Monday, December 14, 2009

The Only Thing Standing Between Me and the Experience of God's Perfection is a Thought

There is a place where I go several times during the day to experience peace, and thank God, it is never very far away. It is my couch. On my left is my desk, piled high with books, and over the top of them I can look out into the woods. In front of me, just beyond the wood-burning stove in the corner to my left, is a window looking out over our lawn and trees and our neighbor's house. To see her house, I look trough hanging chimes and bird feeders and colorful twirlies catching the wind. On my right are windows and the door looking across the lawn to the street and the houses across the way.

Early on this particular morning, a cold day in December, -2 degrees Fahrenheit, I sit down to read the day's Lesson, 346, Today the peace of God envelops me, and I forget all things except His Love.

Father, I wake today with miracles
correcting my perception of all things.
And so begins the day I share with You
as I will share eternity, for time
has stepped aside today. I do not seek
the things of time, and so I will not look
upon them. What I seek today transcends
all laws of time and things perceived in
time.
I would forget all things except Your Love.
I would abide in You, and know no law
s
except Your law of love. And I would find
the peace which You created for Your Son,
forgetting all the foolish toys I made
as I behold Your glory and my own.


And when the evening comes today, we will
remember nothing but the peace of God.

For we will learn today what peace is ours,
when we forget all things except God's Love.


After reading the Lesson very slowly, sitting here enveloped by peace, I look up and study the yellow twisty twirly hanging in front of the window, absolutely covered with ice, the frozen water having dripped down to a very small point, catching the golden sunlight.


I sit transfixed, experiencing the reflection of my peaceful mind, and then, and then, a thought enters in, shattering the peaceful moment.

This is the thought: "If this house were insulated properly, there wouldn't be icicles."

Am I insane, or what? Are we all insane?

I went on thinking that the heat burns through the ceiling, pushes through the roof, and forms ice dams that melt into icicles, causing high heating bills for natural gas.

So, of course, the Lesson is perfect. I haven't even left my house, and I need a miracle.


Father, I wake today with miracles correcting my perception of all things. And so begins the day I share with You as I will share eternity, for time has stepped aside today.

For a moment, time, indeed, had stepped aside today. But then, it suddenly intruded with a vengeance.

I do not seek the things of time, and so I will not look upon them.

Just then, my wife, Christine, came into the room, and I told her what was going on. I said that now I would sit quietly and ask for help to try to regain my peace, and then look at the icy twirly again.

She said, "Too late."

She was right. I was asking for an outcome based on what "I" wanted. I was not asking to be in eternity with God. I was making the common mistake of asking God for help on my terms.

I do not seek the things of time, and so I will not look upon them.

The answer to a prayer does not lie in things at all.

I would forget all things except Your Love.

And now it flashed on my mind how Jesus is so exacting in his use of words to train our minds to see differently. Dear Reader, look at the word would, above. As I put on my English teacher's hat, I am going to remind you that this is the "conditional tense" of the verb. Using this tense, instead of, say, the future, "will," reminds me that what I experience is conditional on the choice I make between God's Love and fear.

I would abide in You, and know no laws except Your law of love.

If I were successful in forgetting all things, I would abide in God and finding peace, I would transcend the world. Experiencing transcendence is conditional on the choice I make. In every moment I am choosing to invest, either in God, or in thoughts that have no source in Reality. And, of course, there is really no choice at all. There is only God's perfection.

And I would find the peace which You created for Your Son, forgetting all the foolish toys I made as I behold Your glory and my own.

And now I sit and experience peace and open my eyes and see, or rather, experience the peace in the reflection I gaze upon, mirroring the peace in my mind, looking through "things."

And when the evening comes today, we will
remember nothing but the peace of God.
For we will learn today what peace is ours,
when we forget all things except God's Love.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

“No BUT’s about it.” Bringing into Application the Principles of A Course in Miracles: Ray and Christine

At Endeavor Academy we have daily morning Sessions, and in the afternoons we have classes where students have an opportunity in smaller, interactive groups to bring into application the principles of A Course in Miracles.

Yesterday, in our class we decided to share our personal mission statements that we had prepared in advance, each of us taking turns standing in front of the class to make our declarations. We listened in hushed silence, marveling at each deeply-felt expressions, each so individual, so powerful. What came to mind is a prism, the single light coming through and manifesting in so many individual, brilliant colors. We are, indeed, bright rays of God's light.

Here is my statement, and then my wife, Christine’s.

“No BUT’s about it.”


My mission, moment-to-moment, is to remember this:

I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created m
e. Lesson 199

The key here is in the word still; in my stillness of mind I am in the experience of being as God created me. This stillness is marked by the absence of mind-chatter, thoughts that have no source in Reality, thoughts that make up a world that is not Real.

In the book Embraced by the Light, Betty Edie “died” on the operating table, and she said later: My first impression was that I was free. My sense of freedom was limitless, and it seemed as if I had been like this forever.
Yes, we are as God created us before we came into this life, while we are here, and when we return Home.

For me, it is always a matter of forgetting and remembering. When I forget that I am God’s son, I say things like this to my self:

Perception is a mirror, not a fact. Lesson 304

I am in the world, and not of the world.

“It is not what you do, but the state of mind in which you do it,” Brother Laurence.

“No matter where you go, there you are,” Buckaroo Banzai
No matter where you go in time and space, you are home in eternity.

It makes a difference,
But it doesn’t matter.
That which appears to happen seems to make a difference in time and space, and it does not matter in eternity.

I am affected only by my thoughts. Lesson 358


Now, the thing is to be vigilant.

I watch myself very carefully so that when something “bad” happens, I don’t say, “That happened, BUT.” If I say to myself BUT, then I will continue entertaining it in my mind. However, if I say “That happened AND, I will be heading to a state of mind where the negative experience will melt into the peace of God. I am in the world, AND not of the world. I want to say this just happened AND this drama unfolding is not so. Help!

Simply do this. Be still. Lesson 189

And in this stillness I am receptive.
God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day. Lesson 49
In this stillness I am open to hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I particularly like this phrase, “Wear the world like a loose garment.”

From the book, Twenty-Four Hours a Day.

I must live in the world and yet live apart with God. I can go forth from my secret times of communion with God to the work of the world. To get the spiritual strength I need, my inner life must be lived apart from the world. I must wear the world as a loose garment. Nothing in the world should seriously upset me, as long as my inner life is lived with God. All successful living arises from this inner life. March 29

And now I want to look at a brother and say, “Namaste,” the Christ in me greets the Christ in you and be in the experience of it.

My latest practice is to see my “worst enemy” as the Christ because if I see him or her any less, I am not experiencing the Christ in myself, and I am projecting my fears onto him or her, and I am depriving my self of the peace of God, and now I am asking for help to experience this peace, experience the Christ, because I know that in reality:

My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

I am not a body. I am free.

For I am still as God created me. Lesson 199

* * *

Here is Christine's.

My Mission Statement


Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31

Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39

My mission is to immerse myself in God. I Rest in God. In applying this to my being will bring me to quiet, peace and a state of grace. By remaining vigilant and constant moment to moment, I can extend my serenity and peace, remaining in a state of grace. It will be my privilege to give of myself in whatever manner is required.

