Sunday, July 01, 2012

Making Explicit the Meaning of Forgiveness: My Facebook Statuses for June, 2012

Two, or three, years ago, I set up a Facebook account, but I never really did much with it, until Sunday 8 April, Easter Sunday, auspiciously, when it occurred to me that I could post a Status statement on Facebook, daily.  This would enable me to express myself regarding the meaning of forgiveness, and spread the word about the incredible event coming up in the fall, International Forgiveness Week and Weekend of Perfect Peace, September 14-23, 2012, at the Healing Center of Endeavor Academy, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

It was clear to me that each day I could make explicit the meaning of forgiveness in a pithy statement, and at the same time, encourage readers to send in their statements expressing their forgiveness experiences.

We will collect these statements and make them available during the Event, as well as possibly publish them in a book.

Please write about your experience of forgiving thoughts in 600 words, or less, and Submit Your Essay, using this link:

It was also clear to me that on the first of each month, I would post a blog containing the statements from the preceding month.


Greg Allman, 64, of The Allman Brothers Band, has just published his memoir, “My Cross to Bear.”  In an interview, he talks about his problems with drugs, alcohol, and relationships (7 divorces).  He still thinks every day about his brother, Duane, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on 29 October 1971, and once in a while he can feel his presence.

“I can tell when he’s there, man,” Allman said.  “I’m not going to get all cosmic on you.  But listen, he’s there.”

He went on to express how his recent trials (a liver transplant) caused him to turn his life over to God. 

I just said, “Man, I ain’t drivin’ this mule no more. I’m not in the driver’s seat, you take the wheel.  Take it where it’s supposed to go.” 

He goes on to say, “And every time something changes and everything goes just fine.  Everything works out.”

Again, in the vernacular, he is echoing Lesson 155, I will step back and let Him lead the way. 

One of my practices that is very helpful to me while reading A Course in Miracles is to pay very close attention to the reference for each word.  For example, take a word as simple as the pronoun “you.”  Each time I come across it, I ask myself, what is the reference?  Generally, there are three possibilities:

1.     “You,” the mechanism of decision
2.      “You,” who has decided to be in alliance with the ego
3.      “You,” who has decided to be in union with the Self, the Holy Spirit, Jesus

So, let’s practice on this paragraph:

My holy brother, I would enter into all your relationships, and step between you (deciding to be in alliance) and your fantasies. Let my relationship to you (mechanism) be real to you (mechanism), and let me bring reality to your perception of your brothers. They were not created to enable you (deciding to be in alliance) to hurt yourself through them. They were created to create with you (deciding to be in union). This is the truth that I would interpose between you (deciding to be in alliance) and your goal of madness. Be not separate from me, and let not the holy purpose of Atonement be lost to you (deciding to be in alliance) in dreams of vengeance. Relationships in which such dreams are cherished have excluded me. Let me enter in the Name of God and bring you (deciding to be in union) peace, that you (deciding to be in union) may offer peace to me
. Chapter 17.111.10

Dear Reader, may you (deciding to be in union) now experience peace.

The mind training offered by A Course in Miracles enables us to reverse our thinking.  Here is one way of expressing this reversal.  When I am in alliance with my ego, I let the situation determine my goal.  When I am in union with the Holy Spirit, my goal determines my situation.

Now, for each of us we can bring up our pet grievance, but right now I am going to keep it simple.

When I am in alliance with my ego, an extremely hot and humid day (situation) can determine my negative experience. (goal) 

When I am in union with the Holy Spirit, my peace of mind (goal) determines my response to the heat. (situation)

(In case you think this is a Duh! example, please consider that Christine enjoys the heat and humidity).

Here’s Jesus, taking my hand,  instructing me:

Without a clear-cut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen.  The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen.
  Chapter 12.VI.3:1, 4:1

I suspect that the true meaning of “salvation” has become rather obscure, especially when it is associated with Jesus being our savior with bleeding palms outstretched, “dying for our sins.”. 

Here is the real Jesus, expressing the meaning of salvation in one sentence in His Course in Miracles.

Salvation is the recognition that the truth is true, and nothing else is true.
  Lesson 152.3

The true meaning of salvation turns on the word “recognition” from the Latin, cogito, meaning, “I think.” 

