Saturday, December 04, 2010


This morning I made a journal entry, and now this evening I am posting it. I am calling it, Pensees, Thoughts, because that is the name of my online journal. It is a carryover from my college days.

In the summer between my sophomore and junior years at Kalamazoo College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan, I won a Light Scholarship to travel abroad the following year, giving me my junior year to learn a language. I had three choices: French, Spanish, or German. I selected French and studied it intensively that fall, winter, and spring, and attended the University of Caen, in Normandy, for the summer of 1962.

I kept a journal of that incredible summer, and I called it Pensees, inspired by reading Blaise Pascal’s Pensees. In fact, I walked around saying one sentence from his book that I just loved:

Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.

The heart has its reasons that reason cannot know.

I just went a long way to explain the form of this post, expressing my thoughts, a simple journal entry.

* * *

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


God created me as an extension of His Thought.

His Thought manifests as consciousness, Mind.

It all comes down to my state of mind.

There are three:

The state of mind where I ally with the ego.

The state of mind where I unite with the Christ in me.

The state of mind where I find myself in between, i.e., the mechanism of decision, deciding between allying with the ego, or uniting with Christ.

It is always a question of where my awareness is, now.

If I am uniting with the Christ, then my awareness is truly now, and in this union I am experiencing peace and joy and truth.

If I am allying with my ego, it is in the past or future, and in this alliance I am experiencing the illusions of disaster and disunity and pain.

If I am in the state of mind, deciding, I am in between, experiencing indecisiveness.

The root meaning of decide comes from the Latin word, decidere, meaning “to cut.” When I decide for union, I cut away from any experience of alliance with the ego; when I decide for alliance, I cut away from any experience of union.

Here is Jesus addressing these decisions in His Text of A Course in Miracles.

What is temptation but a wish to make the wrong decision on what you would learn, and have an outcome that you do not want?
The reference for the pronoun “you” is the mechanism of decision.

It is the recognition that it is a state of mind unwanted that becomes the means whereby the choice is reassessed; another outcome seen to be preferred. You are deceived if you believe you want disaster and disunity and pain. The reference for this “you” is the you allied with the ego.

Hear not the call for this within yourself. But listen, rather, to the deeper call beyond it that appeals for peace and joy. And all the world will give you joy and peace. For as you hear, you answer. And behold! Your answer is the proof of what you learned. Its outcome is the world you look upon. (T-31.I.11) This is the “you” united with the Christ.

Thank God that I am not alone in making these decisions. God created the Holy Spirit to be the bridge between pain and peace, whispering to me forgiveness all through the day.

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-pll.7. What is the Holy Spirit? 1

Thank you, God, that I am not alone in making these decisions.

I have this strength in the face of temptation.

What is temptation but a wish to make
the wrong decision on what you would learn,

and have an outcome that you do not want?
It is the recognition that it is
a state of mind unwanted that becomes
the means whereby the choice is reassessed;
another outcome seen to be preferred.
You are deceived if you believe you want
disaster and disunity and pain.
Hear not the call for this within yourself.
But listen, rather, to the deeper call
beyond it that appeals for peace and joy.
And all the world will give you joy and peace.
For as you hear, you answer. And behold!

Your answer is the proof of what you learned.
Its outcome is the world you look upon.

Now I see the wisdom of Pascal's quotation, even though I certainly did not see it at the time.

Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.

When I decide to ally with the ego, I am tempted to use reason and logic to maintain my world, my dream, but mon coeur, my heart, my Self, the Christ, is knowledgeable in ways that la raison, reason, cannot know.

And, now, I can declare my decision to follow my heart.

I am God’s Son, complete and healed and whole,
shining in the reflection of His Love.

W-p11.14 Who am I? 1:1

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Experiencing the "Sleeping Sickness," and, Simultaneously, the Absolute Clarity of Mind

For the past couple of weeks, I have found myself sleeping more than being awake during the day. That is, instead of being awake, say 16 hours a day, and sleeping 8, I have been experiencing the reversal. At first, I just called it the “sleeping sickness” and went about my business. Then, I developed a rash on my left side, and my wife, Christine, took one look at it and said, “Go to the doctor!”

Yesterday, the doctor diagnosed my malady as Shingles, explaining that I must have had chicken Pox as a child, and the virus that caused it never left my body, being held in check by my immune system, but when it was compromised, the virus re-erupted as Shingles. She prescribed anti-viral pills that I am to take, 10 per day for 10 days.

The only reason to even mention this is because I am astonished to be walking around physically exhausted, but finding that my Mind is totally clear. My Mind is crisp and clear and clean. For example, I read passages from A Course in Miracles and experience it with complete clarity.

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


I use I AM to express that I AM God's creation, and my clarity of Mind is my direct experience of my inheritance.

I AM God’s Son, complete and healed and whole,
shining in the reflection of His Love.

In fact, right now I am writing this in the middle of my sickness; it is noon, I slept all morning, and now I am having a cup of coffee, writing with a clear head.

When I sit here and look out the window, I AM seeing differently than usual; it is as if I am seeing through all things, seeing a reflection of my Mind. That is, I am not stopping to look at each image, naming it. I would ordinarily mark it, judge it, with the associations of my ego-mind. For example, "This is my bird feeder, carefully protected from squirrels, that damn squirrel just got by the baffle." Instead, it is as if my ego-mind and body are laid aside for a moment, not constantly engaged in making images real. It is as if my body and brain are put on hold because of exhaustion, making way for seeing through.

Just before I started writing this, I read a section from the Text of the Course, entitled “The Anti-Christ.” Here are the first three sentences.

What is an idol? Do you think you know? For idols are unrecognised as such, and never seen for what they really are. That is the only power that they have.

And then I started thinking about exactly what an idol is, knowing it is not referring to movie stars, or the winners of “American Idol.” I looked up the very first reference to “idol” in the Text.

As you can hear two voices, so you can see in two ways. One way shows you an image, or an idol that you may worship out of fear, but will never love.

This is what I was looking for. An idol is simply an image that I have selected from the myriad objects in front of me, like the bird feeder, and in effect, because I selected this one over that one, I tend to worship it.

Of course, this is one of the first things that Jesus teaches us, Lesson 15, My thoughts are images I have made.

The other way shows you only truth, which you will love because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you have accepted it with love. Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. That is how God Himself created you; in understanding, in appreciation and in love.

This is what I am experiencing with clarity of mind, truth and understanding and love.

The ego is totally unable to understand this, because it does not understand what it makes, does not appreciate it and does not love it. It incorporates to take away. It literally believes that every time it deprives someone of something, it has increased. I have spoken often of the increase of the Kingdom by your creations, which can only be created as you were. The whole glory and perfect joy that is the Kingdom lies in you to give. Do you not want to give it?


Yes! I am attempting to give it now, Dear Reader, the joy of the Kingdom that is our inheritance.

And now there comes into my mind a sonnet I remember reading in college by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), It is a beauteous evening, calm and free.

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,

The holy time is quiet as a Nun

Breathless with adoration; the broad sun

Is sinking down in its tranquility;

The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea;

Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,

Thy nature is not therefore less divine:

Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

The narrator is expressing his clarity of Mind, seeing its reflection as he walks with the child in the evening at sunset.