And as I Rest in God I am renewed. And as I recognize the truth in me, I give myself away in pure extension. By recognizing the Christ in me, I can then see the Christ in everyone I encounter. When greeting a brother, I vow to consciously acknowledge the Christ by saying “Namaste”, the Christ in me greets the Christ in you. This creates a clean slate in my mind to be receptive, activating a channel to receive the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Now I am truly open. It will be my privilege to give to my brother. I will be a light that reflects love and peace and pure extension. I will come to know that, feel that, and understand that everything I see, feel, touch is a emanation of my mind, and when I love my extensions, I can truly love myself. I will rejoice in life because of who I am. I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.

I am the Son of God. Nobody can contain my spirit, nor impose on me a limitation God created not.

And I remind myself that God wants for me only happiness.

Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes for love.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! All things that live bring gifts to you.

Early this morning I am sitting on the couch,
just looking out the window before doing the Lesson.
I catch some movement off to my right,
and I look over and see the brown leaves on the low-hanging boughs
just above the driveway,
moving up and down and back and forth, joyously.
I look away, scanning the yard, and much to my surprise,
there is no other movement, there is no breeze,
it is utterly still.
It’s as if they are waving just to me,
and I look over and wave back.

There is a light in you which cannot die;
whose presence is so holy that the world
is sanctified because of you. All things
that live bring gifts to you, and offer them
in gratitude and gladness at your feet.

The scent of flowers is their gift to you.

The waves bow down before you, and the trees
extend their arms to shield you from the heat,
and lay their leaves before you on the ground
that you may walk in softness, while the wind
sinks to a whisper round your holy head.
W-p1.156.4

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Robert Frost's Poem, The Mending Wall

Yesterday, I was reading newspaper articles about the Twentieth Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989. While reading, I was surprised and pleased at what came floating into my mind, Robert Frost’s poem, Mending Wall, written long before the Wall went up.

What the poem does is bring out the symbolic significance of the Wall, like a barrier in our minds, a wall of fear and darkness separating us from love and light. Here are the first two lines of the poem:

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it.

The frozen ground-ground swell is like the light penetrating darkness.

Later in the poem, the speaker contrasts this recognition with his neighbor’s idea that 'Good fences make good neighbors', noting that he moves in darkness.

Here is the poem.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,

And spills the upper boulders in the sun,

And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.

To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:

'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it

Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there

Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

While the theme of the poem is set in the first two lines, the speaker matter-of-factly details the repairing of the wall for the next 23 lines, and then he thinks:

There where it is we do not need the wall.

When he tells this to his neighbor, he can only repeat his father’s saying,
'Good fences make good neighbors.'

Although the speaker does not name what does not love a wall, calling it something, he is aware at some level that it refers to the light and love that he is; at some point along the way, he had caught a glimpse of the truth of his wholeness.

Yet, his neighbor is moving in darkness, aware only of his separateness from God, having learned from his father who was a liar from the beginning in the sense of the human conditioning being passed on, deceiving from generation to generation.

Holiness can never be really hidden in darkness, but you can deceive yourself about it. The deception makes you fearful because you realize in your heart it is a deception and you exert enormous effort to establish its reality. T-1.lV.2:1,2

In this darkness, he moves like an old-stone savage armed.

He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

Not of woods only and the shade of trees.


This is the darkness of separation in illusion. There is, however, an end to his journey in darkness, and the fall of the Wall gives us a physical demonstration.

There is a hush in Heaven, a happy expectancy, a little pause of gladness in acknowledgement of the journey's end. For Heaven knows you well, as you know Heaven. No illusions stand between you and your brother now. Look not upon the little wall of shadows. The sun has risen over it. How can a shadow keep you from the sun? No more can you be kept by shadows from the light in which illusions end. Every miracle is but the end of an illusion. Such was the journey; such its ending. And in the goal of truth which you accepted must all illusions end.
T-19.lV.6

And the Wall and the illusions came tumbling down.

And all the king’s men and all the king’s horses
couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Simply Letting a Single Thought Melt into Stillness Dismantles an Entire Hallucination

Several weeks ago, three Texas fishermen were rescued from atop their capsized boat in the Gulf of Mexico, after having been stranded for eight days. The men, Tressel Hawkins, 43, James Phillips, 30, and Curtis Hall, 28, were found sitting on their twenty-three foot catamaran, 180 miles from land, having endured hunger, blistering heat, scares from sharks, and hallucinations.

The men rationed their salvaged bubble gum, crackers, beer and chips and used a hose to suck fresh water out of the internal “washdown” tank. Fishermen often keep such a tank to wash fish slime off their boat when they are out in the salt water. “We’d eat crackers one day, and then a handful of chips,” Phillips said. “Everything tasted like gasoline and saltwater.”
(Texas Boaters Fought Heat and Hunger, USA Today, 8/31/2009, Section 1, p. 1)

What first caught my attention in this account is that they started hallucinating about the fourth or fifth day.

“We started hallucinating about people dropping off food and water,” Phillips said. “And we were talking to them, but they weren’t there.” (Texas Boaters, p. 1)

What is fascinating to me is how Hawkins, in particular, dealt with his hallucinations.

Hawkins said he initially wondered whether his rescuers were another figment of his imagination. “My first reaction was, ‘Is this really real?’ You must have to kind of sit back and say is this real or hallucination. You have to wake yourself up three or four times to make sure it is real.” (Texas Boaters, p. 1)

Now, what you and I know, and Hawkins may not, is that he is continuing to hallucinate now while safe at home, and we do, too, when we are not experiencing the peace of God and seeing with the eyes of Christ. We hallucinate each moment we take for real the dream that we are making up by believing that what we see with our eyes has reality, believing in our miscreations. We hallucinate when we listen to the voice of the ego, rather than the Voice for God. This is one way Jesus expresses it in A Course in Miracles.

The distractions of the ego may seem to interfere with your learning, but the ego has no power to distract you unless you give it the power to do so. The ego’s voice is an hallucination
. T-8.l.2:1-2

The root meaning of the word distract is helpful here. It comes from the Latin, distractus, meaning “to draw away from.” We can choose not to give into the temptation of being drawn away from experiencing the peace of God. We can stand still for a moment and question the reality of our dream. Hawkins teaches us to kind of sit back and say is this real or hallucination. He did not, automatically, give it power.

You cannot expect it to say “I am not real.” Yet you are not asked to dispel your hallucinations alone. You are merely asked to evaluate them in terms of their results to you. If you do not want them on the basis of loss of peace, they will be removed from your mind for you. T-8.l.2:3-6

The word hallucinate comes from the Latin hallucinatus, meaning “to wander in the mind, in the sense of to have an illusion.” When we wander from the state of mind of the peace of God, we end up distracted by images in time and space, walking through an illusory world of our own making, believing it to be real.

Jesus tells us very early in His Text:

You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations. T-2.VI.4: 6

What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up? What if you realized that those who seem to walk about in it, to sin and die, attack and murder and destroy themselves, are wholly unreal? Could you have faith in what you see, if you accepted this? And would you see it? T-20.Vlll.7.3:3-7

Hallucinations disappear when they are recognized for what they are.

That is why I love so much the lesson that Hawkins teaches.