The ego always speaks first, and when I am in alliance with my ego,   I am making up a false world of time and space.  And when I “recognize,” or think again, I unite with my Self, experiencing truth, and in this shift, I am saved from my thoughts having no source in reality.

Salvation is the recognition that the truth is true, and nothing else is true. 

While reading Lesson 151, All things are echoes of the Voice for God, in A course in Miracles, I came across this sentence:

You have often been urged to restrain from judging not because it is a right to be withheld from you.   You cannot judge.  You merely can believe the ego’s judgments, all of which are false.
Lesson 151.3

So, all along, I misunderstood judgment, thinking that I should restrain myself from judging my brother’s behavior, a pretty much impossible task.  I always thought that’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 7: 

“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” 1  All along I have been using the wrong reference for judgment.

However, Jesus makes it clear what judgment really means.  Whenever I believe what my body’s eyes show me is true, I am in judgment.

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! How can you judge?

Jesus makes it clear that when I decide to let go of my alliance with my ego seeing through the body’s eyes, I can unite with truth.

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.

Whenever I trust my body’s eyes to show me reality, I am judging. 

I was in a bookstore yesterday, and while browsing, I came across the novel, “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins.  I had seen the movie, and I was curious about the writing.

In the first few pages, the narrator, Katniss, talks about her younger sister, Prim, telling us that some time ago, she brought home a stray cat, but it was scrawny, its belly swollen with worms, and his coat was crawling with fleas,” and she tried to drown it, but Prim’s crying saved it.  After that, Buttercup would hiss at her.  She went on to say that, recently, when she cleaned a kill, she would feed Buttercup the entrails.  After that, he stopped hissing at her.

Now, this next passage cracked me up:

“Entrails.  No hissing.  This is the closest we will ever get to love.”

Now, that pretty much sums up the bargaining that takes place in the world, in the duality, choosing the positive over the negative, all in the name of forgiveness.

“Entrails.  No hissing.  This is the closest we will ever get to. . .forgiveness.”

Yesterday, I was reading one of my favorite cartoons, “Pickles” by Brian Crane.  In this cartoon, the humor often turns on the domestic squabbles between Pearl and Earl.  My son, Stephen, kidding me about my “domestic squabbles” with Christine, sometimes calls me “Pickles.”

Well, this time Earl is trying to pass off his weed patch as a garden, and his wife calls it a “mess.”

He tries to counter with this:

“As Henry David Thoreau said, ‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.’”

To which Pearl responds, “Yeah, and I see a husband who’s full of baloney.”

I had never heard this Thoreau quotation before and thought it rather  profound.  Then, I heard it echoed in this passage from Lesson 153, In my defenselessness my safety lies.

We would not let our happiness slip by
because a fragment of a senseless dream
happened to cross our minds, and we mistook
the figures in it for the Son of God;
tts tiny instant for eternity. 8

. . .the fragment of a senseless dream.

Oh, what a pickle we’re in.

Forty years ago today, June 8, 1972, this iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph was taken in Vietnam by Associated Press photographer, Nick Ut.  It  shows crying children, including 9-year old Kim Phuc, center, running down the street, and she was wailing, “Too hot!  Too hot,” following a napalm attack on their village.

She was naked because blobs of sticky napalm melted through her clothes and layers of skin like jellied lava.

Thirty percent of Phuc’s body was scorched by third-degree burns.  “Every morning at 8 o’clock, the nurses put me in the burn bath to cut all my dead skin off,” she said.

Obviously, her life has been difficult, even aside from the burns.  She was forced to drop out of medical school by communist authorities because of the propaganda associated with the “napalm girl.”

Now, Kim Phuc, 49, is living in Canada with her husband and two sons.

She is a living example of forgiveness.

She says, “I’m so thankful that I can accept the picture as a powerful gift.  Then it is my choice.  Then I can work with it for peace.”

When we are in alliance with our ego, it is our plight to walk through the world defensively, fearful of what may occur in the next moment, forgetting that the world we made up is our own projection, an illusion.  “Illusion” comes from the Latin, ludere, meaning “to play, to mock.” 

Now, what we do in alliance with the ego doesn’t seem very playful, but it is a mockery of what is real.  We are simply playing childish games.  This is ludicrous.  (Please note the prefix, lud.)