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun

Breathless with adoration;
the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;

In the next four lines, even the thundering waves crashing on the shore cannot take him out of his clear mind.

The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea;
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,

And doth with his eternal motion make

A sound like thunder—everlastingly.

The narrator knows full well that she is a holy child of God, Divine.

Dear child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:

Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;
And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

And Jesus expresses this Divinity in this paragraph from His Text.

Come therefore unto me, and learn of the truth in you. The mind we share is shared by all our brothers, and as we see them truly they will be healed. Let your mind shine with mine upon their minds, and by our gratitude to them make them aware of the light in them. This light will shine back upon you and on the whole Sonship, because this is your proper gift to God. He will accept it and give it to the Sonship, because it is acceptable to Him and therefore to His Sons. This is true communion with the Holy Spirit, Who sees the altar of God in everyone, and by bringing it to your appreciation, He calls upon you to love God and His creation. You can appreciate the Sonship only as one. This is part of the law of creation, and therefore governs all thought.

There is one last thing I want to try to express about my experience of seeing through, and these words from Jesus in this passage help, Let your mind think with mine. It is as if I am experiencing Christ's presence in my head behind my eyes thinking with me, simply looking through the myriad objects in my view, taking no notice of any one thing, being free, and when we see another, it is direct eye-contact, no bodily image, saying silently, “Namaste,” as Wordsworth's narrator implicitly said to his Dear child, God being with thee when we know it not.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Casting Director, Remembering, Stops for a Moment, and Says to an Actor, "Namaste."

I have come to experience, miraculously, through the mind-training of A Course in Miracles the stillness of the peace of God. I have come to know that this experience of stillness is how God created me, how God created you. This is the reference point for declaring that I AM God’s Son.

I AM God’s Son, complete and healed and whole,
Shining in the reflection of His Love.
W-p11.14.What am I? 1:1

I find myself seeing “I Am, ” rather than "I am," ever since coming across this passage in Eckhart Tolle’s book, Stillness Speaks.

Your innermost sense of self, of what you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I AM that is deeper than name and form.
(Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks, (Namaste Publishing, Vancouver, CA, 2003), p. 3.

I AM not a body. I AM free,

For I AM still as God created me.
W-p1.Review VI.3:3-5

The word still carries two meanings, I continue to be, and I AM stillness.

I find myself expressing this most frequently as, I AM in the world and not of the world. It is always a matter of remembering not of and letting go of in, remembering that I AM God’s Son, Light and Love and Peace and Stillness, and letting go of the dream that I made myself a body, seeing through the body’s eyes, using my physical brain to project and then interpret what I see in my dream.

One way I persist in maintaining my dream is to cast my brothers in particular roles in my drama. It is as if I were a casting director facing a stage and behind the curtains are assembled my brothers, the Holy Sons of God. I call them out one-by-one and assign each of them roles, garb them in costumes and give them lines to speak, forgetting that a moment ago they were standing behind the curtain as God created them, forgetting that I am assigning them roles in my dream, making them characters as I would have them be and responding to them as if they were on a stage outside of my mind. When all the time, I am only seeing what I fashioned in the first place inside my mind.

Casting our brothers to play certain roles happens so rapidly that we are usually unaware that we are doing it; it just seems to be the way things are. An image appears and we deal with it, forgetting that we projected the image “out there” with a thought. These projections happen unconsciously.

They seem unconscious but because of the rapidity with which you choose to use them. W-p1.136.3:3

We make a choice each time we “look out” and see one of our projections. We choose between seeing through the body’s eyes, or through the eyes of Christ. We choose to see our brother as a body, or as the face of Christ.

I want to slow down this automatic, unconscious, rapid process of casting our brothers to play certain roles, and what comes to mind is Hamlet’s advice to his players. Just imagine that you were to stop for a moment and give each brother you assign a role his or her instructions. Be Hamlet for a moment and say to each actor in your drama:

Speak the speech I pray you as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. . . Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. . . Go make you ready.

Perhaps, this will slow us down a bit, pretending that we take time to instruct each player in our drama to play his part as we are assigning it as he steps from behind the curtain.

It is always a case of remembering that I am walking around in a play, a drama, of my own making. While all the time, I AM home in Heaven with my Father. I AM in this world and not of it, and my stay here on this worldly stage is temporary.

It is a delicate balance, this remembering and forgetting, because it is not a matter of either/or, it is both; it is the simultaneity of stepping into time and space from out of time, and while I AM walking around, remembering my true Home.

When I experience the stillness of I AM, it is a holy instant, and what I then see in the world is a clear reflection of what is in my healed mind.

Come to the holy instant and be healed,
for nothing that is there received is left
behind on your returning to the world.
And being blessed you will bring blessing. Life
is given you to give the dying world.
And suffering eyes no longer will accuse,
but shine in thanks to you who blessing gave.
The holy instant's radiance will light
your eyes, and give them sight to see beyond
all suffering and see Christ's face instead.
Healing replaces suffering. Who looks
on one cannot perceive the other, for
they cannot both be there. And what you see
the world will witness, and will witness to

And, if I think for a moment that a brother does not appreciate something I did, or said, I say to myself, before casting him as a villain,

It does not matter if another thinks
your gifts unworthy. In his mind there is

a part that joins with yours in thanking you.

Or, I look into a brother’s eyes, no matter the role I assigned to him, and say, silently, “Namaste, the Christ in me greets the Christ in you.” And in that moment, I fully remember that I AM not of this world.

There is a way of living in the world
that is not here, although it seems to be.

You do not change appearance, though you smile

more frequently. Your forehead is serene;
your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk
the world as you do recognize their own.


And here’s Shakespeare, again.

Jacques: All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances.

As You Like It, 2. 7. 139-167

May I be aware that I am totally responsible for all my players, their entrances and their exits, as I tell them now, Go make you ready.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bringing Into Application Presuming God and Being Glad!

(The title, of course, refers to the preceding blog post).

When I write an essay and post it as a blog, I am, of course, only doing it for myself. These essays often take several weeks to complete, after receiving the initial inspiration. Before, during and after writing one, I find myself bringing its central idea into application during the day, and by the way, “application” is the heart of Michael Brown’s 2010 New Year Letter: Sparkling Through Application. He makes it clear in his Letter what is very apparent to me, personally, and to the people around me and what is happening in the world, that this year is a very difficult year, but he assures us that towards the end of the year we will experience a great deal of light, much like moving through the night towards dawn.

Remember that as we move through the last moments of dawn toward the sunrise, there is great propensity for unconsciousness. It is important we remember this, realize the implications, and behave accordingly. Therefore, application, application, application.
(Michael Brown, p. 9)

From moment to moment, I am asking for help to come into alignment with my true Self, no matter what appears to be going on in my dream. I am trying to remember to practice presuming God. It is always a matter of remembering and forgetting, moment to moment.

As I expressed in my preceding post, I am determined to be aware of where my awareness is. That is, I am aware of being either the mechanism of decision, i.e., in transition from seeing through the body’s eyes (separation), allying with the ego, or seeing through the eyes of Christ, uniting with my true Self (healing).

Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome. Separation is overcome by union. It cannot be overcome by separating. The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. T-8.IV.5:3-8

This is why we are all powerful; we have the power to decide between Heaven or hell.

If I decide to see through my body’s eyes, I am walking around in time and space in fear, making my own hell.

