenses of my reading glasses. This is what it means to look through appearances because I was not distinguishing one thing from another, naming this and that, thereby experiencing (seeing) the reflection of the peace of God. This is what it means to see with the vision of Christ.

The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In his sight the Son of God is perfect, and he longs to share his vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through him your Father calls his Son to remember. The awakening of his Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name. T-12.1V.4:5-10

When you have seen this real world, as you will surely do, you will remember Us. Yet you must learn the cost of sleeping, and refuse to pay it. Only then will you decide to awaken. And then the real world will spring to your sight, for Christ has never slept. He is waiting to be seen, for he has never lost sight of you. He looks quietly on the real world, which he would share with you because he knows of the Father's Love for him. And knowing this, he would give you what is yours. In perfect peace he waits for you at his Father's altar, holding out the Father's love to you in the quiet light of the Holy Spirit's blessing. For the Holy Spirit will lead everyone home to his Father, where Christ waits as his Self. T-12.V1. 5

And now with these premises firmly “set in front of our eyes,” we can take a look at Chard’s column with the eyes of Christ, engaging in a Savior’s dialectic. “Dialectic” comes from the Greek dialektike, meaning “the art of investigating truth through discussion.” In the following discussion, we are looking through the falsity of the illusion with the truth of Christ’s Vision.
In the following dialogue, Chard’s column is in italics.


When the ego state of mind seems real, it can be either stressful or peaceful. If it’s stressful, slipping into no-mind seems to be a peaceful alternative. It is, in fact, exchange, a way to reconcile the opposites. It is, in fact, a denial of the role you are playing in the dreaming of the dream.

Connie knows how it feels to mentally disappear.

An advanced student of meditation, she can induce "no-mind," a state of consciousness in which one's sense of self temporarily fades or evaporates. Consequently, she experiences interludes when there is no discernible "me" in her awareness.

The “self” that fades is the ego, and her awareness shifts away from stress to another ego-state, but Connie still remains in her dream because her awareness has not shifted to her only Real state of mind, her Christ Self, where she can see with vision.

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.

Resting in God is different than copping a moment of respite in no-mind awareness. For a moment, you seem to be not a victim of a world that seems real, while resting in God, on the other hand, is experiencing timelessness, the holy instant, an unworldly experience.

For many, that's a scary prospect, but non-meditators get a taste of no-mind when they are totally absorbed in an activity. At such moments, self-awareness dissipates, time slows and the boundary between me "in here" and a separate world "out there" blurs.

We have already established that there is no separate world out there.

The images you make cannot prevail
against what God Himself would have you be.
Be never fearful of temptation, then,
but see it as it is; another chance
to choose again, and let Christ's strength prevail
in every circumstance and every place
you raised an image of yourself before.

For what appears to hide the face of Christ
is powerless before His majesty,
and disappears before His holy sight.

No-mind is more than detachment. Imagine your identity as a drop of water and the rest of the universe as an ocean. When you experience no-mind, that drop (self) falls into the sea (all) and merges with an omnipresent unity.

This can be a helpful analogy, if you see that identity refers to the Self, as God created you, and that awareness of your Self is a holy instant, just as seeing with soft eyes shows us an omnipresent unity.

In the holy instant nothing happens that has not always been. Only the veil that has been drawn across reality is lifted. Nothing has changed. Yet the awareness of changelessness comes swiftly as the veil of time is pushed aside. No one who has not yet experienced the lifting of the veil, and felt himself drawn irresistibly into the light behind it, can have faith in love without fear. Yet the Holy Spirit gives you this faith, because He offered it to me (Jesus) and I accepted it. T-15.V1.6:1-6

In quiet listen to your Self today,
and let Him tell you God has never left
His Son, and you have never left your Self.

This state is certainly not no-mind; this is the holy instant.

In addition to furthering spiritual development, no-mind has practical applications, as Connie discovered in dramatic fashion.

Almost a year after breaking up with her boyfriend-turned-stalker, he confronted her in a potentially dangerous altercation. This misogynistic brute assailed her with a torrent of verbal abuse and physical intimidation.

Eyeball-to-eyeball with this bully, she intuitively used her spiritual training to remove her "self" from the confrontation.

"I stood there, got centered and entered a no-mind state," she recalled. "In any ego sense, I mostly disappeared."

This goon screamed at her and brandished his fist, but Connie remained steadfast in no-mind awareness. There was a tense pause until, inexplicably, he backed away, gave her an irritated but bewildered stare and then took off.