In his letters to the people of Corinth, St. Paul says:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  1 Corinthians 13:11

And in His Course, Jesus says:

We will not play such childish games today.
You who have played that you are lost to hope,
abandoned by your Father, left alone
in terror in a fearful world made mad
by sin and guilt; be happy now. That game
is over. Now a quiet time has come,
in which we put away the toys of guilt,
and lock our quaint and childish thoughts of sin
forever from the pure and holy minds
of Heaven's children and the Son of God. Lesson 153.13

It is most helpful to me to recognize that the word “illusion” comes from the Latin, ludere, meaning to play to mock.  It is helpful in two ways.

First, I can recognize that the negative aspects of this game I am playing when I ally with my ego, identifying enemies, and going after them with pointed sticks, like a child is simply that, a game.

Secondly, I am grateful to see that when I unite with my Self, putting away childish toys, that I am saving my Self from my self.  That is, I can recognize that I am “in” the world and not “of” the world, enabling me to still be playful, but not taking my projections quite so seriously.  And now I can play with insouciance, a light-hearted unconcern.

Salvation can be thought of as a game
that happy children play. It was designed
by One Who loves His children, and Who would
replace their fearful toys with joyous games,
which teach them that the game of fear is gone.
His game instructs in happiness because
there is no loser. Everyone who plays
must win, and in his winning is the gain
to everyone ensured. The game of fear
is gladly laid aside, when children come
to see the benefits salvation brings. 
Lesson 153.12

In A Course in Miracles, it is astonishing to see how masterfully Jesus blends form and content, medium and message, sound and sense.  Just listen to the repetition of the “s” sounds in this passage:

And in defenSeleSSneSS we Stand Secure,
Serenely Certain of our Safety now,
Sure of Salvation; Sure we will fulfill
our choSen purpoSe, aS our miniStry
extendS itS holy bleSSing through the world.
Lesson 153.9

The repetition of the “s” sounds reassures us, hushing us, stilling us, quieting our narrative voice, enabling us to experience our serenity and our security.

And all the time, the rhythm is, primarily, a gentle slack STRESS, 5 sets per line.  This is called blank verse, the “blank” referring to non-rhyming poetry.

And IN de FENSE less NESS we STAND se CURE,
se RENE ly CER tain OF our SAFE ty NOW,
SURE of sal VA tion; SURE we WILL ful FILL
our CHOSE en PUR pose, AS our MIN i STRY

This rhythm, like our softly beating hearts, slows us down, enabling us to be receptive to the Voice for God.

(Please note I said “primarily” slack STRESS; in line 3, /SURE of/ is a variation, indicating certainty.)

And now you can read the passage, again, experiencing the perfect blend of sounds and sense.

And in defenselessness we stand secure,
serenely certain of our safety now,
sure of salvation; sure we will fulfill
our chosen purpose, as our ministry
extends its holy blessing through the world.

(For more information on blank verse in the Course, please go to my web site: and click on “The Rhythm and Reason of Reality.”)

There can be no doubt that Shakespeare was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write his 37 plays, primarily in blank verse, and 154 sonnets.

There can also be no doubt that echoes of Shakespeare reverberate throughout A Course in Miracles.  For example, look at this passage:

So is the story ended. Let this day
bring the last chapter closer to the world,
that everyone may learn the tale he reads
of terrifying destiny, defeat
of all his hopes, his pitiful defense
against a vengeance he can not escape,
is but his own deluded fantasy.
Lesson 153.14.3,4

This clearly echoes Macbeth’s soliloquy, bemoaning the tragedy of his life:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. Act 5, Scene 5:19-28.

Notice that Jesus also refers to an ego-driven life as a “tale.”

This is such a powerful juxtaposition because, for us, it is a reminder that we are ministers of God and that, unlike Macbeth, we can experience the truth, recognizing the unreality of the dream. 

It is powerful, right now, to imagine that Jesus is now speaking to Macbeth.

God's ministers have come to waken him
from the dark dreams this story has evoked
in his confused, bewildered memory
of this distorted tale. . .(Told by and Idiot) God's Son can smile
at last, on learning that it is not true.

Some 30 years ago, somewhere in the middle of 4 years of psychoanalysis, I had these two types of recurring dreams:  stuck dreams and gliding dreams.  In the stuck dreams, I would be walking up stair steps and come to a wall, or try to fit through a trapdoor and get stuck; in the gliding dreams, I would be in some sort of craft, without instruments, just gliding over the tree tops.