“My first reaction was, ‘Is this really real?’ You must have to kind of sit back and say is this real or hallucination.

My God! That’s all I have to do. I just have to step back for a moment and ask if this is real?

This is Lesson 155, I will step back and let Him lead the way.

The world is an illusion. Those who choose
to come to it are seeking for a place
where they can be illusions, and avoid
their own reality. Yet when they find
their own reality is even here,
then they step back and let it lead the way.
What other choice is really theirs to make?
To let illusions walk ahead of truth
is madness. But to let illusion sink
behind the truth and let the truth stand forth
as what it is, is merely sanity.

W-p1.155.2

This is Lesson 182, I will be still an instant and go home.

When you are still an instant, when the world
recedes from you, when valueless ideas
cease to have value in your restless mind,
then will you hear His Voice. So poignantly
He calls to you that you will not resist
Him longer. In that instant He will take
you to His home, and you will stay with Him
in perfect stillness, silent and at peace,
beyond all words, untouched by fear and doubt,
sublimely certain that you are at home.

W-p182.8



For the past couple of weeks, I have been actively practicing stepping back and being still. It came to me one night just before going to bed, while I was sitting quietly, simply being aware of breathing in and breathing out, that I could practice doing this during the day from moment to moment, when I remembered, particularly, when I found myself hallucinating.

This also coincides with the fact that I have been memorizing this passage from Lesson 189, I feel the love of God within me now.

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside
all thoughts of what you are and what God is;
all concepts you have learned about the world;
all images you hold about yourself.
Empty your mind of everything it thinks
is either true or false, or good or bad,
of every thought it judges worthy, and
all the ideas of which it is ashamed.
Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you
one thought the past has taught, nor one belief
you ever learned before from anything.
Forget this world, forget this course, and come
with wholly empty hands unto your God.
W-p1.189.7

I realized that I was beginning to live into the meaning of this passage by simply taking these steps.

1. Be aware of breathing in and out.

2. Ask for help to let go of thoughts.

3. Be present and receptive.

So, I am walking down the street, and I come face to face with a brother against whom I have a grievance; recognizing my hallucination, I breathe in and out and ask for help to let it go, and I become present and receptive, smile, nod my head in greeting, and walk on by.

I am becoming increasingly intolerant of mind wandering.

And now it comes to me to express it this way:

A single thought melts away in stillness,
dismantling an entire hallucination,
making way for the state of mind of the peace of God.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"The brain can think, and the eyes can see." "Nonsense!"

I came across an article in The New York Times a couple of days ago that summarizes research that demonstrates, empirically, exactly how our brains lure us into causal loops, making us believe that we are seeing something real going on outside of ourselves. The article is entitled, “Brain is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop,” and here is the first paragraph.

If after a few months’ exposure to our David Lynch economy, in which housing markets spontaneously combust, coworkers mysteriously disappear and the stifled moans of dying 401K plans can be heard through the floorboards, you have the awful sensation that your body’s stress response has taken on a self-replicating and ultimately self-defeating life of its own, congratulations. You are very perceptive. It has. Researchers have discovered that the sensation of being highly stressed can rewire the brain in ways that promote its sinister persistence. (Natalie Angier, "Brain is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop, " Science, p. 18-19, August 18, 2009)

The researchers discovered that highly-stressed rats actually underwent physical changes in their brains’ neural circuitry.

On the one hand, regions of the brain associated with executive decision-making and goal-directed behaviors had shriveled, while, conversely, brain sectors linked to habit formation had bloomed. “Behaviors become habitual faster in stressed animals than in the controls, and worse, the stressed animals can’t shift back to goal-directed behaviors when that would be the better approach,” Dr. Sousa said. “I call this a vicious circle.” (Brain, p. 18)

Just now, much to my surprise, a voice came into my mind, shouting, “Nonsense! The brain cannot think, and the eyes cannot see!” That’s a familiar voice, it is the plucky Alice of Alice in Wonderland. Just after entering the rabbit-hole, she found herself only a little startled seeing the Cheshire Cat, astride a branch. She even stood up to the nasty Queen who looked at her and said, “Off with her head.” “Nonsense!” said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent. Her “decidedly” echoes my certainty that the images our brains present to us are no more real than Alice’s bizarre adventures down the rabbit-hole.

It is for this reason that Jesus begins His Workbook of A Course in Miracles with this Lesson, Nothing I see means anything. In the Text He refers to the brain’s illusory interpretations.

The brain interprets to the body, of which it is a part. But what it says you cannot understand. Yet you have listened to it. And long and hard you tried to understand its messages.T-22.l.2:9-11

You cannot understand the brain’s interpretations because they are not real.

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.

Herein, lies the peace of God.


That which is real cannot be seen because it is invisible, intangible—Truth, Love, Joy, Peace.

That which is unreal is visible, tangible—the brain, the body, the eyes and the images they make. This is our human conditioning. Our father was a liar from the beginning.

Children are born into the world through pain and in pain. Their growth is attended by suffering, and they learn of sorrow and separation and death. Their minds seem to be trapped in their brain, and its powers to decline if their bodies are hurt. T-13.In.2:4-6

Children, like Alice, fall into a rabbit-hole, an illusion, a dream.

For the content of individual illusions differs greatly. Yet they have one thing in common, they are all insane. They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. For they are meaningful only to their maker, and so they have no meaning at all. In this world their maker moves alone, for only he perceives them. T-13.V.1:4-9

The problem is that we forget the fall, and we become entranced by the images our eyes see and the sounds the ears hear, not realizing that there is another way of seeing, seeing through the eyes of Christ.

We are on a mission here to learn to see truly, to see with vision, and we cannot do this alone because we are constantly deceived by seeing through blind eyes. And we are not alone. The Holy Spirit will guide us to see through the brain’s sleeping eyes, so that we can recognize the vision of Christ. It is a matter of remembering and forgetting; forgetting, i.e., relinquishing the sights and sounds projected by our brains, and remembering to see with the eyes of Christ. This is an awakening to the real and letting go the unreal. T-12.Vl.4

The researchers studying the brains of the stressed rats were joyously surprised to learn that the changes in behavior and brains could be reversed. That is, although, the induced stress caused particular sections of the brain to shrivel, they found that pampering the rats particular parts of the brain “resprouted.”

But with only four weeks’ vacation in a supportive setting free of bullies and Tasers, the formerly stressed rats looked just like the controls, able to innovate, discriminate and lay off the bar. Atrophied synaptic connections in the decisive regions of the prefrontal cortex resprouted, while the overgrown dendritic vines of the habit-prone sensorimotor striatum retreated. (Brain, p. 19)

The "resprouting" of the atrophied synaptic connections is, of course, looked on as favorable, and this is a real temptation while looking through eyes that cannot see. We tend to see dualities, e.g., a stressful, or non-stressful situation, sad or happy, good or bad, and we try to find a solution more favorable rather than less favorable, forgetting that we are looking at completely illusory situations, dream-figures of our own making, characters at the bottom of a rabbit-hole.

So, it always comes down to the basics. When I see an image and respond to it stressfully, or non-stressfully, for that matter, I ask for help to remember that it is not so, it is not real, it is a dream, and ask to see through the images with vision, with the eyes of Christ, thereby, experiencing truth and love and peace.