Is it not evident that what the body's eyes perceive fills you with fear? Perhaps you think you find a hope of satisfaction there. Perhaps you fancy to attain some peace and satisfaction in the world as you perceive it. Yet it must be evident the outcome does not change. Despite your hopes and fancies, always does despair result. And there is no exception, nor will there ever be. The only value that the past can hold is that you learn it gave you no rewards which you would want to keep. For only thus will you be willing to relinquish it, and have it gone forever. T-25.II.1

If I decide to see through the eyes of Christ, my true Identity, I am experiencing timelessness and love, having forgiven what I saw through the body’s eyes.

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.


Jesus expresses exactly how we get the results of our decisions in a variety of ways:
1) Specialness, 2) hostage to the ego, or Host to God, and 3) self-concept vs Self.

1. Specialness

When consciousness is allied with the ego, seeing through the body’s eyes, it faces the enormous task of defending this decision. It does this by seeing itself as special.

Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended. T-24.I.5:1-4

This is the primary motivation for attacking your brother. The worse you see him, the better you are. It is always a matter of one-up-man ship; if I can see my brother as “down,” then I can see myself as “up.” This is a classic mistake in the dream.

For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is 'worse' than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you? T-24.I:6-10

Just after writing this section on Specialness, I stopped writing for the day and began reading the newspaper, and much to my surprise and delight, I came across this cartoon.

The regular font “I’s attack the italicized “I” who is different.

When I showed it to my wife, Christine, who did not know what I had just been writing about, she said, “They attack him because they think he’s special.”

Thank God that all is not lost because we engage in games of Specialness. The Holy Spirit can use these special situations as a means for correction.

The specialness he chose to hurt himself did God appoint to be the means for his salvation, from the very instant that the choice was made. His special sin was made his special grace. His special hate became his special love. T-25.VI.6:6-8

When I decide to ally with the ego, I create sons as my Father created me, but my son is a child of earth, a parody of god’s creation, and I am very protective of his specialness.

How bitterly does everyone tied to this world defend the specialness he wants to be the truth! No effort is too great, no cost too much, no price too dear to save his specialness from the least slight, the tiniest attack, the whispered doubt, the hint of threat, or anything but deepest reverence. This is your son, beloved of you as you are to your Father. Yet it stands in place of your creations, who are son to you, that you might share the Fatherhood of God, not snatch it from Him. What is this son that you have made to be your strength? What is this child of earth on whom such love is lavished? What is this parody of God's creation that takes the place of yours? And where are they, now that the host of God has found another son whom he prefers to them?T-24.VII.1

2. Hostage to the ego, or host of God

This is another way that Jesus expresses that we get the results of our decisions. When I decide to engage in one-up-man ship, I am, as the mechanism of decision, held hostage to the ego in time; when I decide to forgive these thoughts, I am hosting God, and this is my salvation.

I asked you earlier, 'Would you be hostage to the ego or host to God'? Let this question be asked you by the Holy Spirit every time you make a decision. For every decision you make does answer this, and invites sorrow or joy accordingly. When God gave Himself to you in your creation, He established you as host to Him forever. He has not left you, and you have not left Him. All your attempts to deny His magnitude, and make His Son hostage to the ego, cannot make little whom God has joined with Him. Every decision you make is for Heaven or for hell, and brings you the awareness of what you decided for. T-15.III.5

3. Self-concept vs Self

Finally, Jesus expresses specialness and salvation in another way—self- concept versus Self. As we have seen, our self-concept seems to be a hard-won sense of ourselves, a personality that we molded through years of seeming victories and defeats. Our self-concept is what we are expressing each time we use the pronoun “I,” and we steadfastly defend it against other “I’s” around us, thereby preventing us from knowing the truth, our true Self.

The concept of the self stands like a shield,
a silent barricade before the truth,
and hides it from your sight. All things you see
are images, because you look on them
as through a barrier that dims your sight
and warps your vision, so that you behold
nothing with clarity. The light is kept
from everything you see. At most, you glimpse
a shadow of what lies beyond. At least,
you merely look on darkness, and perceive
the terrified imaginings that come
from guilty thoughts and concepts born of fear.
And what you see is hell, for fear is hell

This is a result of the mechanism of decision allying with the ego, forming the self-concept. This prevents the awareness of the true alternative, uniting with the Self.

You are one Self, in perfect harmony
with all there is, and all that there will be.
You are one Self, the holy Son of God,
united with your brothers in that Self;
united with your Father in His Will.
Feel this one Self in you, and let it shine
away all your illusions and your doubts.
This is your Self, the Son of God Himself,
sinless as its Creator, with His strength
within you and His Love forever yours.


By becoming aware of your Self, your alliance with the ego is shined away.

Now, Dear Reader, I invite you to sit back, breathe in and breathe out, and decide to experience the peace of God.

I am going to end by emphasizing that we have all power in Heaven and earth as decision makers. We must not take this power lightly, or actually we should, if we take it to mean going towards the Light. We share this power with Jesus, and here He expresses His equality with us.

My mind will always be like yours, because we were created as equals. It was only my decision that gave me all power in Heaven and earth. My only gift to you is to help you make the same decision. This decision is the choice to share it, because the decision itself is the decision to share. It is made by giving, and is therefore the one choice that resembles true creation. I am your model for decision. By deciding for God I showed you that this decision can be made, and that you can make it
. T-5.II.9

If you wish to read Michael Brown's New Year Letter in its entirety, please click here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Presuming God and Being Glad!

In John 16, Jesus says,

Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; at that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 19,20

There is no doubt, of course, that He is in complete alignment, His mind is linked to God and to your Christ mind.

Now, two thousand years later in His Course in Miracles, Jesus has us practice being aware of this alignment by doing the Lessons, and here is an example, Lesson 237, Now would I be as God created me.

Christ is my eyes today, and He the ears
that listen to the Voice for God today.
Father, I come to You through Him Who is
Your Son, and my true Self as well. Amen.

In Matthew 5, Jesus says,

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 48

Being perfect has nothing to do with right or wrong, but simply being aware of your Oneness with God, your alignment, extending the love that you are; your perfection is guaranteed by God, and by receiving it, you can give it away, for giving is receiving.

In His Course, Jesus gives us this Lesson, today’s Lesson 225, in fact, God is my Father, and His Son loves Him.

Father, I must return Your Love for me,
for giving and receiving are the same,
and You have given all Your Love to me.
I must return it, for I want it mine
in full awareness, blazing in my mind
and keeping it within its kindly light,
inviolate, beloved, with fear behind
and only peace ahead. How still the way
Your loving Son is led along to You!

In this passage, the reader is also given an opportunity to practice alignment; we need the practice because we are usually, habitually, naturally, normally, out of alignment.

Father, I must return your Love for me.

Must is used, not because it is an obligation, not because I will be punished if I don’t, but I must, I want, to return God’s love for me in order to be in the experience I have always avoided, experiencing the love and peace of God. It is a practice because it is an unnatural experience, although, in reality, this aligning connection is the only natural experience there is. Alignment is experiencing the peace of God, now, completely abstracted from what I seem to be looking at, specifically, in time and space.