The other night, I had a dream that was an unusual combination of both.  In the beginning, I was a stuck, trying to walk up a hill in chest-deep snow in sandals and finally my foot was mired in the mud, and I simply could not take another step; to my right were two couples, friendly and laughing, and I asked them if they knew a way out of here, and suddenly, all of us were gliding in some sort of craft, and I was laughing, and loving it.

I see this dream as a direct result of the mind-training of A Course in Miracles, and for me, it is a parable:  When I am stuck in my alliance with ego thoughts,  I can stop, be still and trust that I can glide out of it by listening for the Voice for God.

In stillness we will hear God’s Voice today
without intrusion of our petty thoughts,
without our personal desires, and
without all judgment His Holy Word. 
Lesson 125.2:1

I have said so many times, “Thank God for the Course.”  Yesterday was one of those days.  It started out with our car’s starter mal-functioning, then having it towed to a mechanic, and then the estimate, and then all sorts of things happened that took me out of my peace, to say the least.

So, at one point, I sat down and slowly read Lesson 155, I will step back and let Him lead the way, and I found this passage particularly helpful.

And now He asks but that you think of Him
a while each day, that He may speak to you
and tell you of His Love, reminding you
how great His trust; how limitless His Love.
In your Name and His Own, which are the same,
we practice gladly with this thought today:
I will step back and let Him lead the way,
For I would walk along the road to Him. 14

Ah, peace, and then the day went on, and I was back and forth, peaceful and frustrated.

Then, I realized that for a good part of my life, I didn’t even realize that I had a way out, that there was an alternative to my dreaming, that I could actually step out of duality. 

This passage reminded me of that long period of time.

Others have chosen nothing but the world,
and they have suffered from a sense of loss
still deeper, which they did not understand.  4:4

And then I felt such gratitude, a warmth infusing my chest, making way for peace, again.

Once again, I find it most helpful to look at the references for the words Jesus uses in His Course in Miracles.  Look at this passage from Lesson 157, Into His Presence would I enter now.

From this day forth, your ministry takes on
a genuine devotion, and a glow
that travels from your fingertips to those
you touch, and blesses those you look upon.
A vision reaches everyone you meet,
and everyone you think of, or who thinks
of you. For your experience today
will so transform your mind that it becomes
the touchstone for the holy Thoughts of God. 5

. . .will so transform my mind. . .

For me, the reference to mind is consciousness, awareness.

“I,” is synonymous with mind, consciousness, the mechanism of decision.

Our consciousness is always deciding either to ally with the ego, or to unite with the Self, and the ego always speaks first.

When I enter the presence of God, I am shifting, converting, transforming from my alliance with the ego to my union with my Self.  I then become the “touchstone” for the Thoughts of God.

A touchstone is a “black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold by the color of the streak produced by rubbing it with gold.”

Power is awareness, Self, Life, God, whatever name you give it.  It is the foundation, the ultimate support of all that is, just like gold is the basis for all gold jewelry.  Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I AM THAT, p. 30.

So, a thought is either pure gold when we decide for union, or fool’s gold when we decide for alliance.

Last night I came across a book in the library, “In the Spirit of T’ao Ch’ien,” a book of poems by four American poets.  Apparently, T’ao Ch’ien (365-427 C.E.) is a major figure in the Chinese poetic tradition.

Anyway, I came across this passage by Charles Rossiter.

That renowned scholar
with all his books
thinks he’s important,
three degrees, two cars,
six figure income.
He forgets
his body’s got nine holes
just like the rest of us.

. . .nine holes?

It took me a moment, and then I counted them up.

Go ahead, count ‘em.

See….I had never thought of that before.

That cracked me up.  Then, I put it all in perspective when this passage from the Course came to mind:

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

I don’t think that I could sit down and watch one minute of a professional golf tournament, but a quotation from Tiger Woods in the newspaper today caught my eye.

“You have to stay patient, stay present, and just make a lot of pars.”

That echoes one of my favorite sentences:  I am “in” the world and not “of” the world. 

So, while I am in the world, in the right state of mind, present, serene, I will simply do the next thing as it unfolds, like shooting pars.

I recently read for the first time, this quotation from Emerson.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of his solitude.