As dramatic as this confrontation is, it is crucial to remember that it is a dream sequence. Sinking into no-mind is a substitution for experiencing the Christ Mind, the eternal Self. The difference between the experiences of these mind states is about as subtle as the “b” in subtle because they feel quite similar. However, recognizing the different frames of reference is the key. The reference for the value of no-mind goes to the premises that there is a world, I can be a victim of this world, there are other people out there, and my ego is real. The reference for Christ Mind is that there is no world separate from my projected/perceived thought-images, I am not a victim of this world because I made it up, the other people are figures in my mind, and the ego personality has no source in Reality.

"Guys like him want to hurt your ego," she speculated. "Maybe when mine went away, he lost his target."

Like Connie, meditators sometimes employ no-mind consciousness to address real-world challenges. Because mental dysfunction is often tied to one's sense of self, loosening the ego's control can reduce emotional distress and alter vexatious interpersonal dynamics.

. . . real-world challenges. Real-world is an oxymoron.

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

We are not born with a defined identity. Instead, through years of interaction and social brainwashing, we acquire one that, while necessary, is largely contrived.

As philosopher Alan Watts pointed out, "Our precious 'self' is just an idea, useful and legitimate enough if seen for what it is, but not our real nature."

. . .useful. Yes, we can learn to utilize our dreams by forgiving them, by relinquishing them. In the moment of letting go, we can come to experience the truth of what we are. This requires open-mind, not no-mind.

How do the open-minded forgive? They have let go all things that would prevent forgiveness. They have in truth abandoned the world, and let it be restored to them in newness and in joy so glorious they could never have conceived of such a change. Nothing is now as it was formerly. Nothing but sparkles now which seemed so dull and lifeless before. And above all are all things welcoming, for threat is gone.

Recognizing the dream, the illusion, takes away the apparent threat, and in the moment, the awareness of something else can enter in, the peace of God.

No clouds remain to hide the face of Christ. Now is the goal achieved. Forgiveness is the final goal of the curriculum. It paves the way for what goes far beyond all learning. The curriculum makes no effort to exceed its legitimate goal. Forgiveness is its single aim, at which all learning ultimately converges. It is indeed enough. M-4.X.2

While not easily learned, the ability to enter no-mind awareness reduces one's identification with the ego. Consequently, this skill can be applied to many challenging ego-driven scenarios - interpersonal confrontations, managing stress, defusing anger, etc.

If we simply take “time out” in a no-mind state, we are still making the ego real. However, the practice of no-mind is valuable if it enables you to reduce the identification with your ego-state and replace it with the recognition of your Christ-Mind.

Philosopher Thomas Carlyle said the ego is "the source and summary of all faults and miseries." When that source is put in its proper place, those faults and miseries often diminish accordingly.

When it comes to the ego, less is clearly more.

It is never a matter or more or less; it’s always a matter of Real or unreal.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

An Essay Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of Lindbergh's Flight to Paris, May 20, 1927

Charles Lindbergh’s heroic solo transatlantic flight provides a prototypical example of utilizing the power of purpose to reach a destination. The first part of this essay demonstrates how the power of purpose enabled Lindbergh to reach his destination, defined as a place to which one is journeying. The second part elucidates how the power of single purpose enables you to realize your destiny, defined as your journey to God, awakening to the truth of what you are, the Holy Son of God.

Part 1. Reaching Your Destination

On May 20, 1927, at 7:30 am, Lindbergh, twenty-five years old, settled into the cockpit of his plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, to begin his preparations to takeoff down the runway of Roosevelt Field, New York, attempting to be the first man to make a solo transatlantic flight, ending in Paris.

His plane, made of fabric and wood, was small, fragile, and delicate, but heavy, weighing two and a half tons, carrying extra fuel in oversized tanks, its little tires bulging on the wet, clay runway.

His description of his cockpit captures the smallness of his plane as he faces the prospect of flying 3600 miles in 36 hours, alone. This is from his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Spirit of St. Louis.