Complete abstraction is the natural condition of the mind. W-p1.161.2:1

However, we continue to experience things unnaturally because we separated from the aligning consciousness, and formed a separate “I.” We grew up making a little “I” separate from the part of us aligned with God. That this resulted in a false world of our own making is a well-kept secret. The little, limited “I,” the ego, is a disguised form of “I” aligned with God.

To this point, two referents for “I” have been defined: the “I” aligned with the Self, seeing with the eyes of Christ, and the “I” allied with the ego, seeing with the body’s eyes, separated from God.

Throughout His Course, Jesus addresses the third “I,” the mechanism of decision; this is the part of the mind that decides between separation and union. Jesus know full well that this decision is ours to make because we are free to choose.

Separation is overcome by union. It cannot be overcome by separating. The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. T-8.IV.5

In summary, while reading His Course, I want to be vigilant to the three possible referents for “I.”




When the “I” as the mechanism of decision, decides to see through the body’s eyes, it allies with the ego; when this “I” decides to see through the eyes of Christ, it unites with God.

These are states of mind, of course, and I like a term a friend of mine used the other day for the mechanism of decision, “the transition state.” When we are in the state of mind of deciding, we are in transition from one state to another, either moving from fear to love, or from love to fear; it is our decision, moment to moment.

“Decision” comes from the Latin, decidere, meaning to “cut off.” When “I” decide to ally with the body’s eyes, awareness of union with the true Self is automatically cut off; when “I” decide to unite with the true Self, awareness of alliance with the false self is automatically cut off. It is always either/or, no compromise. By uniting with the Self, “I” will to align with God’s Will.

Nothing God created can oppose your decision, as nothing God created can oppose His Will. God gave your will its power, which I can only acknowledge in honour of His. If you want to be like me I will help you, knowing that we are alike. If you want to be different, I will wait until you change your mind. I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching. T-8.IV.6:1-5

One way I have learned to listen to His teaching is to pay close attention to each pronoun and its reference in His Course. And I find His Review of the first 50 lessons to be very helpful in this respect. For example, in the title to Lesson 1, Nothing I see means anything, the referent for “I” certainly is not the “I” united with the true Self. It is a reference to the false “I,” the ego seeing through the body’s eyes, and what they see in time and space is not real.

In Lesson 13, the referent for “I” is an example of a part of the mind that decides, that chooses, the mechanism of decision.

But such a world is not real. I have given it the illusion of reality, and have suffered from my belief in it. Now I choose to withdraw this belief, and place my trust in reality. In choosing this, I will escape all the effects of the world of fear, because I am acknowledging that it does not exist. 13

The reference for “I” in the following passage from Lesson 36 is the “I” joined with the Christ within, seeing with His vision.

Seen through understanding eyes, the holiness of the world is all I see, for I can picture only the thoughts I hold about myself. 36

And here are the three referents for "I" are expressed in this particular paragraph in the Text.

The Christ in you is very still. He looks on what He loves, and knows it as Himself. And thus does He rejoice at what He sees, because He knows that it is one with Him and with His Father. (the eyes of Christ) Specialness, too, takes joy in what it sees, although it is not true. (the body's eyes) Yet what you seek for is a source of joy as you conceive it. What you wish is true for you. Nor is it possible that you can wish for something and lack faith that it is so. Wishing makes real, as surely as does will create. (the mechanism of decision) The power of a wish upholds illusions (the body's eyes) as strongly as does love extend itself. (the eyes of Christ) Except that one deludes; (body's eyes) the other heals. (the eyes of Christ) T-24.V.1

I offer the following as an opportunity to practice becoming aware of the three referents to “I” in the Review of the first 50 Lessons, remembering Jesus saying, I can teach you, but only you can choose to listen to my teaching.

I went through the lessons and grouped sentences into the following three categories:


Nothing I See Means Anything. The reason this is so is that I see nothing, and nothing has no meaning. 1 (The number after each sentence, below, simply refers to the Lesson in the Review in which it occurs.)

I have judged everything I look upon, and it is this and only this I see. 2

What I see is the projection of my own errors of thought. 3

If I see nothing as it is now, it can truly be said that I see nothing. 9

Since the thoughts of which I am aware do not mean anything, the world that pictures them can have no meaning. 11


I am willing to recognize the lack of validity in my judgments, because I want to see. 2

I choose to have my meaningless thoughts be replaced by what they were intended to replace. 4

When I have forgiven myself and remembered Who I am, I will bless everyone and everything I see. 7

Now I would choose again, that I may see. 9

Would I not rather join the thinking of the universe than to obscure all that is really mine with my pitiful and meaningless “private” thoughts? 10

I can therefore see a real world, if I look to my real thoughts as my guide for seeing. 11

I am grateful that this world is not real, and that I need not see it at all unless I choose to value it. 12

Now I choose to withdraw this belief in the illusion of reality, and place my trust in reality. 13

Why should I continue to suffer from the effects of my own insane thoughts, when the perfection of creation is my home? Let me remember the power of my decision, and recognize where I really abide. 14

It is illusions I choose when I try to see through the body’s eyes. Yet the vision of Christ has been given me to replace them. It is through this vision that I choose to see. 43


I can see only what is now. 9

But God has kept my inheritance safe for me. My own real thoughts will teach me what it is. 26

From my holiness does the perception of the real world come. 36

Seen through understanding eyes, the holiness of the world is all I see, for I can picture only the thoughts I hold about myself. 36

As I recognize my holiness, so does the holiness of the world shine forth for everyone to see. 37

I am blessed as a Son of God. 40

My Father supports me, protects me, and directs me in all things. His care for me is infinite, and is with me forever. 40

I am perfect because God goes with me wherever I go. 41

I am walking steadily on toward truth. There is nowhere else I can go, because God’s Voice is the only voice and the only guide that has been given to His Son. 49

And now we come to the title of this essay, Presume God and Be Glad! “Presume” comes from the Latin, praesumere, meaning “to take beforehand, to take for granted.” When I ask for help to be in alignment with God, then whatever occurs in time and space can be looked through, or as Jesus often says in the Course, overlooked, in effect, cut out, and the result is gladdening.

This morning I had this experience, and as I come to the end of writing this, I will express it this way.

I was sitting there, saying to myself, there is only this moment, and right now I am experiencing the peace of God.

(This expresses “I” uniting with my true Self.)

And then I experienced a situation with a brother that triggered negative thoughts.

(With incredible rapidity, “I” cut away from union to separation, allying with my false self, seeing through the body's eyes)

And then “I” (the mechanism of decision) stood still for a moment, and said to myself, “These thoughts are based on my conditioning, imprinting, and “I” (the mechanism of decision) am asking for help to let them go.”

(Soon, “I” was experiencing the peace of God, alignment, seeing with the eyes of Christ.)

And then I read again, listening to Jesus teaching me, the first sentence of today’s Lesson, 235, God in His mercy wills that I be saved.

I need but look upon all things that seem
to hurt me, and with perfect certainty

assure myself, "God wills that I be saved

from this," and merely watch them disappear.

* * *

Yesterday, I was caught in the act of presuming God and being extremely glad. Beth, our little neighbor, seven-years old, lovely and loving, was sitting on our deck with Christine and me on a beautiful late-summer afternoon, eating cookies and drinking juice, chattering away in her child’s innocence about her sisters and her cat, Jingles, and her new teacher and television programs and her Dad taking her for ice cream, and then she looks at me and says, “You’re doing it again.”