Into Christ’s Presence will we enter now,
serenely unaware of everything
except His shining face and perfect Love.
Lesson 157.9

Here is a poem by the poet, Antler.  I invite you to read it within the context of this sentence from A Course in Miracles:

The savior’s vision serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look upon only what the present holds. 


Blue spruce so covered with snow
The tree seems more show
    than tree
While behind the snowy branches
Near the trunk
    halfway up
A cardinal perches
Watching deepening snow
    droop the boughs
Till they’re snowed over
Forming a windproof airspace
As far as the snow drifted in
While light still filters through
    deep blue
Peaceful, still,
As wind roars outside
    and snow plummets
Making the cardinal feel
Safe for now from the blizzard.

The savior’s vision serves a wholly open mind, unclouded by old concepts, and prepared to look upon only what the present holds.  And the door is held open for the face of Christ to shine upon the one who asks, in innocence, to see beyond the veil of old ideas and ancient concepts held so long and dear against the vision of the Christ in you. Chapter 31.Vll.13

The sight of Christ is all there is to see.  The song of Christ is all there is to hear.  The hand of Christ is all there is to hold.  There is no journey but to walk with Him.  Chapter 24.V.7

While reading this poem by Denise Levertov (1923-1997), I imagined that she wrote it, sitting at her desk, looking out of her window, experiencing a very peaceful, serene, state of mind.

In Summer

When the light, late in the afternoon, pauses among
the highest branches of the highest trees,
they stir a little as if in pleasure.  Light and a passing breeze
become one and the same, a caress.  Then the lower ranches,
leaves or needles in shadow, take up the lilt
of that response, then green with its hint of blue forming
what, if it were sound, could be called
a chord with the almost yellow of those
the sunlight tarries with.

What she is “seeing” is a reflection of her peaceful state of mind, having let go of, forgiven, all projections obscuring this peaceful state.

Christ's vision is a miracle. It comes
from far beyond itself, for it reflects
eternal love and the rebirth of love
which never dies, but has been kept obscure.
Christ's vision pictures Heaven, for it sees
a world so like to Heaven that what God
created perfect can be mirrored there.
The darkened glass the world presents can show
but twisted images in broken parts.
The real world pictures Heaven's innocence.
Lesson 159.3

I have always loved this poem by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963).

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Of course, the poem turns on the word “depends,” from the Latin, dependere, meaning to hang.  Our well being hangs on our capacity to shift, miraculously, from seeing with the body’s eyes to seeing with Christ’s Vision.  In his poem, Williams simply, profoundly, sees the scene before him, objectively, without past associations, or future concerns.  He sees it as it is.

Christ's vision is the miracle in which 
all miracles are born. It is their source, 
remaining with each miracle you give, 
and yet remaining yours. It is the bond 
by which the giver and receiver are 
united in extension here on earth, 
as they are one in Heaven.  Lesson 159.4

In A Course in Miracles, a miracle is defined as “a shift in perception,” a shift from seeing with the body’s eyes to seeing through the eyes of Christ.  The word, “miracles,” comes from the Latin, miraculum, meaing object of wonder. 

And this is the best part:  the word, “wonder,” comes from the Sanskrit, meiros, meaning to smile and smego, to laugh.  When you experience a miracle, you sit and smile.

You are indeed essential to God's plan. 
Without your joy, His joy is incomplete. 
Without your smile, the world cannot be saved. 
While you are sad, the light that God Himself 
appointed as the means to save the world 
is dim and lusterless, and no one laughs 
because all laughter can but echo yours.
Lesson 100.4


Yesterday morning I showed up at the Cheese Factory Restaurant at 7:30 to do one of my jobs:  stocking, putting away the Sysco delivery.  But Sysco had not yet arrived, being two hours late.

I grabbed the Course and went outside and sat on a bench in the lovely garden, listening to the birds, watching the breeze stir the trees, while reading Lesson 158, Today I learn to give as I receive.

A friend walked up, and I said to him, “I am sitting in this peaceful garden, and cursing Sysco.”

I return to reading the Lesson, and this passage stood out:

See no one as a body.  (Particularly, a Sysco driver).  Greet him as the Son of God he is, acknowledging that he is one with you in holiness.  8

There we are.  I look up and feel peaceful.  Now I can see the light reflected in his image in my mind.  In the next moment, I may revert to my grievous thoughts and see only darkness in him.

And so it goes, back and forth, moment to moment.

But, at least, I know that what I see in him I am putting there.