I relax in my cockpit—this little box with fabric walls, in which I’m to ride across the ocean. Now, if all goes well, I won’t move from it for a day and a half, until I step out on French sod at the airport of Le Bourget. It’s a compact place to live, designed to fit around me so snugly that no ounce of weight or resistance is wasted. I can press both sides of the fuselage with partly outstretched elbows. The instrument board is an easy reach forward for my hand, and a thin rib on the roof is hollowed slightly to leave clearance for my helmet. There’s room enough, no more, no less; my cockpit has been tailored to me like a suit of clothes. The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953, p. 191

But there is no guarantee that the plane will even make it off the ground. These are the early days of aviation. After all, the Wright brothers’ first flight occurred as recently as December 17, 1903. Lindbergh had started flying only five years earlier, barnstorming in Texas, parachuting, wing walking, landing in fields, sleeping under a wing, making his own repairs.

At 7:45, he begins his journey down the runway, men pushing on the struts, as he gains speed one by one the men fall away.

The halfway mark streaks past---seconds now to decide—close the throttle, or will I get off? The wrong decision means a crash—probably in flames---I pull the stick back firmly, and---The wheels leave the ground. Then I’ll get off! The wheels touch again. I ease the stick forward—almost flying speed, and nearly 2000 feet of field ahead---A shallow pool on the runway---water spews up from the tires---A wing drops---lifts as I shove aileron against it—the entire plane trembles from the shock---Off again—I let the wheels touch once more. Spirit, p. 186

The Spirit of St. Louis takes herself off the next time—full flying speed—the controls taut, alive, straining—and still a thousand feet to the web of telephone wires. Now, I have to make it—there’s no alternative. It’ll be close, but the margin has shifted to my side. I keep the nose down, climbing slowly, each second gaining speed. If the engine can hold out for one more minute---five feet---twenty---forty—wires flash by underneath---twenty feet to spare! Spirit, p. 187

In his cramped quarters his survival depends on strict concentration and vigilance every second for thirty-six hours.

But The Spirit of St. Louis refuses to be left unattended for five seconds. As soon as I look down at the charts the plane starts cutting up like a spoiled child piqued at a moment’s neglect. Spirit, p. 345

I reach for the canteen. No, just reaching throws the plane off balance. I don’t need water. It’s more important to keep the needles centered, every time I use an extra muscle they go jumping off. Spirit, p. 380

What sustains Lindbergh for the next 3600 miles is an intangible quality, single purpose. Above all else, he is determined to reach Paris. Single purpose includes more than determination, dedication, and resolution. It requires a goal and the heading that enables you to reach your destination. Keeping track of the play between heading and destination is the function of the chart.

What endless hours I worked over this chart in California, measuring, drawing, rechecking each 100-mile segment of its great-circle route, each theoretical hour of my flight. But only now, do I realize its full significance. A few lines and figures on a strip of paper, a few ounces of weight, this strip is my key to Europe. With it, I can fly the ocean. With it, that black dot at the other end marked “Paris” will turn into a famous French city with an aerodrome where I can land. But without this chart, all my years of training, all that went into preparing for the flight, no matter how perfectly the engine runs or how long the fuel lasts, all would be as directionless as those columns of smoke in the New England valleys behind me. Without this strip, it would be as useless to look for Paris as to hunt for buried treasure without a pirate’s chart. Spirit, p. 196

From New York, the compass course points to 63 degrees east, Paris. But the calculation involved the initial heading of 60 degrees east, taking into consideration the curvature of the earth, wind, weather, power, and load.

Allow for whatever wind is blowing, and in another hour you will be approaching the shore of Nova Scotia. With one more change of course, you will strike land near the mouth of St. Mary Bay—provided the instructions have been interpreted correctly and followed accurately. After the thirty-seventh instruction has been carried out, you will see the city of Paris lying ten miles ahead. Circle a tall tower near the center of the city, take up a course to the northeast, and within ten minutes you will find a great aerodrome called Le Bourget! Spirit, p. 196

Lindbergh encounters storms, fog, icing, heavy winds, and thunderheads. He overcomes these obstacles by sheer determination, constantly calibrating the distance between heading and destination.

But his greatest obstacle is sleep deprivation. He had been awake for twenty-three hours before even settling into his cockpit. By the time he falls asleep in Paris, he had been awake for 63 hours. During his Eighteenth Hour of flight, he reports:

I’ve lost command of my eyelids. When they start to close, I can’t restrain them. They shut, and I shake myself, and lift them with my fingers. I stare at the instruments, wrinkle forehead muscles tense. Lids close again regardless, stick tight as though with glue. My body has revolted from the rule of its mind. Like salt in wounds, the light of day brings back my pains. Every cell of my being is on strike, sulking in protest, claiming that nothing, nothing in the world, could be worth such effort; that man’s tissue was never made for such abuse. My back is stiff; my shoulders ache; my face burns; my eyes smart. It seems impossible to go on longer. All I want in life is to throw myself down flat, stretch out—and sleep. Spirit, p. 354

I must keep my mind from wandering. I’ll take it in hand at once, and watch it each instant from now on. It must be kept on its proper heading as accurately as the compass. Spirit, p. 236

Finally, he enters a stage where he cannot trust his senses. He is determined to trust only his instruments.