I said, “Doing what?”

She said, “That look in your eyes.”

I said, “What look?”

Then she stood up in right in front of me, her hands on her hips, and looking directly into my eyes, she said, “This one,” slightly staring and widening her eyes,” mirroring for me my expression of an easy, peaceful feeling, and I experienced that giving is receiving.

I realized that while she was talking, I would occasionally look up, gazing at the leaves in the high branches canopying our yard, watching the play of light and shadows of the leaves moving in the soft breeze, feeling the peace of God, seeing the reflection of the eyes of Christ, presuming God. Her gift to me was the recognition that what I was experiencing was being communicated through me to all that I looked upon, and I was exceedingly glad!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Being With Mighty Companions is a Tricky Endeavor

In His Course in Miracles, Jesus notes that as we walk the earth, we go with mighty companions beside us. (M-4.1.A.6:11) And this phrase is just right because we are joined with our brothers on this incredible mission of waking from the dream and coming into the experience of being in the world and not of the world.

Waking up from the dream means knowing there is no world and that we are as God created us, realizing that we habitually make up a world with our body’s eyes and brain and stubbornly persist in thinking that seeing is believing. Just yesterday, I came across a children’s book that explains how easily we are duped into believing that what our eyes see is the truth, describing how the eye sees.

Your eyes work by taking pictures of the world and sending them to your brain. Light from an object passes through the lens in the middle of your eye. The lens focuses the light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The retina changes light patterns into signals that it sends to the brain. The brain changes the signals into a picture to tell you what your eyes are seeing.
(Louise Spilsbury, Knowledge: How? Why? Where? When? London: Tall Tree Limited, 2007, p. 106.)

Such simp
licity. The brain, an organ that has no source in reality, is constantly telling you what your eyes are seeing. Hmmm. Nothing I see means anything. (Lesson 1)

Here is one way that Jesus expresses it in His Course.

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.I.2:9-12

Through the Course, we come to learn that physical sight is not so because, in truth, we can see only with vision, seeing through the eyes of Christ, experiencing the reflection of our True Identity as the holy Son of God.

Only your vision can convey to you what you can see. It reaches you directly, without a need to be interpreted to you. What needs interpretation must be alien. T-22.I.6:4-6

This is where our mighty companions come in. We join in this vision; we look at each other and say with our eyes, “Namaste,” the Christ in me greets the Christ in you, experiencing a warm-honey feeling in our stomachs.

And our mighty companions fulfill another function, just as important. My brother does or says something that totally upsets me. This can be seen as a great opportunity, if I use it right. If I can realize quickly enough that s/he is triggering an emotion based on my particular imprinting, I can utilize it. If I can see this behavior as a message triggering my experiences at an early age, then I can dismiss my brother as the messenger, and learn more about myself, looking at the message, feeling the emotion, and asking for help to let it go, coming into the realization that there is nothing outside of myself that can cause me pain or pleasure. It's always only my thoughts.

Here is an example, perhaps crude but real. When I was seven or eight years old, my dad took me to a shop, where a man, Bob Harsh, made bows and arrows. I was so excited to walk out of his shop with a custom-made bow and six arrows. My dad set up for me in our backyard a bail of straw with a paper target, and every day I spent hours learning to shoot my bow.

I would often lose arrows in the deep grass in the backyard, and one day, my neighbor, my “buddy,” Dick, said, smiling, “Here’s an arrow I found,” and I happily grabbed it by the end, only to find that he had smeared it in dog shit that was encrusting my palm, as he laughed heartily.

I felt humiliation and anger and scorn. To this day, I don’t like tricks to be played on me, and I tend not to play tricks on other people.

Some time ago, my wife, Christine, truly my mighty companion, pulled an elaborate trick on me. On my birthday the idea was to go out for dinner and then go to a play. After dinner, she looked into her purse and said, “I forgot the tickets.” We hurried home, went inside, and walking down the hallway, we heard a sound from the basement, glass breaking. My adrenaline hit, and I slowly walked down the stairs, assuming a karate posture, right hand in a fist, drawn back, left hand in front of my stomach to ward off an attack, my knees bent.

When I was half-way down the stairs, a group of family and friends who had assembled while we were at dinner yelled, “Happy Birthday!” And I yelled, “Fuck you!” The ancient imprinting of being tricked was triggered, and I felt humiliation and anger and scorn, especially since I was walking down the stairs as if I were a Kung Fu fighter.

This is just one example of a myriad of things that I must have experienced early on that imprinted deeply in my mind and trigger emotions in me today. I continued, unconsciously, to allow external events to trigger emotions, not realizing that I was the cause, preventing me from experiencing peace of mind. The key is to learn to take full responsibility for my reactions, and dismiss the messengers as quickly as possible, my mighty companions.

And so in each moment, I am seeing my brother, either through the body’s eyes, as the brain interprets based on the past, or through the vision of Christ; I crucify myself, or I resurrect; I ma miserable, or at peace; it is always my choice. I am totally responsible; I am not a victim of the world I see. (Lesson 31)

This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience,

and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.

And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for,

and receive as I have asked.

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

To make a mistake means, literally, "to take an error as true," and error comes from the Latin, errorem, meaning “to wander, go astray.” I am totally responsible for wandering from vision to physical sight based on past shit, and I can always ask for help to get back on the mark.

And this brings me back to my bow and arrow. On the mark is an archery term that comes from Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. When an archer fired at a target and missed the bull's eye, the scorekeeper yelled "khata," sin, meaning that the archer was off the mark. He is simply giving him information, giving him helpful feedback.

When the scorekeeper pulled out the arrow, he yelled "bisha," evil, simply indicating exactly where the arrow landed in reference to the bull's eye, telling the archer how far he was off the mark, helpful information enabling him to make a correction, to correct his error, so that he can be on the mark with his next shot.

Sin and evil took on quite different meanings over time, while the original meaning is simply helpful information that enables me to make a slight correction from seeing with the body's eyes to seeing with vision.

Sin is a block, set like a heavy gate, locked and without a key, across the road to peace. No one who looks on it without the help of reason would try to pass it. The body's eyes behold it as solid granite, so thick it would be madness to attempt to pass it. Yet reason sees through it easily, because it is an error. (T-22.III.2-5) Everything the body's eyes can see is a mistake, an error in perception, a distorted fragment of the whole without the meaning that the whole would give. And yet mistakes, regardless of their form, can be corrected. Sin is but error in a special form the ego venerates. It would preserve all errors and make them sins. (T-22.III.4:3-6)

And here is the function of the Holy Spirit, the great Corrector.

My present happiness is all I see.

Unless I look upon what is not there,
my present happiness is all I see.
Eyes that begin to open see at last.
And I would have Christ's vision come to me
this very day. What I perceive without
God's Own Correction for the sight I made
is frightening and painful to behold.
Yet I would not allow my mind to be
deceived by the belief the dream I made
is real an instant longer. This the day
I seek my present happiness, and look
on nothing else except the thing I seek.

With this resolve I come to You, and ask
Your strength to hold me up today, while I
but seek to do Your Will. You cannot fail
to hear me, Father. What I ask have You
already given me. And I am sure
that I will see my happiness today.


This makes it pretty simple because I have already been given what I ask for.