At the end of Alice in Wonderland, we discover what we may have suspected all along—Alice Liddel, the young girl Charles Dodgson based his story on, was dreaming all the time. She finds herself in her sister’s lap, dreaming that cards are fluttering down all around her, and she wakes up discovering her sister brushing leaves off of her face.

Here is the way I expressed it in the last section of a poem in blank verse I once wrote about Alice, entitled The Wonder of Alice.

At this the whole pack of cards rose up in
the air, and came flying down on Alice

Liddel, lying on her sister’s soft lap;
she was gently brushing away some dead

leaves that had come fluttering down from the

trees upon her face. So Alice got up
and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well
she might, what a curious, wonderful dream.


If you wish to read the poem in its entirety, please click here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scissoring Our Dream Out of Unity

Leafing through A Course in Miracles the other day, I came across a copy of a poem paper-clipped to Lesson 184, The Name of God is my inheritance, entitled The Way by Albert Goldbarth. It is faded and yellowed, and I probably cut it out of The New Yorker some time ago.

THE WAY

The sky is random. Even calling it “sky”
is an attempt to make a meaning, say,

a shape, from the humanly visible part

of shapelessness in endlessness. It’s what

we do, in some ways it’s entirely what

we do—and so the devastating rose

of a galaxy’s being born, the fatal lame
of another’s being torn and dying, we frame

in the lenses of our super-duper telescopes the way
we would those other completely incomprehensible

fecund and dying subjects at a family picnic.
Making them “subjects.” “Rose.” “Lame.” The way

our language scissors the enormity to scales
we can tolerate. The way we gild and rubricate

in memory, or edit out selectively.
An infant’s gentle snoring, even, apportions

the eternal. When they moved to the boonies,
Dorothy Wordsworth measured their walk


to Crewkerne—then the nearest town—

by pushing a device invented especially

for such a project, a “perambulator”: seven miles.

Her brother William pottered at his daffodils poem.

Ten thousand saw I at a glance: by which he meant
too many to count, but could only say it in counting.


I find this poem to be a remarkable description of how we make up an illusory world.

The sky is random.

I am sitting on our deck on a warm, sunny day in August, and I casually glance about me, seeing the bird feeder, the chimes, the trees, and the sky. I am simply looking, randomly, defined as “occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern.” Yet, I automatically name things, cutting each thing out of the whole, selecting one thing at a time by symbolizing it with a name.

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.

W-p1.184.1:1-4

Even calling it “sky”
is an attempt to make a meaning, say,
a shape, from the humanly visible part

of shapelessness in endlessness.


And once again, this is wired into our brains. In an article in the newspaper today, Michael Shermer, an author who studies how the brain functions says this:

We are pattern-seeking primates. We connect the dots, and often they really are connected. We just assume all patterns are real. You can show people a random collection of anything and they will find a pattern.(The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 2, 2009, p. A9.)

What is humanly visible we consider real, and what is shapeless and endless we consider unreal. The poet, Albert Goldbarth, intuits that this is what we do, and unfortunately for us, it is almost all that we do.

It’s what
we do, in some ways it’s entirely what

we do—

This is the way reality is made
by partial vision, purposefully set

against the given truth. Its enemy

is wholeness. It conceives of little things
and looks upon them.

W-p1.184.4:1-3

and so the devastating rose
of a galaxy’s being born, the fatal lame

of another’s being torn and dying, we frame

in the lenses of our super-duper telescopes the way

we would those other completely incomprehensible
fecund and dying subjects at a family picnic.


Even the birth of a galaxy, however huge it seems, is small because it is unreal. Even the beautiful metaphors of devastating rose and fatal lame do not make it real. In the phrase, super-duper telescopes, I saw the word “dupe.” We are always being duped by what we see and name, our own projections, reminding me of this sentence from out of the past: Whether we are looking into a telescope, or into a microscope, we are always looking only at the back of our heads.”

“Dupe” becomes even stronger when its origins become clear. It comes from (tĂȘte) d'uppe, or “head of a bird thought to be especially stupid.” You gotta to love it. We are stupid birds believing our illusions.

Even our family members seem to be getting old and sick and dying because we see them as illusions, as subjects, not as the truth of what they are, children of God.

They are made of sights that are not seen, and sounds that are not heard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. For they are meaningful only to their maker, and so they have no meaning at all. In this world their maker moves alone, for only he perceives them. W-13.V.1:6-9

Making them “subjects.” “Rose.” “Lame.” The way

our language scissors the enormity to scales

we can tolerate. The way we gild and rubricate

in memory, or edit out selectively.
an infant’s gentle snoring, even, apportions

the eternal.

Once again, Goldbarth intuits that space and time are carved out of unity, and we cut by scissoring with language. This is seeing with the body’s eyes, partial vision, purposefully set against the given truth.

And yet, there is only one vision, seeing with the eyes of Christ, the other vision.

Yet does this other vision still remain
a natural direction for the mind
to channel its perception. It is hard
to teach the mind a thousand alien names,
and thousands more. Yet you believe this is
what learning means; its one essential goal
by which communication is achieved,
and concepts can be meaningfully shared.

W-p.1.184.5

When they moved to the boonies,
Dorothy Wordsworth measured their walk


to Crewkerne—then the nearest town—

by pushing a device invented especially

for such a project, a “perambulator”: seven miles.

Her brother William pottered at his daffodils poem.

Ten thousand saw I at a glance: by which he meant
too many to count, but could only say it in counting.

It is with a sure hand that Goldbarth ends his poem by evoking William Wordsworth (1770-1850). Wordsworth knew, first hand, that we are of God, not of man. Here is a famous stanza from his poem, Intimations of Immortality.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
hath had elsewhere its setting,
and cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

but trailing clouds of glory do we come

from God, who is our home.

59-66

Wordsworth experienced resting in God, our true nature, even though he referred to the daffodils by “counting;” for him it was simply a convenient metaphor. Here is the last part of Wordsworth’s poem, I wandered lonely as a cloud.

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.


The waves beside them danced; but they

out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

in such a jocund company:

I gazed - and gazed - but little thought

what wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, when on my couch I lie

in vacant or in pensive mood,

they flash upon that inward eye

which is the bliss of solitude;

and then my heart with pleasure fills,

and dances with the daffodils.


He captures perfectly what it means to step back from seeing with the body’s eyes, and in the bliss of solitude experiences seeing with the inward eye, seeing with Christ vision.

It is not completely clear to me why Goldbarth entitled his poem, The Way. I will assume that he is resting in the unity and wholeness of his true identity, knowing that there is no world, other than the illusory one we make by seeing through only the body’s eyes. I trust I am on the right track because Goldbarth does use the phrase in this manner three times in his poem:

the way we would. . .

the way our language scissors


the way we gild and rubricate


If so, he recognizes that only by demonstrating exactly how we scissor our dream out of unity and wholeness is the way we come to experience another way of seeing.

Jesus said unto them,
Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Before Abraham was, I am.
John 8:58

And Jesus expresses it this way in today’s lesson, 224, God is my Father, and He loves His Son.