My plane is getting out of control! The realization is like an electric shock running through my body. It brings instant mental keenness. In a matter of seconds I have The Spirit of St. Louis back in hand. But even after the needles are in place, the plane seems to be flying on its side. I know what’s happening. It’s the illusion you sometimes get while flying blind, the illusion that your plane is no longer in level flight, that it’s spiraling, stalling, turning, that the instruments are wrong. There’s only one thing to do—shut off feeling from the mind as much as your ability permits. Let a wing stay low as far as bodily senses are concerned. Let the plane seem to maneuver as it will, dive, climb, sideslip, or bank; but keep the needles where they belong. Spirit, p. 374

Then, an extraordinary thing happens during his Twenty-Second Hour.

While I’m staring at the instruments, during an unearthly age of time, both conscious and asleep, the fuselage behind me becomes filled with ghostly presences—vaguely outlined forms, transparent, moving riding weightless with me in the plane. I feel no surprise at their coming. There’s no suddenness to their appearance. Without turning my head, I see them as clearly as though in my normal field of vision. There’s no limit to my sight—my skull is one great eye, seeming everywhere at once. Spirit, p. 389

At another time I’d be startled by these visions; but on this fantastic flight, I’m so far separated from the earthly life I know that I accept whatever circumstance may come. In fact, these emissaries from a spirit world are quite in keeping with the night and day. They’re neither intruders nor strangers. It’ more like a gathering of family and friends after years of separation, as though I’ve known all of them before in some past incarnation. Spirit, p. 390

There it is. Sustained by single purpose, he accepts whatever circumstance may come. This is a miraculous acceptance. When he completely surrenders his reliance on physical cues, he is sustained only by ghostly presences from another realm. He is well sustained, indeed. When he crosses the tip of Ireland during the Twenty-eighth Hour, he is only three miles off course!

And, nearing Paris during his Thirty-third Hour, he sees the airport, Le Bourget, three hours ahead of schedule.

That line of beacons is converging with my course. Where the two lines meet—the beacons and my course—less than a hundred miles ahead—lies Paris. Spirit, p. 485

Lindbergh, staying the course, lands 33 hours, 30 minutes, and 30 seconds after leaving New York, having flown 3614 miles.

Part 2. Realizing Your Destiny

Now that you have firmly in mind, Gentle Reader, the enormous power of purpose in achieving a goal in this world, this essay takes a dramatic turn by asking a “What if” question. What if Lindbergh were to utilize the incredible power of single purpose to achieve, not a destination in worldly terms, but to realize his destiny? Destiny is derived from a Latin word stare, meaning "to stand." We are predetermined to stand firm in our journey to God. Our primary obstacle to our journey is our fixed belief that the body is real.

Even Lindbergh, having had the extraordinary experience of being sustained by the reality of the ghostly presences, falls into the human trap of believing that his body is real, and that the presences from another realm are unreal. To express his sense of bodily reality, he uses the analogy of a stage play.

It’s as though a curtain has fallen behind me, shutting off the stagelike unreality of this transatlantic flight. It’s been like a theater where the play carries you along in time and place until you forget you’re only a spectator. You grow unaware of the walls around you, of the program clasped in your hand, even of your body, its breath, pulse, and being. You live with the actors and the setting in a different age and place.

It’s not until the curtain drops that consciousness and body reunite. Then, you turn your back on the stage, step out into the cool night, under the lights of streets, between the displays of store windows. You feel life surging in the crowd around you, life as it was when you entered the theater, hours before. Life is real. It always was real. The stage, of course, was the dream. All that transpired there is now a memory, shut off by the curtain, by the doors of the theater, by the passing minutes of time. Spirit, p. 465

Although he directly experienced a reality beyond his body, its breath, pulse, and being, he still convinces himself, as perhaps you are convinced, that only the body is real. Life is real. It always was real. But he is whistling in the dark. He now knows that there is something more real, another realm, beyond physical reality. His lack of sureness is signaled by his weak of course in the next sentence: The stage, of course, was the dream.