Finally, to keep it real holy, holding a grievance against a brother is like focusing on the spot of bird shit on the windshield, rather than taking in the magnificent view.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Deciding to be Totally Objective is a Subjective Decision

Soon after the disciples had participated in the feeding of the multitude by setting the seven loaves before them and feeding the four thousand, they were in a boat with Jesus, and yet they were concerned, realizing that they had forgotten the bread, and reasoning among themselves. Jesus, fully aware of their doubts, said to them:

Why do you reason because you have no bread?
Do you not perceive nor understand?
Is your heart still hardened?

Having eyes, do you not see?
And having ears, do you not hear?
And do you not remember?
Mark: 8:17,18

Jesus had taught them to see with vision, rather than with human eyes, yet He knew full well that now they were not being mindful of the things of God because they were still caught up in seeing with the eyes of man and hearing with human ears, experiencing what they wished to see and hear.

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.

For a moment they had forgotten that they were the holy Sons of God.

In the 2000 years since, unfortunately, not much has changed in the way we see and the way we believe. We are still reasoning and murmuring among ourselves, seeing with the eyes of man, rather than seeing with the eyes of Christ. That is why Jesus begins the Lessons of His Course in Miracles as He does.

Lesson 1: Nothing I see means anything.

Jesus knows that our mind-training must begin by learning to question what we consider an absolutely true proposition:

Seeing is believing.

What we see, and by extension, hear, touch, smell and taste, we believe to be real, and yet this seeing is illusory, false.

Yet eyes accustomed to illusions must
be shown that what they look upon is false.


These eyes are insane.

As you look with open eyes upon your world, it must occur to you that you have withdrawn into insanity. You see what is not there, and you hear what makes no sound. And the vision of Christ is not in your sight, for you look upon yourself alone. T-13.V.6:1-1,2

The purpose of the mind-training is to shift from believing in appearances to seeing with Christ vision, looking through appearances, experiencing knowledge. Jesus assures us that He went through the same experience, saying early in His Course:

I was a man who remembered spirit and its knowledge. I demonstrated both the powerlessness of the body and the power of the mind. By uniting my will with that of my Creator, I naturally remembered spirit and its real purpose. I cannot unite your will with God’s for you, but I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance. Only your misperceptions stand in your way. T-3.lV.7:3-8

As I undergo this mind-training moment-to-moment, I am being asked to be vigilant, keenly watchful of how I see things, exactly how I make up my illusory world, exactly how I misperceive.

I came across a poem the other day that helps me in my vigilance. Here is A Study of Two Pears by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955 ).


Opusculum paedagogum.

The pears are not viols,

Nudes or bottles.

They resemble nothing else.


They are yellow forms

Composed of curves

Bulging toward the base.
They are touched red.


They are not flat surfaces

Having curved outlines.

They are round

Tapering toward the top.


In the way they are modelled

There are bits of blue.

A hard dry leaf hangs
From the stem.


The yellow glistens.

It glistens with various yellows,
Citrons, oranges and greens
Flowering over the skin.


The shadows of the pears

Are blobs on the green cloth.

The pears are not seen

As the observer wills.

In his poem, Stevens is taking a stand, declaring that we must be absolutely objective in how we look at things, appearances. He ironically labels his call for objectivity opusculum paedogogum, a Latin phrase meaning “ minor lesson.” He is deliberately being ironic because in his mind, being objective is a major lesson in seeing.

In stanza l, he makes his point by catching us in our automatic associating, immediately bringing to mind images of comparison, viols, nudes, or bottles.

In the next four stanzas, the pears are carefully discerned, objectively, simply in terms of form and color.

And in stanza Vl, he summarizes his “objective” seeing in this manner:

The pears are not seen
As the observer wills.

Now, what Stevens does not see, but what we do, is that this last line is truly ironic. In spite of his determination to be objective, it is impossible. All seeing is subjective.

That is why deciding to be totally objective is a subjective decision.

Here is the first meaning of subjective in the dictionary: "belonging to the thinking subject, rather than to the object of thought."

The root meaning of subjective, objective, object is the Latin ject, meaning “to throw.” In each case, we are throwing out into the world what is first in our minds. This happens so rapidly that we think that what is “out there” is separate from what is “in here,” when, in fact, it is a duplication, and we are instantly, constantly being duped by this action of mind.

Projection is perception. 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. T-21.Intro.1:1-7

The root meaning of perceive comes from percipere, meaning "to take, to lay hold of, to receive." We rapidly catch what we forgot that we threw out in the first place. This rapidity makes our part in seeing unconscious, invisible. Making our illusory world is like playing catch with ourselves: we throw the ball in the air and then we catch it; we project an image and then we receive it.

I am grateful to Stevens because he is so determined to show us that we can have nothing to do with what we see, when, in fact, we can see that we have absolutely everything to do with what we see, always seeing our own projections.

The pears are not seen
As the observer wills.

In the end, with our eyes, and our human mind, we can see ONLY As the observer wills.

Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.

In sharp contrast to Stevens’ quest for objectivity is Walt Whitman’s deliberate attempt to express himself subjectively. The great American poet (1819-1892) begins his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass, with this line:

And what I assume you shall assume.

This makes it clear that Whitman intentionally filters his poetry through his own experience and expresses these associations. A good example is his poem, When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed, his moving attempt to come to terms with his grief for the assassination in April of 1865 of his beloved Abraham Lincoln Here is the first stanza.

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,

I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring;
Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west,

And thought of him I love.

It is clear that for the rest of his life, particularly in the spring, Whitman will associate the lilacs and the western star with mournful thoughts of Lincoln. His subjective expression drives a powerful poem.

This dichotomy between objective and subjective poetry is obviously false. You have no choice but to express yourself, in effect, to CELEBRATE yourself, and there is nothing objective about this.

Lesson 2: I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me.

Now we come to the reason for taking you through this false, objective/subjective dichotomy. It provides a sharp contrast for understanding what it means to go beyond having eyes but not seeing, and having ears but not hearing.

Here is a poem by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963 ) that helps make this transition; it helps take us beyond.

A Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain water

beside the white


At first glance, this may appear to be an attempt at objectivity in the spirit of Stevens, just images, no commentary, no interpretation. The word depends, however, carries another connotation, as in, “My life depends on it.” Williams is saying that my life depends on seeing things exactly as they are. This echoes Lesson 268, Let all things be exactly as they are.

Let not our sight be blasphemous today,

Nor let our ears attend to lying tongues.

Only reality is free of pain.

Only reality is free of loss.
And it is only this we seek today.


I came across The Red Wheelbarrow in an anthology, and the anthologist, Douglas Hunt, intuited this larger meaning, the search for reality.

At the bottom of Stevens’ poetry there is wonder and delight, the child’s or animal’s or savage’s joy in his own existence, and thankfulness for it. He is the poet of well-being. His sigh of awe, of wondering pleasure, is underneath all these poems that show us the “celestial possible,” everything that has not yet been transformed into the infernal impossibilities of our everyday earthly seeing. He sits surrounded by all the good things of this earth, with rosy cheeks and fresh clear blue eyes, eyes not going out to you but shining in their places, like fixed stars.
(Douglas Hunt, The Riverside Anthology of Literature, (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1988), p. 938)

In this passage, Hunt reminds us that far beyond our dualistic ideas about seeing either objectively, or subjectively, i.e., the infernal impossibilities of our everyday earthly seeing, is the glorious celestial possibility of seeing with vision.