My true Identity is so secure,
so lofty, sinless, glorious and great,
wholly beneficent and free from guilt,
that Heaven looks to It to give it light.
It lights the world as well. It is the gift
my Father gave to me; the one as well
I give the world. There is no gift but This
that can be either given or received.
This is reality, and only This.
This is illusion's end. It is the truth.


My Name, O Father, still is known to You.
I have forgotten It, and do not know
where I am going, who I am, or what
it is I do. Remind me, Father, now,
for I am weary of the world I see.
Reveal what You would have me see instead.

W-p11.224

The way means to ask for help to be reminded of the truth of what I am, so that I can learn to see through my illusory world of time and space, and experience in its place the peace of God, seeing with the inward eye.

Jesus saith unto him:
I am the way, the truth and the life.

John 14:6

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hamlet's, "There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so," and Jesus' Course in Miracles.

Early in the second act of Hamlet, King Claudius secretly summons Hamlet’s school chums, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, from Germany to spy on Hamlet who suspects that Claudius, his father’s brother, recently usurped the throne after having poisoned his father. When they first meet, Hamlet is surprised and asks them what they have done to deserve being sent to prison. They ask him what he is talking about, and he says that Denmark is a prison. They disagree, and Hamlet speaks this famous line, “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” (Hamlet.11.2:251)

This sentence can be broken down into three parts:

1) There is nothing

For a split-second, I am always only looking at a blank slate.
No thing I look at and give a name to exist at all.

2) but thinking makes it so

I keep missing the fact that nothing exists until my thinking, automatically, brings it into existence.

Things but represent the thoughts that made them.
(W-p1.187.2:3)

Our brains in conjunction with our senses write on the blank slate.

3) good or bad

I quickly preoccupy my thinking by automatically slipping into judgment.

In the context of A Course in Miracles, that is a powerful sentence coming to us from across the centuries, echoing the title of Jesus’ Lesson 1, Nothing I see means anything. The lesson begins with this sentence: The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and nothing has no meaning. This is followed by Lesson 2, I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me, and the first sentence reads: I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see.

Obviously, Jesus begins his 365 Lessons by making clear and precise the problem we face. We take for granted, for granite, that what we see is trustworthy, and we walk around with the strongly ingrained belief that “seeing is believing.” His Lessons enable us to practice learning that what we see is illusory, of our own making, and that we can learn to see differently; we can learn to see with vision.

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.
(W-p1.51.1:4,5)

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.
(51.2:5,6)

Overcoming my conditioning that “seeing is believing” is, obviously, a giant obstacle. In addition to the Lessons, it does help to see a clear demonstration that it is the judging brain that uses the eyes to “see,” but this is not vision. (In a recent blog post, “Stick out your tongue and look at me: Images we see in the world are first formed deep in our brains," I use the BrainPort to demonstrate this.)

Recently, I came across a fascinating article demonstrating that we are more than a brain, more than a body and brain, more than our sensory perceptions, more than our petty judgments. When we manage to strip away our nothingness, we can come to experience our wholeness. The article demonstrates what we are without our brains; we are souls.

In 1991, Pam Reynolds was found to have an aneurysm on her brain stem. Faced with a ticking time bomb, she opted for an experimental operation called a "cardiac standstill." The surgeons put her under anesthesia, taped her eyes shut and put molded speakers in her ears that emitted loud clicks, about as loud as a jet plane taking off. When her brain no longer responded to those clicks, the surgeons lowered her body temperature to 60 degrees and drained the blood out of her head, like draining oil from the engine of a car. The aneurysm sac collapsed for lack of blood. The surgeons drilled into her skull, snipped the aneurysm and sewed it up, and then reintroduced the blood into her body.

Finally, they raised her body temperature and brought her back to consciousness.


When Reynolds awakened, she had a story to tell. She said she floated upward and watched part of the operation. She could describe what the operating theater looked like and how many surgeons there were. She could describe the unusual-looking bone saw that cut open her head, as well as the drill bits and blade container. She heard conversations, including one in which a female surgeon observed that Reynolds' left femoral vein was too small for a tube, to which the chief neurosurgeon responded, "Try the right side."


Records from the surgery confirmed all these details. Reynolds' neurosurgeon says he is flummoxed by the episode: "From a scientific perspective," he told me, "I have absolutely no explanation about how it could have happened."

Her story raises the question: Was Reynolds' consciousness operating separately from her brain?


Reynolds' experience — and that of many others — is prompting researchers at institutions such as the University of Montreal and the University of Virginia to investigate the astonishing proposition that a person might have a consciousness — or (gasp) a soul — that can operate when the brain is off-line.
(Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The God Choice, USA TODAY, June 22, 2009, p. 9A)

It is always fun to see an empirical demonstration of the truth of what we are.

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

(W-p1.RVI.Intro.3:3-5)

No matter what my brain tells me, I am still, i.e., I remain as God created me; and I am the stillness of God’s creation. That which I am has been expressed with a variety of words—soul, mind, the Christ, God’s Son, Atman, spirit, light, Self.

You are one Self, united and secure in
light and joy and peace. You are God's Son,

one Self, with one Creator and one goal;
to bring awareness of this oneness to
all minds, that true creation may extend
the allness and the unity of God.

You are one Self, complete and healed and whole,
with power to lift the veil of darkness from
the world, and let the light in you come through
to teach the world the truth about yourself.
(W-p1.95.12)

All we are asked to do, and it is everything, is to forget, relinquish, forgive our small self, and the world it projects. We are asked to recognize that nothing is good, or bad, but my "stinking" thinking makes it so. And this nothingness is all going on in a small, dark place in the back of my brain, and it is that that I write on the blank slate.

Just for a moment, let me step back and ask for help to forgive what I have made, now.

Forgiveness gently looks upon all things
unknown in Heaven, sees them disappear,
and leaves the world a clean and unmarked slate
on which the Word of God can now replace
the senseless symbols written there before.
Forgiveness is the means by which the fear
of death is overcome, because it holds
no fierce attraction now and guilt is gone.
Forgiveness lets the body be perceived
as what it is; a simple teaching aid,
to be laid by when learning is complete,
but hardly changing him who learns at all.
(W-p1.192.4)

And I must be constant, I must be exceedingly vigilant, I must be determined, because the brain and body unite to convince me to turn away from the truth of what I am. The brain and body present a strong case. The temptation is great to accept what the brain offers.

For example, just do this:

1. While sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number ‘6’ in the air with your right hand.

3. Notice that your foot now changes directions, moving counter-clockwise.

Our brains have a mind of their own, if you will, and we cannot seem to will it otherwise. But the good thing is there is only God's Will, and our brains/bodies are not real. Jesus makes this absolutely clear in His Introduction to the Course.

Nothing real can be threatened.

What is real is truth, light, peace, joy, serenity, God, infinity.

Nothing unreal exists.

What is unreal is made by the brain and body senses, and it is finite.

Herein, lies the peace of God.

Recognizing the truth and relinquishing, forgiving, what is not so gives us peace.

At the end of the pay, Horatio holds the dying Hamlet in his arms, and he says his last words, The rest is silence.

Horatio: Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Returning to God on earth as in Heaven is resting in silence, stillness, and peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Holy Spirit: The Great Corrector

Right now I am using Microsoft Word to type this essay. I notice that when I misspell a word, an unseen program automatically corrects it. For example, this is how I just typed c-o-r-e-c-t, and as I hit the space bar to go to the next word, the program instantly corRected it. In effect, the mistake was instantly forgiven.