Just as Lindbergh constantly turned to his chart to stay the course, we can turn to our Chart, Jesus’ Course in Miracles, to maintain our journey to God. Jesus’ unworldly masterpiece, available since 1975, consists of a Text of 31 chapters, a Workbook of 365 lessons, and a Manual for Teachers.

Just as Lindbergh knew that it would be futile to hunt for buried treasure without a pirate’s chart, we know that it is useless to look for the treasure that we are beyond the physical body without following with single purpose Jesus’ Course. Here is Jesus’ Introduction to His Course in Miracles.

This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite. This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

Our primary block to the awareness of love's presence is our rigid, habitual, instinctive belief that we are only bodies, and that what we see, hear, taste, smell and touch is real. Look, again, at how Lindbergh tries to convince himself of his bodily reality.

Striking Ireland was like leaving the doors of a theater—phantoms for actors; cloud islands and temples for settings; the ocean behind me, an empty stage. The flight across is already like a dream. I’m over villages and fields, back to land and wakefulness and a type of flying that I know. I’m myself again, in earthly skies and over earthly ground. My hands and feet and eyelids move, and I can think as I desire. My mind is able to command, and my body follows out its orders with precision. Spirit, p. 466

He stubbornly finds reality only in the body and mind, My mind is able to command, and my body follows out its orders with precision, even though he just experienced being forced to let go of relying on his eyes, ears, and touch, and accept, instead, help from unworldly presences, more real that his body, letting go of the known, trusting the unknown.

By studying Jesus’ chart, we learn a fundamental lesson:

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
Review V1:Intro.3:3-5

Although it is almost impossible to express in words, it is necessary to attempt to express what it means to declare,

For I am still as God created me.

To begin with, just look at that sentence, again: Still, meaning both, “I continue to be,” and “I am the stillness.” What God created is formless—Truth, Light, Tranquility, Peace, Love, Eternal Joy, Wholeness, Perfection, Purity, Infinity, Stillness.

Now, when you ask, “What am I, if I am not a body?” this can be your answer:

I am God's Son, complete and healed and whole,
shining in the reflection of His Love.
In me is His creation sanctified
and guaranteed eternal life. In me
is love perfected, fear impossible,
and joy established without opposite.
I am the holy home of God Himself.
I am the Heaven where His Love resides.
I am His holy Sinlessness Itself,
for in my purity abides His Own.
W-p11.14, What am I? 1

Since this expresses what I am as formless, what is it that I am not?

I am not a body. I am free.

It appears that I am form, a body, existing in time and space, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting, verifying my objective existence, my body tailored to me like a suit of clothes. The ego directs the body, making up an illusory world.

My hands and feet and eyelids move, and I can think as I desire. My mind is able to command, and my body follows out its orders with precision.

It only seems that the body is real. When you realize that there is a Reality beyond the body, it is called healing, and then you are free in this realization. When you come into this experience of freedom, the body is no longer your primary frame of reference, and you are healed.

Now is the body healed, because the source
of sickness has been opened to relief.
And you will recognize you practiced well
by this: The body should not feel at all.
If you have been successful, there will be
no sense of feeling ill or feeling well,
of pain or pleasure. No response at all
is in the mind to what the body does.
its usefulness remains and nothing more.

If you are of single purpose, you will be healed journeying to God.

The journey to God is merely the reawakening of the knowledge of where you are always, and what you are forever. It is a journey without distance to a goal that has never changed. Truth can only be experienced. It cannot be described and it cannot be explained. T-8.V1.9:6-9

We are predetermined to stand firm in our journey to God because it is a journey without distance, simply being a realization that we are still as God created us.

What God has willed for you is yours. He has given His Will to His treasure, whose treasure it is. Your heart lies where your treasure is, as His does. You who are beloved of God are wholly blessed. T-8.V1.10:1-4

Although Lindbergh did not realize it at the time, when he totally gave up and accepted whatever circumstance may come, he was commending his spirit into the Hands of his Father.

Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father. By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. All sense of separation disappears. This single purpose creates perfect integration and establishes the peace of God. T-3.11.5

In spite of his stubbornness to hold onto his body as real, Lindbergh betrays to us his intuition regarding reality by an analogy.