Today I see the world in the celestial gentleness with which creation shines. W-p11.265.1:4

The smallest leaf becomes as thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God's perfection.

Right now, today, we can see the shining of creation by shifting our awareness from our fearful, sightless eyes to the eyes of Christ, and then:

What is reflected there is in God’s Mind.
The images I see reflect my thoughts.
Yet is my mind at one with God’s. And so
I can perceive creation’s gentleness.

In quiet would I look upon the world,
which but reflects Your Thoughts and mine as well.
Let me remember that they are the same,
and I will see creations’ gentleness.


So much, indeed, depends on this shift from my seeing to Thy Seeing, from mine to Thine.

So much depends—peace and happiness and love—on seeing a red wheelbarrow with vision.

Jesus said to His disciples, And do you not remember?

Do not seek vision through your eyes, for you made your way of seeing that you might see in darkness, and in this you are deceived. Beyond this darkness, and yet still within you, is the vision of Christ, Who looks on all in light.


Christ's is the vision I will use today.

Each day, each hour, every instant, I
am choosing what I want to look upon,
the sounds I want to hear, the witnesses
to what I want to be the truth for me.
Today I choose to look upon what Christ
would have me see, to listen to God's Voice,
and seek the witnesses to what is true
in God's creation. In Christ's sight, the world
and God's creation meet, and as they come
together all perception disappears.
His kindly sight redeems the world from death,
for nothing that He looks on but must live,
remembering the Father and the Son;
Creator and creation unified.

Father, Christ's vision is the way to You.
What He beholds invites Your
memory to be restored to me. And this I choose,
to be what I would look upon today.


Learning to see with Christ vision is a restoration process, and now I want to be about it, looking up from this page, now, and seeing through appearances to the bright reflection of God’s creation.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Guy on a Cross

Recently, my friend, Diane Poe, asked me to read a draft of Guy on a Cross. I found reading it to be powerful and riveting, and its impact lingered in my mind for some time after wards. Now I want to share it with you.

* * *

Guy on a Cross

We hear a hammer hitting wood.
Guy is hanging on a cross, his friends just finishing up the job. They pick up their tools, getting ready to leave.

Friend 1: You OK up there, Guy? You need anything. Water?

Guy: No. I’m fine. Thanks. This is great, guys, I owe you. See you later.

Friend 2: Right, then. Well, we’re off. Hey you guys, want to get a beer, or something?

All: Yeah, great, let’s go.

Guy: So long, guys. Thanks again!

They go. One friend hangs back.

Pete: Say, Guy, can I ask you a question?

Guy: Sure, Pete. What’s up?

Pete: I’m sorry, Guy. I know you’ve explained it already; but I still don’t get it. Could you go over it one more time? For the dummies?

Guy: OK, here goes. The abridged version: I’m a sinner, right? I’m scum. I’m no good. Trash. Jesus was perfect, the Holy Son of God. He died for me. The only way I can show my love and appreciation for Him is to go through the same thing He did. I want to be perfect like He was, so I have to do what he did. Punishing myself is the only way I can get rid of my guilt. Expiate. Justify. There. Have I made myself clear?

Pete: Well, that’s the same thing you’ve been saying for the past few days. I understand the words, but I still don’t get it.

Guy: You will one day.

Pete: I guess. How long are you gonna be up there?

Guy: I don’t know. I’ll know when the time is right, though.

Pete turns to leave. Another friend enters.

Friend 3: I forgot my hammer. There it is. Hey, Pete. You coming with us?

Pete: Hey, can I ask you a question? Come over here.

They move to where Guy can’t hear them.

Pete: Do you get this? I mean, we didn’t actually nail him there, did we? We were just pretending, weren’t we?

Friend: Sure. You know Guy. He loves his drama. He’s fine. He’ll hang up there until he decided it’s time to get off. It’s up to him. I, for one, don’t want to stand here and watch him. Let’s go.

They leave.

Guy wriggles around a bit to get comfortable. Finds a position that is what he thinks is more comfortable. Looks up.
Guy: Wow. This isn’t too bad. Why didn’t I think of this before? It’s almost morning. It’s going to be a beautiful day. This is great.


Sun coming up. A cap is on the ground below him. Guy has dozed off. His body slumped down, head to one side. He wakes up.

Guy: Wow. Must have dozed off. Hmm. Sun’s coming up. This is going to be great…..

There it is! Oh man this is unbelievable. …

Wow is it bright. (squints) Right in my eyes. (Tries to avoid the sun). Guess I should have thought this out a bit more. Maybe faced south east .. Oh, man. Should have asked for a cap or something.

Looks down. Sees the cap.

Guy: Hmmm. How did that get there??

A lot of good that does me, down there on the ground. (pause)

Looks like it’s going to be a hot one. Bet I get a hell of a burn. Just my luck. Those stupid guys should have put me under a tree where at least I could get a little shade.

((looks around)

There’s a tree right over there! Why can’t I be over there? Hey! There’s another guy under that tree. Damn it! Some guys have all the luck. What’s that? Why is there a chair under his cross? Does he get to sit in that chair? Why does HE get to sit in a chair??? Damn it! (listens) And he has music!? DAMN IT!”


It’s hot, and Guy is sweating and has a sunburn.

Guy: Oh, God, is it hot! (he squirms a bit) Ouch! Man! I look like a lobster! I can’t get comfortable with this sunburn.

(looks around)

Hey, Mr. Cross under a Tree is gone! That’s not fair! He could have at least left me his chair.

God, is it hot! A breeze would be nice. (a breeze kicks up. He lifts his head to catch it, then flinches) Damn! That wind is blowing sand in my eyes. It’s stinging my sunburn! DAMN! (turns head to avoid the breeze. It stops)

Now I’ve got sand in my eyes. Thanks a lot!! And in my mouth! I NEED A DRINK OF WATER!!!!!

The sky darkens, and it begins to rain. It’s gentle, almost caressing him, washing away the sand. He enjoys it. He opens his mouth, gets a mouthful and spits it out to rid it of the sand. Then he takes a long drink. He makes happy sounds

Hey, that was great. This isn’t so bad after all.


Mid afternoon. A chair and small table are at the foot of the cross. There is food and drink on the table. The cap hangs on the chair.
Guy wakes up from his nap.

Huh?? Oh. Must have been dreaming. (yawns) Afternoon nap (a little laugh) I guess it wasn’t too bad considering I’m hanging on a cross in the middle of the desert with no food or water in sight. Hey, what’s that down there? Did someone….? (looks around) Is that for me? (looks at it suspiciously) Looks OK. I AM hungry. Haven’t had a drink all day. Well, except for the rain, if you can count that. It was more of a storm, if you ask me, and it left me cold and wet, and now my muscles are cramping!

JESUS!! I hate this!!! I never get anything I want! All I ask for is a little food, a drink of water…..hmmm.(looks down at the table, considers getting down, but a stubborn look comes over his face. Looks away)

I wonder what time it is.



Guy: It’s almost dark. At least with the sun down it won’t be so hot. And it might rain again. I could use another drink.