There is an invisible program running in the background that is guiding my every keystroke. Although I cannot see it, I experience its effects. Its correction is automatic. It uses what I type to make it right. I just make mistakes. There is no guilt in that; there is no shame. I can trust this program. I can trust what is invisible. It is just a matter of typing away, and when it is right it is right, and when I make a mistake, it is simply an offering to be corrected.

Of course, the program running in the background is analogous to the Holy Spirit's invisible presence within us. The typing mistakes are simply illusions and dreams. The Holy Spirit bridges the gap, carrying us to truth and reality, as bodily mistakes are forgiven.

In this manner, misspellings are dispelled.

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? 1

Just as the Microsoft program replaces mistakes with accuracy, the Holy Spirit replaces worldly errors with Eternal Truth.
The goal the Holy Spirit's teaching sets
is just this end of dreams. For sights and sounds
must be translated from the witnesses
of fear to those of love. And when this is
entirely accomplished, learning has
achieved the only goal it has in truth.
For learning, as the Holy Spirit guides
it to the outcome He perceives for it,
becomes the means to go beyond itself,
to be replaced by the Eternal Truth.

7:2

It is just a matter of offering to the Holy Spirit our mistaken key strokes, our fearful images and dreams. They can be utilized for another purpose.

If you but knew how much your Father yearns
to have you recognize your sinlessness,
you would not let His Voice appeal in vain,
nor turn away from His replacement for
the fearful images and dreams you made.
The Holy Spirit understands the means
you made, by which you would attain what is
forever unattainable. And if
you offer them to Him, He will employ
the means you made for exile to restore
your mind to where it truly is at home.

7:3

I also notice that when I do not space the wordscorrectly, a red line appears beneath the words, reminding me to go back and leave a space. When I see that red line, I need but stop a moment, return to the underlined words, place the cursor between them, hit the space bar, and in that moment, in that stillness, the words separate (words correctly) and the red line disappears.

From knowledge, where He has been placed by God,
the Holy Spirit calls to you, to let
forgiveness rest upon your dreams, and be
restored to sanity and peace of mind.
Without forgiveness will your dreams remain
to terrify you. And the memory
of all your Father's Love will not return
to signify the end of dreams has come.

7:4

The program is a gift, replacing my wayward key strokes with correct ones. Thy will be done. Not mine. Learning to stand still for a moment and asking for help to be corrected is my only function.

Accept your Father's gift. It is a Call
from Love to Love, that It be but Itself.
The Holy Spirit is His gift, by which
the quietness of Heaven is restored
to God's beloved Son. Would you refuse
to take the function of completing God,
when all He wills is that you be complete?
7:5

I walk down the street now, fully trusting the Holy Spirit's correction, and I find that when this judgment or that judgment appears on the screen of my mind, these ideas come to my awareness for a moment, and then they are washed away, leaving a clean slate, making way for heavenly thoughts.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew.6:10

Thursday, June 04, 2009

“Stick Out Your Tongue and Look At Me:” Images We See in the World Are First Formed Deep in Our Brains

We grow up automatically believing that what we see with our eyes makes up a real world. When an infant begins to connect a word with an image he sees, e.g., "Mommy," "doll," "doggy," we reward him lavishly. Thus begins his quest to learn the names of everything in sight.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with this. You can hardly expect a child to do otherwise. The only problem is that it establishes a world that seems real but, in fact, is not real. Obviously, overcoming this predilection to believe what we see with our eyes is a terribly difficult task.

Last week I came across an article in the newspaper that made the task less difficult by providing me with unequivocal evidence that seeing with the body’s eyes does not establish a real world. The article is entitled, Using the Tongue to Help Blind See, demonstrating how a device called BrainPort enables the blind to see images.

Roger Behm lost his sight at 16, the victim of an inherited disease that destroyed his retinas. Both of his eyes were surgically removed. Now 55, Behm has made himself at home in a sightless world. Three years ago, he slipped a device over his head, turned it on, and was once again able to discern light and dark, shapes and shadows, letters and numbers, and even a rolling golf ball. "I could look down and and see the ball, white on black, and I could see myself swinging my putter," Behm said. "And, of course, I missed. But I could reach down and pick up my ball, like any other sighted person."

The BrainPort relies upon the ability of the human brain to adapt when a source of sensory information such as the eyes are lost and traditional sight is impossible. In this case, the device uses a video camera to translate images into electrical impulses that are sent via the tongue to the brain where portions of the organ devoted to touch and sight work together to turn the information into an image that the blind person can actually see. It takes advantage of groundbreaking work by a UW-Madison scientist that showed the brain will reprogram itself to accept and use different sensory signals — in this case touch instead of sight — to replace signals that can no longer be received due to injury or disease. (Ron Seely, Using the Tongue to Help Blind See, Wisconsin State Journal, Sunday, May 17, 2009, p. A11)

Reading this article was so helpful to me in breaking the bondage of believing that seeing with these eyes establishes a real world. The BrainPort provides an excellent reference point for the Workbook Lessons of A Course in Miracles, particularly in the beginning. This is why Jesus begins his Workbook where he does, 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. W-p1.51.1

This is a tough beginning because we take for granted, for granite, that seeing is normal, natural, universal, ordinary—in other words, seeing is believing.

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?

W-p1.151.2

To begin to shake this firm foundation, Jesus links thoughts with images.

My thoughts are images I have made. Whatever I see reflects my thoughts. It is my thoughts that tell me where I am and what I am. The fact that I see a world in which there is suffering and loss and death shows me that I am seeing only the representation of my insane thoughts, and am not allowing my real thoughts to cast their beneficent light on what I see. Yet God's way is sure. The images I have made cannot prevail against Him because it is not my will that they do so. My will is His, and I will place no other gods before Him.
W-p1.53:15

It is so hard to accept that what I see in the world is simply, and profoundly, a projection of my thought-images first formed in my brain, especially since the very beginning I was conditioned to believe that the world is real--"Mommy," "doll," "doggy."

It is so hard to look out through the window right now and see the trees and the grass and the sky and the clouds and the birds and the squirrels and say to myself, “This is not so; this is not real.” It is difficult to realize that this panorama all begins in the dark recesses of my brain where, in fact, no light can really enter.

Over the centuries, catching glimpses of the unreality of the world, we have come up with a number of metaphors:

A sleeping dream
An illusion
The shadows on the walls of Plato's cave
A mirage
A stage play
A movie
Life's but a walking shadow. . . a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (from Macbeth)
A hologram
A holodeck

These metaphors all tell me that I am seeing only my thought-images being projected out, and what I see is simply their reflection.

In contrast to believing in what the body’s eyes see, Jesus uses emphatic phrases like these, stopping our minds for a moment:

There is no world.

Thoughts are images I have made.


I am not a body. I am free.

For I am still as God created me.


Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein, lies the peace of God.


