Saturday, September 01, 2012

Making Explicit the True Meaning of Forgiveness

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.
These are my Status postings for August, 2012.

It is very helpful for me to be aware of either seeing through the body’s eyes, comparing and judging and projecting, or seeing through the eyes of Christ, catching a pure reflection of a peaceful state of mind.  This passage expresses this peacefulness very nicely.

The mirror is thoroughly egoless and mindless.  If a flower comes, it reflects a flower; if a bird comes, it reflects a bird.  Everything is revealed as it is.  There is no discriminating mind or self-consciousness on the part of the mirror.  If something comes, the mirror reflects; if it disappears, the mirror just lets it disappear. . .no traces of anything are left behind. (Zenkei Shibayama (1894-1974, Japan)

Christ's eyes are open, and He will look upon whatever you see with love if you accept His vision as yours. The Holy Spirit keeps the vision of Christ for every Son of God who sleeps. In His sight the Son of God is perfect, and He longs to share His vision with you. He will show you the real world because God gave you Heaven. Through Him your Father calls His Son to remember. The awakening of His Son begins with his investment in the real world, and by this he will learn to re-invest in himself. For reality is one with the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit blesses the real world in Their Name. Chapter 12.VI.4:4-10

It is so sad that, rather than asking for too much, we ask for so little and settle for practically nothing, while all the time we could be walking the world with full awareness that we are as we were created by God.  Nevertheless, it is inevitable that we occasionally catch a glimpse, a Light, a song.  And these two passages express it well.

As mortals, we have tried to live in worlds of our own design, pulling many thoughts and moods around ourselves for comfort.  Through the centuries and  ages and eons with every comfort we cloak ourselves in, we become further from the One; layer upon layer, further and further, until finally, all that’s left to remind us is a memory of the One, a feeling way down underneath,  and bits  of light peeking out now and then through one another’s eyes. (Karen Goodman, Angel Voices, Simon & Schuster,New York, 1993), p. 101

Listen—perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten; and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered. Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you. Chapter 21.1.6

It is always a matter of awareness.  Am I aware of my petty self, perceiving false thought-images, or am I aware of my Self, experiencing a reflection of a peaceful state of mind?  Awareness of my self blocks the awareness of my Self.
It is always either/or, Yes/No, Help/Thank You.

When you attack a brother, you proclaim
that he is limited by what you have
perceived in him. You do not look beyond
his errors. Rather, they are magnified,
becoming blocks to your awareness of
the Self that lies beyond your own mistakes,
and past his seeming sins as well as yours.
Lesson 181.1

A brother once said this to me when I first came to Endeavor Academy, and it has always been very helpful to me:

“When I feel conflicted, I ask for Help; when I feel peaceful, I say Thank You.”

In studies of perception, there is a very helpful way of looking at things:   “figure” and “ground.”

If you focus on your hand, say, it becomes “figure” and everything else around you becomes “ground,” say, the computer monitor.

If you shift your focus from your hand and glance at your surroundings, say, the computer monitor, your hand becomes “ground” and the monitor becomes “figure.”

Obviously, we shift our focus thousands of times a day.

It is very useful to keep this distinction in mind while reading this passage in Lesson 181, I trust my brothers who are one with me.

Perception has a focus. It is this
that gives consistency to what you see.
Change but this focus, and what you behold
will change accordingly. Your vision now
will shift, to give support to the intent
which has replaced the one you held before.
Remove your focus on your brother's sins,
and you experience the peace that comes
from faith in sinlessness. This faith receives
its only sure support from what you see
in others past their sins. For their mistakes,
if focused on, are witnesses to sins
in you. And you will not transcend their sight
and see the sinlessness that lies beyond. 2

If I focus on a brother’s “sins,” his Christhood becomes “ground.”  When I focus on his Christhood, his “sins” becomes “ground.”  This can only happen when I become aware of my own Christhood. 

This shift in my perception is forgiveness.

There is only now.  There is only this moment, an interval between the past and the future.  I am sitting here, quietly, breathing in and breathing out, my feet planted squarely on the floor, grounded.  And in this moment, now, my focus on my false thoughts has gone away, and with pure intent for peace, reaching for the Thoughts of God, focusing on my sinlessness, I am receptive.

Therefore, in practicing today, we first
let all such little focuses give way
to our great need to let our sinlessness
become apparent. We instruct our minds
that it is this we seek, and only this,
for just a little while. We do not care
about our future goals. And what we saw
|an instant previous has no concern
for us within this interval of time
wherein we practice changing our intent.
We seek for innocence and nothing else.
We seek for it with no concern but now. 
Lesson 181.3

(And now I’m laughing, because just after writing this peaceful thing, Christine and I had one of those crazy, meaningless arguments about nothing, and I am marveling at how quickly we can lose focus.)

I just told her that prior to the craziness, I was peaceful, and she said she was in Light, and we laughed and hugged, and it was all over.

I don’t know how often I have said, “Thank God for A Course in Miracles.
This morning I was in a meeting, and a brother was going on and on about something that made me so angry my stomach started churning.

When the meeting was over, I went home, still seething, and said to myself that I had given myself the next few hours to write and read, and how could I do that in this state of mind?

I sat down on the couch in misery and said I’ve got to read something to pull myself out.