Of course, there is no world, but there does appear to be a world projected by the body’s eyes, while all the time there is only the world seen through the eyes of Christ.

Jesus uses rich metaphors to carry us beyond the false world to the true world, and that is the root meaning of metaphor, “meta,” beyond, and “phor,” to carry. 

Look at the metaphors Jesus uses to carry us beyond our false, projections in Lesson 159, I give the miracles I have received

treasure house

golden treasury

the center of redemption

the hearth of mercy

Christ’s Vision is the holy ground in which
The lilies of forgiveness set their roots. 

a garden

the store of miracles

the everlasting sanctity of God

Prominently displayed on the front wall of the Session Room at Endeavor Academy in the Wisconsin Dells is this passage from A Course in Miracles.

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.  Chapter 21.ll.2

This came to mind when I came across this passage in a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are.

At the end of a long life dedicated to teaching mindfulness, the Buddha, who probably had his share of followers who were hoping he might make it easier for them to find their own paths, summed it up for his disciples this way:  “Be a light unto yourself.”  Intro., xvii

This echoes what Master Teacher said one time in Session:

“I will stand here for a moment, so that you can catch your true reflection.”

I am so grateful for Master Teacher, brightly shining, demonstrating to us that our awakening is solely our responsibility; no one can do it for us.


I like this:

A student once said:  “When I was a Buddhist, it drove my parents and friends crazy, but when I am a buddha, nobody is upset at all.”

This reminds me of one of my favorite lines:

“Let the light do the work.”

And you who bring the light will come to see
the light more sure, the vision more distinct.  Lesson 157.7

“I” don’t have to do anything, except get out of the way.  By being present, experiencing the light, I am receptive, listening, and I trust I will be guided.  For example, I find that when I am in a serious conversation with someone, I focus on listening to them, and often I find myself saying, “It just came to me to say…,” and I trust that, although “I” had no idea what to say.

Not my will but Thine.

The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain.  It is the only part there is.  We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that in doing so we are joining our will with the Will of God.  Lesson 49.2,3

Janus, the two-faced Roman god, is a perfect metaphor for consciousness, particularly when Janus is represented as a coin.

If you look at the coin, facing you on edge, it represents “you,” consciousness, the mechanism of decision, deciding either to ally with the ego mind, or to unite with the Self.  Allying with the ego, you will see with the body’s eyes; uniting with the Self, you will see through the eyes of Christ.

In alliance with the ego, Janus experiences this projection:

I am a stranger here.  A stranger to himself can find no home wherever he may look, for he has made return impossible. Lesson 160.5

And, he can count on the miracle.

In union with the Self, Janus will experience this reflection:

His way is lost, except a miracle will search him out and show him that he is no stranger now.  The miracles will come.  For in his home his Self remains.  And it will call Its Own unto Itself in recognition of what is Its Own.  Lesson 160.6

I walked out of a movie theater last night and realized, again, why the mind training offered by A Course in Miracles is “required.”  We so easily enter into the dream, thinking it is real, just as I entered so easily into the movie, forgetting that it was not real.  While watching the movie, I immediately got caught up in the drama taking place on the screen, responding to events unfolding as if they were real, booing and hissing and laughing, completely forgetting that I was sitting in a movie theater.

I forgot that those were actors in makeup, outfitted by costume designers, speaking lines from a script, surrounded by camera men, guided by a director.

At the end of the day’s shooting, they removed the makeup, changed clothes, and walked out of the sound stage, stepping back into their lives.

We do the same thing every morning when we wake up from a sleeping dream, take a shower, put on our clothes, and resume our drama, reciting our scripts, stepping into the waking dream. 

How easily we forget that the images we are projecting out there are no different than the projector spitting out images on the screen in the movie theater.  Our programming, our conditioning, is so powerful, so unconscious, that we desperately need to wake up.  Jesus, of course, offers us a way.

This is a course in miracles.  It is a required course.  Only the time you take it is voluntary.  Text.Intro.1:1-3

(My friend, Judy Kelley, read this Status and kindly sent me a paragraph describing her experience, enriching what I just expressed:

I once saw the play,  Jesus Christ Superstar. I walked out of the auditorium  feeling very moved by the story, the music, the drama. Then, as I walked through the theater bar on the way to the parking garage, I saw Jesus and Judas (the actors who played them) sharing a drink at the bar. So COOL! A perfect juxtaposition of the dream of the world and the reality of heaven. I thought... this is what's real, forgiveness, love. Such a relief!)