This is the way William Wordsworth (1770-1850) expresses it, demonstrating that while the infant is learning to connect words and images, he is all the time trailing clouds of glory, coming from God.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
(Ode, Intimations of Reality, lines 60-70)

Seen through the tongue, or the eyes, what we see covers up our connection with God. What Jesus is offering us is the opportunity to shift our faith from our senses to faith in the truth of what we are, the holy sons of God. What is real is seen with vision; what is unreal is formed in our brains, either through the body’s eyes or through the tongue. My goodness! It is the brain that is seeing, usually through the eyes, sometimes through the tongue. Who knows what it will use next. But the brain is not real, only Christ's vision is real.

Reason would tell you that the world you see through eyes that are not yours must make no sense to you. To whom would seeing such as this send back its messages? Surely not you, whose sight is wholly independent of the eyes that look upon the world. If this is not your vision, what can it show to you? The brain cannot interpret what your vision sees. This you would understand. The brain interprets to the body, of which it is a part. But what it says you cannot understand. Yet you have listened to it. And long and hard you tried to understand its messages. When I manage to let go and stop listening to the brain’s interpretation, I am free to hear and see with the Savior’s vision.
T-22.l.2:3-12

Though one can read the science over and over again, it still requires somewhat of a leap of faith to grasp the idea of "seeing" through the tongue. Simply, the patterns of light picked up by the camera are converted by a tiny computer into electrical pulses across 100 stainless steel electrodes. Users say it feels similar to touching a weak battery to your tongue, a bubbly or tingling sensation. The pulses are spatially encoded, meaning the person receiving those signals on the tongue can perceive depth, perspective, size and shape. That information is translated by the brain into images — fuzzy images, because of the low resolution, but images nonetheless. Those who have used the device explain that they perceive the objects in front of them, separate from their own bodies. (Seely, p. A11)

The BrainPort helps me to see (Whoops, notice that we are so ingrained with the idea that seeing is believing that we use “see” as a metaphor for understanding) that I don’t even see only with my eyes. I can see with my tongue as well. This reminds me that when I was talking about this with my wife, Christine, I read to her my working title, “What I Seem to See in the World is Simply a Visible Picture of Neural Activity Taking Place, Invisibly, in the Dark Recesses of my Brain,” and she said immediately, “No, just call it, Stick out your tongue and look at me.”

In the beginning of this essay, I used the phrase “unequivocal evidence,” and I have to chuckle now because it demonstrates again how ingrained it is that we think that seeing could possibly offer proof that there is a real world out there. Ironically, the word “evidence” comes from the Latin vident, “to see” meaning “plain or clear to the sight, or understanding.” Jesus, of course, sees this connection.

The mad illusion will remain awhile
in evidence, for those to look upon

who chose to come, and have not yet rejoiced
to find they were mistaken in their choice.
W-p1.155.3:2

“Equivocal” comes from the Latin equi, “equal” and voc, “voice,” meaning “having two or more interpretations.” However, “unequivocal” means “unambiguous, clear, having only one possible interpretation.” And what is significant for us is that its root meaning is “voice,” reminding us that there is only one Voice, the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit.

Yet you must learn to doubt their evidence
will clear the way to recognize yourself,
and let the Voice for God alone be Judge
of what is worthy of your own belief.
He will not tell you that your brother should
be judged by what your eyes behold in him,
nor what his body's mouth says to your ears,
nor what your fingers' touch reports of him.
He passes by such idle witnesses,
which merely bear false witness to God's Son.
He recognizes only what God loves,
and in the holy light of what He sees
do all the ego's dreams of what you are
vanish before the splendor He beholds.
W-p1.151.7

In summary, this is Joel Goldsmith expressing the continual translation of the visible picture into the reality in his masterpiece, The Infinite Way.

Spiritual illumination may be attained by living constantly in the consciousness of the presence of perfection, by the continual translation of the visible picture into the reality. We are being faced with discordant appearances all through our days and nights, and these must immediately be translated through our understanding of the “new tongue,” the language of Spirit.

Every incident of our daily experience offers fresh opportunities to use our spiritual understanding, and each use of the spiritual faculties results in greater spiritual perception, (the Savior’s vision) which in turn reveals more and more of the light of Truth. “Pray without ceasing. . . . And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Translate the pictures (thought-images) and incidents of daily existence into the new tongue, the language of Spirit, and consciousness will expand until translation occurs without even taking thought. It becomes a habitual state of consciousness, a constant awareness of Truth.


Only in this wise can we find our lives unfolding, harmoniously from the center of our being without taking conscious thought. Instead of our existence being a continual round of “demonstrations,” it becomes the natural, harmonious, joyous unfoldment of good. Instead of repeated efforts to make good come to us, our every good unfolds to view from the depths of our own being without conscious effort, either physical or mental. We are no longer dependent on a person or circumstance, nor even on our personal effort. Spiritual illumination enables us to relax our personal effort and rely more and more on Divinity unfolding and revealing Itself as us.
(Joel Goldsmith, The Infinite Way, Marina del Rey, CA., DeVorss & Co., p.43)

And now I find it very helpful to read Lesson 92, Miracles are seen in light, and light and strength are one.

Lesson 92 is primarily in blank verse. I say “primarily” because the first two paragraphs are in prose, and the remaining paragraphs morph into the poetic stanzas of blank verse. From Lesson 91 to 97 Jesus is in the transition of moving from prose to blank verse, and Lesson 98 is entirely in poetic form. Here is Lesson 92.

The idea for today is an extension of the previous one. You do not think of light in terms of strength, and darkness in terms of weakness. That is because your idea of what seeing means is tied up with the body and its eyes and brain. Thus you believe that you can change what you see by putting little bits of glass before your eyes. This is among the many magical beliefs that come from the conviction you are a body, and the body's eyes can see.

You also believe the body's brain can think. If you but understood the nature of thought, you could but laugh at this insane idea. It is as if you thought you held the match that lights the sun and gives it all its warmth; or that you held the world within your hand, securely bound until you let it go. Yet this is no more foolish than to believe the body's eyes can see; the brain can think.

It is God's strength in you that is the light in which you see, as it is His Mind with which you think. His strength denies your weakness. It is your weakness that sees through the body's eyes, peering about in darkness to behold the likeness of itself; the small, the weak, the sickly and the dying, those in need, the helpless and afraid, the sad, the poor, the starving and the joyless. These are seen through eyes that cannot see and cannot bless.

Strength overlooks these things by seeing past
appearances. It keeps its steady gaze

upon the light that lies beyond them.
It
unites with light, of which it is a part.
It sees itself. It brings the light in which
your Self appears. In darkness you perceive
a self that is not there.
Strength is the truth about you; weakness is
an idol falsely worshipped and adored
that strength may be dispelled, and darkness rule
where God appointed that there should be light.

Strength comes from truth,

and shines with light its Source has given it;

weakness reflects the darkness of its maker. It is sick
and looks on sickness, which is like itself.
Truth is a savior and can only will
for happiness and peace for everyone.
It gives its strength to everyone who asks,
in limitless supply.
It sees that lack in anyone would be
a lack in all. And so it gives its light
that all may see and benefit as one.
Its strength is shared, that it may bring to all
the miracle in which they will unite
in purpose and forgiveness and in love.

Weakness, which looks in darkness, cannot
see
a purpose in forgiveness and in love.