And there’s something else, which seems to become stronger instead of weaker with fatigue, an element of spirit, a directive force that has stepped out from the background and taken control over both mind and body. It seems to guard them as a wise father guards his children; letting them venture to the point of danger, then calling them back, guiding with a firm but tolerant hand. Spirit, p. 361

Listen to the story of the prodigal son, and learn what God's treasure is and yours: This son of a loving father left his home and thought he had squandered everything for nothing of any value, although he had not understood its worthlessness at the time. He was ashamed to return to his father, because he thought he had hurt him. Yet when he came home the father welcomed him with joy, because the son himself was his father's treasure. He wanted nothing else. God wants only His Son because His Son is His only treasure.

Fortunately for us, Jesus has charted a course to enable us to overcome our primary obstacle, the belief in the reality of the physical body and of the world. Obviously, Jesus must begin His Lessons by confronting this belief. Look at His very first lesson of 365 lessons:

(1) Nothing I see means anything.
The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and nothing has no meaning. It is necessary that I recognize this, that I may learn to see. What I think I see now is taking the place of vision. I must let it go by realizing it has no meaning, so that vision may take its place.

Are you beginning to see how it works? You are sitting here, reading these words, and you are being confronted with the proposition that nothing you see means anything! You are, seemingly, being asked to give up everything you learned to trust. Now, perhaps for the first time, you may see the value of single purpose. You are asked to be constantly counter instinctive. You are being asked to trust in something you cannot verify with your senses. Fear not, your instinctive reliance on your senses will be replaced by vision, if you are determined that this be so.

These phantoms speak with human voices—friendly, vapor-like shapes, without substance, able to vanish or appear at will, to pass in and out through the walls of the fuselage as though no walls were there. Now, many are crowded behind me. Now, only a few remain. First one and then another presses forward to my shoulder to speak above the engine’s noise, and then draws back among the group behind. At times, voices come out of the air itself, clear yet far away, traveling through distances that can’t be measured by the scale of human miles; familiar voices, conversing and advising on my flight, discussing problems, of my navigation, treasuring me, giving me messages of importance unattainable in ordinary life. Spirit, p. 389

. . .ordinary life is the life of bodily senses.

That is only Lesson 1, look at Lesson 2.

(2) I have given what I see all the meaning it has for me. I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see. This is not vision. It is merely an illusion of reality, because my judgments have been made quite apart from reality. I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see. My judgments have hurt me, and I do not want to see according to them. W-51.2

First you see something out there, and then you judge it. You see these words, and you are in constant judgment of them. But it is you who gave them all the meaning they have for you. You are caught in an illusion. You are not seeing with vision.

Just look at the titles of the next 5 Lessons:

(3) I do not understand anything I see.

(4) These thoughts do not mean anything.

(5) I am never upset for the reason I think.

(6) I am upset because I see what is not there.

(7) I see only the past.

If you think Lindbergh was of single purpose, look at how you must hold the course by being forced to be counter instinctive to everything you have ever known. Fortunately, the chart is superbly laid out for you to follow. You need do nothing but hold to the single purpose of coming into the experience of the peace of God. You are not sustained by your senses.

Practice the lessons with single purpose, and in 50 days you come to this lesson:

(50) I am sustained by the Love of God.
As I listen to God's Voice, I am sustained by His Love. As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see. As I forgive, His Love reminds me that His Son is sinless. And as I look upon the world with the vision He has given me, I remember that I am His Son.

My goodness, the first 50 Lessons of Jesus’ Course are all you need to come into the realization that you are the Holy Son of God as He created you, His treasure.

And yes, you have help, help abides with you always. The Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, as real as Lindbergh’s ghostly presences, guides you always.

The Holy Spirit mediates between
illusions and the truth. Since He must bridge
the gap between reality and dreams,
perception leads to knowledge through the grace
that God has given Him, to be His gift to
everyone who turns to Him for truth.
Across the bridge that He provides are dreams
all carried to the truth, to be dispelled
before the light of knowledge. There are sights
and sounds forever laid aside. And where
they were perceived before, forgiveness has
made possible perception's tranquil end.
W-p11.7. What is the Holy Spirit?

Lindbergh followed his course with dogged determinatiion, crossing the tip of Ireland only three miles off course, arriving in Paris three hours earlier than charted. Your safe passage home is guaranteed, if you follow Jesus’ Course with single purpose.

You are as certain of arriving home
as is the pathway of the sun laid down
before it rises, after it has set,
and in the half-lit hours in between.
Indeed, your pathway is more certain still.
For it can not be possible to change
the course of those whom God has called to Him.
Therefore obey your will, and follow Him
Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak
of what you really want and really need.
His is the Voice for God and also yours.
And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth.