Monday, January 14, 2008

Happy New Year! Rest in God

I started the new year with an extraordinary experience. My wife, Christine, and I were staying with our friends, Carol and Dan, in Lansing, Michigan, at their C D Inn. As I was slowly waking up on New Year’s Day, I just lay there with my eyes closed for awhile. We would be driving back home soon, and I was pleasantly surprised that I could not visualize the house in Wisconsin Dells where we have been living for the past ten years; I simply could not bring it to mind.

I rather enjoyed this not knowing and wanted to prolong it as long as possible. This lovely state of formlessness was very peaceful. When I told a friend, Tanja, about this experience, she smiled and said, “It sounds like enlightened amnesia,” capturing exactly my response to this state of mind at that moment. This still state of mind served as a reference point for sentences from A Course in Miracles, for example:

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.

This state of mind where the reference point is not form but formlessness is the stillness of my creation as God’s Son. Being unable to formulate for a moment, this enlightened amnesia, is a refreshing, peaceful experience that runs counter to the normal, habitual, regular formulation of thought-images that we manifest in space and time. This experience serves as an example of stepping out of time and space. This is our true state of consciousness before coming into the world of form, while being in form, and after leaving.

This state is what is Real.

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

This reality in my mind is the reference point for a variety of metaphors simply expressed in Lesson titles:

I am the light of the world. (Lesson 61)
The light has come. (Lesson 75)
Light and joy and peace abide in me. (Lesson 93)
I am as God created me. (Lesson 94)
I am one Self, united with my Creator. (Lesson 95)
I am spirit. (Lesson 97)
I rest in God. (Lesson 109)
Let me remember I am one with God. (Lesson 124)
The world I see holds nothing I want. (Lesson 129)

These metaphors provide a great way to enter a new year because on January 1st. I begin, again, the Lessons of A Course in Miracles. Ensconced in the state of mind of the peace and light of God, I am eager to read Lesson 1, Nothing I see means anything. From this reference point of the awareness of the peace of God, the falsity of what I see is readily apparent. It is a reminder that what I am as created by God has nothing to do with the physical form. I am God's Son regardless of the world I made up with separating thoughts.

It is from this perspective, meaning “to look through,” that I can look at the titles of Lessons 2-7 as reminders.

I have given everything I see in this room all the meaning that it has for me. (Lesson 2)
I do not understand anything I see in this room. (Lesson 3)
These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room. (Lesson 4)
I am never upset for the reason I think. (Lesson 5)
I am upset because I see something that is not there. (Lesson 6)
I see only the past. (Lesson 7)

Jesus is simply telling us what we already know but forgot that we know. Because of our preoccupation with seeing in form, we stay unaware of our Real state of mind. That is why Jesus uses “see” in these titles, demonstrating the falsity of what we take for granted, the falsity of the premise that seeing is believing.

It is a done deal. What we are in Reality has nothing to do with what we see around us.

And now I am going to practice the awareness of our Reality by reading and commenting on the first five paragraphs of Lesson 109, I rest in God.

We ask for rest today, and quietness
unshaken by the world's appearances.
We ask for peace and stillness, in the midst
of all the turmoil born of clashing dreams.
We ask for safety and for happiness,
although we seem to look on danger and
on sorrow. And we have the thought that will
answer our asking with what we request.

Bringing my house into existence by remembering it is just an example of entering into the world's appearances with my thought-images. Recognizing the falsity of these thoughts enables me to shift into the awareness of the peace of God.

"I rest in God." This thought will bring to you
the rest and quiet, peace and stillness, and
the safety and the happiness you seek.
"I rest in God." This thought has power to wake
the sleeping truth in you, whose vision sees
beyond appearances to that same truth
in everyone and everything there is.
Here is the end of suffering for all
the world, and everyone who ever came
and yet will come to linger for a while.
Here is the thought in which the Son of God
is born again, to recognize himself.

When I have this thought, this recognition, I am, again, in my awareness, God’s Son, shifting away from thought-images, experiencing the truth.

"I rest in God." Completely undismayed,
this thought will carry you through storms and strife,
past misery and pain, past loss and death,
and onward to the certainty of God.
There is no suffering it cannot heal.
There is no problem that it cannot solve.
And no appearance but will turn to truth
before the eyes of you who rest in God.

Resting in God, I look out at a world through the eyes of Christ, seeing with vision, not seeing only with the physical mechanism of my eyes wired to my brain.

This is the day of peace. You rest in God,
and while the world is torn by winds of hate
your rest remains completely undisturbed.
Yours is the rest of truth. Appearances
cannot intrude on you. You call to all
to join you in your rest, and they will hear
and come to you because you rest in God.
They will not hear another voice than yours
because you gave your voice to God, and now
you rest in Him and let Him speak through you.

The winds of hate remind me of a metaphor of an anchor. On a sailboat, you can lower the sail and drop anchor. Now no matter how fierce the winds, or powerful the waves, you can ride out the storm safely anchored. I can ask for help to be safely anchored in the peace of God, forgiving the feverish thought-images that seem to be wreaking havoc in time and space.

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.

I sink into the peace of God. This is what it means to be in the world but not of the world, walking through the world, all the time anchored in the peace of God.