It sees all others different from itself,
and nothing in the world that it would share.
It judges and condemns, but does not love.
In darkness it remains to hide itself,
and dreams that it is strong and conquering,
a victor over limitations that
but grow in darkness to enormous size.

It fears and it attacks and hates itself,
and darkness covers everything it sees,

leaving its dreams as fearful as itself.
No miracles are here, but only hate.
It separates itself from what it sees,
while light and strength perceive themselves as one.
The light of strength is not the light you see.

It does not change and flicker and go out.
It does not shift from night to day, and back

to darkness till the morning comes again.

The light of strength is constant, sure as love,
forever glad to give itself away,

because it cannot give but to itself.
No one can ask in vain to share its sight,
and none who enters its abode can leave
without a miracle before his eyes,
and strength and light abiding in his heart.

The strength in you will offer you the light,

and guide your seeing so you do not dwell

on idle shadows that the body's eyes
provide for self-deception. Strength and light
unite in you, and where they meet, your Self
stands ready to embrace you as Its Own.
Such is the meeting place we try today
to find and rest in, for the peace of God
is where your Self, His Son, is waiting now

to meet Itself again, and be as one.

Let us give twenty minutes twice today

to join this meeting. Let yourself be brought

unto your Self. Its strength will be the light
in which the gift of sight is given you.
Leave, then, the dark a little while today,
and we will practice seeing in the light,
closing the body's eyes and asking truth
to show us how to find the meeting place
of self and Self, where light and strength are one.

Morning and evening we will practice thus.

After the morning meeting, we will use

the day in preparation for the time
at night when we will meet again in trust.
Let us repeat as often as we can
the idea for today, and recognize
that we are being introduced to sight,
and led away from darkness to the light
where only miracles can be perceived.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breathe in, Breathe out: Your Connection with Eternity

This morning, a bright, breezy day in late April, I was sitting on the couch, looking out the window, watching the birds come and go from the feeder laden with black sunflower seeds, and I became aware of my soft breathing. I became increasingly conscious of breathing in and breathing out.

Then I flashed on the brilliance of Michael Brown’s book, The Presence Process: A Healing Journey into Present Moment Awareness. His book engages his reader in a process that enables you to become increasingly aware of each moment. The central part of the process is sitting quietly and connecting your breathing for 15 minutes, twice each day, once just after arising, and once just before going to bed.

We connect our breathing naturally. In other words, we breathe in and out without pausing between our breaths. We breathe gently applying slight effort only to our in-breath. The out-breath is automatic and relaxed. It is useful to visualize a fountain: energy is only required to push the water into the air because gravity will automatically bring it down. Our in-breath is the water being pushed up and our out-breath is the water effortlessly returning to earth. Even though we apply slight effort to our in-breath and relax during our out-breath, it is important to make sure both our in-breath and out-breath are evenly lengthened in duration and that there are absolutely no pauses between them. We must intend to breathe with our inhale and our exhale being one continuous breath--one continual flow. We must not in any way breathe abnormally or attempt to exaggerate our breathing pattern. (Michael Brown, The Presence Process, Namaste Publishing, Vancouver, CA., 2005)

Now I was curious to give this breathing pattern a number, to quantify it. I grabbed a stopwatch and counted the number of times I connected my breathing during one minute: 11 times. At a bare minimum, then, during the course of, say, an 18 hour day, it's 18X60X11=11,880.

This is such a gift because by simply becoming aware of connecting my breathing from time to time as I walk through the day, I am reminded of my Inner Presence; I am reminded that I am the Christ; I am reminded that I am in the world but not of the world. I am of God, His perfect Son, and everything is reminding me of my holiness, my wholeness, my divinity. Here is Jesus expressing this in Lesson 267, My heart is beating in the peace of God.

Surrounding me is all the life that God
created in His Love. It calls to me
in every heartbeat and in every breath;
in every action and in every thought.
Peace fills my heart, and floods my body with
the purpose of forgiveness. Now my mind
is healed, and all I need to save the world
is given me. Each heartbeat brings me peace;
each breath infuses me with strength. I am
a messenger of God, directed by
His Voice, sustained by Him in love, and held
forever quiet and at peace within
His loving Arms. Each heartbeat calls His Name,
and every one is answered by His Voice,
assuring me I am at home in Him.

W-p.2.267.1

His Voice is the Holy Spirit. The root meaning of spirit comes from the Latin, spirare, meaning “to breathe.” The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. When you think about it, our voice is simply breath, exhaling from our lungs, passing through our “voice box,” and shaped into words by our throat, mouth, and lips. The words formed are simply hot air. In His Text, Jesus refers to this as a puff of madness. (T-20.lll.8:4) Are we going to listen to this puff, our feeble voice, or attend to the holy breath of God?

Amazing, this is from today's lesson.

Let my own feeble voice be still, and let
me hear the mighty Voice for Truth Itself

assure me that I am God's perfect Son.
W-p.1.118.2:2

The moment I become aware of my breathing, I slip into present moment awareness, receptive to the Holy Spirit, the Voice for God. In this state of awareness, all thoughts that have no source in reality fall away, and I experience forgiveness.

Peace fills my heart, and floods my body with
the purpose of forgiveness
.

~~~Dear Reader, look up from this writing and breathe in, breathe out.

This opportunity awaits me each time I remember to connect my breathing, and this opportunity is available to me all during the day. How often do I avail myself of this chance to step out of time into eternity each minute, each hour of the day? Do I become aware once, twice, 15 times? 100? Yet, look at how simple it is to give myself this gift.

The little breath of eternity that runs through time like golden light is all the same; nothing before it, nothing afterwards.
T-20.lV.5:8

This Child in you does not ask for more than just a few
instants of respite; just an interval
in which He can return to breathe again
the holy air that fills His Father's house.
You are His home as well. He will return.
But give Him just a little time to be
Himself, within the peace that is His home,
resting in silence and in peace and love
.
W-p.1.182.5:4-7

Lesson 97 declares I am spirit.

You are the spirit in whose mind abides
the miracle in which all time stands still;
the miracle in which a minute spent
in using these ideas becomes a time
that has no limit and that has no end.
Give, then, these minutes willingly, and count
on Him Who promised to lay timelessness
beside them. He will offer all His strength
to every little effort that you make.
Give him the minutes which He needs today,
to help you understand with Him you are
the spirit that abides in Him, and that
calls through His Voice to every living thing;
offers His sight to everyone who asks;
replaces error with the simple truth.

W-p1.97.4

Give Him the minutes
. . .a minute spent. . .

This is a holy instant, but a holy instant is not simply an interval between the past and the future, for that would make it of time. The word interval derives from the Latin, inter, meaning "between," and vallum, meaning "wall." This is a temporal and spatial reference, whereas a holy instant takes you out of time and space, being the state of mind of the peace of God.

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.
T-15.Vl.6:1-4

God is with me. He is my Source of life,
the life within, the air I breathe, the food
by which I am sustained, the water which
renews and cleanses me.

W-pll.222.1:1-4

When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and as right as breathing. There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer. Only your own volition seems to make deciding hard. The Holy Spirit will not delay in answering your every question what to do. He knows. And He will tell you, and then do it for you. You who are tired will find this is more restful than sleep.
T-14.IV.6:1-7

Breathe in and breathe out, Dear Reader, and connect with eternity.