Thank you, Judy! 

While reading a book entitled, “Angels All Around,” by Lynn Valentine, I came across a very comforting passage by Cynthia Manke, and I mean comforting in the sense of the Latin “com” meaning with and “fort” meaning strength.

When I was only six years old, I was outside riding my bike when a bright light appeared in front of me, causing me to stop.  I stared into it and began to make out a figure within it.  Then facial features came into focus.  He smiled at me. 

“Do not be afraid,” he said. “There is nothing to fear.  Never fear anything.”

It was the purest love I had ever known, and it was more than something I felt on the inside.  It covered me and permeated me, running over me and through me at the same time.

When my father died, I was deeply hurt.  But then I remembered the angel’s words to me, and the same feeling that I had experienced when I was only six years old returned.  I felt total peace, total love, and total acceptance in exactly the same way I had felt it back then.  I realized then that my father was feeling that same total peace, total love and total acceptance that I had found in the light so many years ago.

So now I pass along the story to you.

Pass it on.

There is no death.  The Son of God is free.   Title, Lesson 163

Here I am determined to write a Facebook Status every day, and I became curious about the meaning of Status.  It comes from the Latin, “stare,” meaning to stand.  Now, it does not mean for me anything in reference to my social standing.  What comes to mind for me is summed up in this declaration by Martin Luther (1483-1546), bravely declaring to his accusers, “Here I stand.  I can do no other.”

In 1517, he had nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of a church, declaring his protestant views, thereby starting the Protestant Reformation.

Summoned by Pope Leo X to either renounce, or reaffirm them, he stood up and declared:

“Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe no wise to do anything against conscience.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.”

On May 25, 1520, there was issued the Edict of Worms, declaring Marin Luther an outlaw.

Now, I do not write these Statuses to be an outlaw; rather, I brought up Luther because of the connotation of standing squarely on my two feet, grounded, balanced, present, mindful, receptive to what comes to mind. 

Philip Chard, a prominent psychotherapist in Milwaukee, writes a column in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, entitled, Out of my Mind.”  A recent column is entitled, “Seeking serenity is nothing to fear.” 

His client, Karen, working in a very hostile, uncomfortable, work environment, found herself detaching from it, and slowing down and finding peace of mind.

“After work, she would often sit on her porch, sometimes for hours, reading, listening to music or watching dusk turn to night.”

Predictably, her behavior began to worry her family and colleagues.  She said she was fine.

“But they didn’t buy it.  Her laidback soul was an oddity.  For a young and capable person to be so tranquil appeared disconcerting, if not ominous.  In hopes of assuaging their concerns, she agreed to a mental checkup from ours truly.”

He goes on to say, “What struck Karen most was the lack of life perspective and kindness in her colleagues.  In fact, she had simply deviated from what is considered normal in our culture—frenetic activity, obsessive connectedness, hurry sickness, intense competition, materialism and tunnel vision.”

Reading this column, I was amused at the reaction of her colleagues and friends and family, having experienced that myself, as I slowly and steadfastly began to retrain my mind by means of A Course in Miracles.  Obviously, Karen is on the right path, and she is opening her mind for receiving the grace of God.

Grace becomes inevitable instantly in those who have prepared a table where it can be gently laid and willingly received; an altar clean and holy for the Gift.  Lesson 169.1

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar,  Mark Antony, after stirring the mob to mutiny in his funeral oration, is told by a servant that Octavius and his army have come to Rome to support him, and he says:

He comes upon a wish.  Fortune is merry,
And in this mood will give us anything. Act 3, Scene 2

This came flooding into my mind when I read this sentence in Lesson 161, Give me your blessing, holy Son of God.

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.  2

It is hard to believe that this world we make up through our body’s eyes is actually a wish fulfilled.  Yet, we see it because we wish to.  Antony wishes for war, and he will get war.

This is preposterous until we realize that the wish is the result of an habitual way of seeing, automatic, unconscious, conditioned, normal, natural, universal.

By simply becoming aware of t our wishing, we can learn to look at it, see it for what it is, and let it go, thereby allowing something else to enter in, choosing to see  through the eyes of Christ, wishing for peace instead of war.