I thought the guys might come by. Get some pictures at least. Guess they’re too busy having a good time. All they seem to think about is doing what makes them happy. What a bunch of losers. At least I’m doing something with my life. (straightens himself on the cross, sighs)

I wonder where that other Guy went. He just upped and left. How’d he do that? What do you do? Just get tired of hanging on this stupid cross and get off? I mean, he’s nailed there just like I am, isn’t he?

(looks at his hands. He‘s holding on to the cross) Where’d the nails go? I told those guys to NAIL ME TO THIS CROSS, DAMN IT!! CAN’T ANYBODY DO ANYTHING RIGHT AROUND HERE??? I could have fallen off!!

(He sneezes, and moves his hand to rub his nose. He looks at his hand now in front of his face, surprised. He looks at his other hand, still holding onto the cross, and slowly moves it. He looks at both hands. Then, wondering, he looks down at his feet. He’s standing on a platform. He picks up one foot, looks at it, and puts it down. Repeats with the other. He looks around to see if anyone is watching. He looks at the table to see if the food is still there. It is. Cautiously he climbs down. He picks up the water and takes a long drink. He notices a blanket on the chair and wraps it around himself. Then he sits down at the table. He pulls the food toward him and picks up a piece of bread. He tears it apart. He stops. Looks back at the cross. He’s not sure what to do. He looks at the bread. Looks around him.)

Guy: (quietly) Thank you. .

Begins to eat.

Guy is on the cross, humming a little tune. Is wearing his hat. The blanket is draped over the cross piece. The table and chair is set up below him, food and drink on a clean white tablecloth. A shade tree is nearby
Guy’s friends walk by, laughing and talking. They call and wave to him as they pass. One stops to talk.

Friend 4: Hey, Guy. We’re going to a movie. Want to come along? It’s a good one. Got two thumbs way up.

Guy: No thanks, guys. I’m going to be up here for another couple of hours.

Friend 5: You sure? You’ve been on that cross a lot lately. What’s going on, anyway?

Guy: Oh, nothing, really. It’s just something I have to do. Guilt, you know. Shame.

Friend 6: Oh, sure. I get it. (doesn’t) Well, hang in there. I mean, good luck!

Guy: Thanks.


Same guys come by from the other direction, laughing and talking about the movie. They stop to talk to Guy.

Friend 7: Hey, Guy, you missed a really great movie. It was right up your alley.

They all have comments about the movie.

Friend 8: We’re going to get a drink, Guy. Want to come along? You don’t have to stay there, do you?

Guy: Thanks, guys. I appreciate it. I need to stay here for a bit longer. You all go ahead. Have a good time.

Friend 9: Hey, Guy. I feel bad that you’re up there on that cross while we’re down here going to movies, laughing and having a good time. You sure you’re ok?
Guy: I’m fine. Don’t worry. This is something I have to do.

Friend 10: You mean, like, you think God told you to do this?

Guy: (as the others stop their conversation and listen) Yeah. Yeah. That’s it. God told me to do this.

Friend 10: OK, Guy. Well, we’ll see you later.

Guy: Later.


Guy is sitting at the foot of his cross, having a snack, maybe listening to an iPod. Suddenly he looks off as though he hears someone coming. He quickly hides his food and drink, puts away the iPod and gets back on the cross


Guy is on the cross. He is watching his friends playing cards below. They are comfortable with him and no longer think him out of the ordinary. They occasionally ask him if he wants to sit in on the next hand. Or they ask him if he wants a drink. He almost agrees, but then refuses

Guy: No, I’d better not.


Guy is on the cross. A group comes in from off right, excitedly talking.

Guy: Hey, what’s going on?

Voice: It’s Jesus! He’s coming!. Guy straightens up, getting ready for an audience with Jesus. He looks off left, expectantly.
Jesus comes in, talking to the crowd. Guy tries to catch his eye. He writhes and moans. Jesus is busy with the others. Finally Guy gets off his cross, picks it up and joins the crowd behind Jesus, still trying to get his attention. Unsuccessful, he tries to make his way in front of Jesus. Finally he throws himself and his cross on the ground in front of Jesus.

Jesus: (looking at Guy) Hey, Guy, you ought to let go of that thing.

Guy: What?

Jesus: You ought to let go of that thing!

Guy: What?


Guy: What? (It’s not that he doesn’t hear. The entire idea is incomprehensible to him. He really has no idea what Jesus is saying.)

Jesus: “LET GO OF IT!!”
Guy, still not understanding, picks up his cross and takes it back to its place. He gets back on it. Jesus and the crowd leave.


Guy is on the cross, feeling lonely. A group comes in, arguing about something. They decide to ask Guy for advice. He gives them an answer and they leave happily. Guy straightens up a bit and is proud of what he has done. More guys come in to ask questions. Soon they are sitting at his feet, listening, asking questions. They think he is very wise. They praise him. Some bring gifts to put at his feet.


Guy is talking to the crowd from his cross. A small group comes in and criticizes him, asking what he thinks he’s doing. Why is he on that cross? What is his teaching? Why aren’t these people working? Guy has no answer. “His” group defend him at first, then become confused and begin listening to the newcomers. As the newcomers leave, Guy’s crowd follows, listening intently. One comes back to pick up his offering and takes it with him. Guy is dumbfounded.



Guy is on his cross. Jesus comes in and looks at him. Guy looks at Jesus.

Guy: What?

Jesus laughs softly.

Guy: WHAT?

Jesus: That’s really not what I had in mind, you know.

Guy: What?


Guy is on the cross. Jesus stands far to the right, looking at him. Guy looks at Jesus. Jesus holds out his hand, inviting Guy to join him. Guy hesitates, shrinking back, clutching at the cross. Jesus smiles at him. Guy gets off the cross slowly and takes a few steps as Jesus watches. Guy slowly gets closer, reluctantly; he stops, looking back at the cross. He’s undecided. He looks longingly at his cross, then at Jesus. This goes on for a few moments, with Guy becoming increasingly upset. Slowly he first leans toward the cross, then takes a small step toward it. Still looking at Jesus, then, he backs up to the cross, feeling for it as he gets closer. He touches it, wraps his arms around it, clings to it, increasingly more and more upset. Weeping openly now, he totally embraces the cross, looking at Jesus, who is still smiling at him.

The Last Scene
A bunch of guys are sitting or lying around a low fire. It’s just coals, really, and it’s cold. They are quietly talking and laughing. Maybe they’re camping.

One bends over the fire to blow on it, hoping to stir up a flame. He puts in a few sticks.

Friend 1: Hey, the fire’s almost gone out. We need more wood. It’s going to get cold tonight.

Friend 2: We’ve already used all we brought with us, and we’ve already searched for more on the ground.

Friend 3: Any ideas, anybody?

Guy: (He‘s been sitting among the others and we don‘t realize who he is until he stands up)
Anybody got an axe?
Guy walks over to his cross, which is leaning against their equipment, and drags it out.

Guy: Somebody help me with this.

One hands Guy the axe while others help him take it apart and throw it into the fire.

We hear the sound of an axe hitting the wood, and see the fire grow larger as the others crowd around it appreciatively.

One starts to laugh, quietly. Others join in; the laughter grows. Finally everyone is laughing with joy. It grows quiet, then one cackles, and it starts again.