I read this passage from Lesson 181, I trust my brothers who are one with me.


 So, for a little while, without regard to past or future, should such blocks arise we will transcend them with instructions to our minds to change their focus, as we say:

It is not this that I would look upon. 6:3,4

It is obvious that my brother is not the problem; s/he is not “out there.” What I am seeing in him/her is a projection of blocks in my own mind; “I” am the problem, not him/her.

I trust my brothers, who are one with me. 5

And we will also use this thought to keep us safe throughout the day. 7:1

By this practice, we are being kept safe from our own projections.

We do not seek for long-range goals. As each obstruction seems to block the vision of our sinlessness, we seek but for surcease an instant from the misery the focus upon sin will bring, and uncorrected will remain. 7:2,3

Ah, there it is. . .surcease an instant from the misery. . .Now, for a moment, I have that easy, peaceful feeling, and I can keep working it as the day goes on.  And now I am able to write this with a clear head.

“Thank God, I learned to forgive through A Course in Miracles.”

I came across this quotation in Facebook, today.

The more real you get, the more unreal the world gets. 
John Lennon

I find that during the day, the more often I sit quietly and experience the peace of God, or do what I do from a grounded state of mind, the more I can see the dream for what it is.  Looking out at the world from this perspective, I don’t take quite so seriously the thought-images that appear and disappear in my mind.  In respect to A Course in Miracles, my unreality is sinful, i.e., off the mark, separate from God, miserable; however, my reality is in union with God, sinless, joyful, peaceful. 

We seek but for surcease an instant from
the misery the focus upon sin
will bring, and uncorrected will remain.
Nor do we ask for fantasies. For what
we seek to look upon is really there.
And as our focus goes beyond mistakes,
we will behold a wholly sinless world.
|When seeing this is all we want to see,
when this is all we seek for in the name
of true perception, are the eyes of Christ
inevitably ours. And the Love
He feels for us becomes our own as well.
This will become the only thing we see
reflected in the world and in ourselves.
Lesson 181.

When I was talking about this with my son, Stephen, the other day, he said, “This is like lucid dreaming.”  I like that.  Lucid comces from the Latin, lucidus, meaning “light, bright, clear.” 

It is quite possible to be “in” the world, and not “of” the world, seeing brightly.

It is so difficult not to take ego perception and memory for reality, and the following serves as a good reminder.  A newspaper columnist, Christian Schneider, begins an article this way.

I can remember my first Milwaukee Brewers baseball game as clearly as if it were a week ago.  It was 1981, and the heavily mustachioed Brewers Crew were on their way to their first playoff appearance.

As I walked into County Stadium on that warm night, my eyes grew to the size of manhole covers—I had never been in a stadium packed to capacity before.  Tommy John was on the mound for the hated New York Yankees:  the Brewers Gorman Thomas hit two home runs, and my dad and I went home as happy and worn out as if we had played the game ourselves.

There’s only one problem with my fondest of memories: None of it is t rue.
I was able to debunk this warm memory of mine within about three clicks of a mouse while surfing the internet.  I now wonder how many other formative elements of my childhood are incorrect.

With memories, perception is reality; a strong recollection, even if incorrect, has the force of fact.  (“The Internet’s attack on memory,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 25, 2012, p. 13A)

Schneder provides a most appropriate example of what Jesus is teaching us in His Course in Miracles.

Perhaps you think it is your childhood home
that you would find again. The childhood of
your body,  and its place of shelter, are
a memory now so distorted that
you merely hold a picture of a past
that never happened.
Lesson 182.4

And Jesus offers us His Course, so that we can learn to be in touch with our true Child, already, always present in us.

Yet there is a Child
in you Who seeks His Father's house, and knows
that He is alien here. This childhood is
eternal, with an innocence that will
endure forever. Where this Child shall go
is holy ground. It is His Holiness
that lights up Heaven, and that brings to earth
the pure reflection of the light above,
wherein are earth and Heaven joined as one.
Lesson 182.4

There is no question that we have always been called.  The only question is whether or not we hear the call.

Here’s our great American poet, Walt Whitman.

Would you sound below the restless ocean of the entire world?  Would you know the dissatisfaction?  The urge and spur of every life; the something never still’d—never entirely gone?  The invisible need of every seed?

And here is Guy Finley’s commentary:

We’re asked a vital question:  is there a part of us that longs to know—that’s willing to seek out—what lies hidden just beneath the thought-tossed surface of ourselves?  If our answer is “Yes,” then Mr. Whitman goes on to suggest what awaits us there in that great, undiscovered country of our innermost Self. (The Seeker The Search The Sacred, Weiser Books, San Francisco, CA., 2011), p. 4

Whitman finishes with this sentence.

It is the central urge in every atom to return to its divine source and origin, however distant.

And here’s Finley:

In summary, Walt asks:  Are we willing to bear—to share in the being of an unceasing creation—to merge with the highest part of ourselves?
And here’s Jesus in Lesson 182, I will be still an instant and go home.

A memory of home
keeps haunting you, as if there were a place
that called you to return, although you do
not recognize the voice, nor what it is
the voice reminds you of. 1

This lyrical and inspiring passage offers a wonderful introduction to A Course in Miracles.

God introduces the soul that has been made holy to a rhythm of alternate ecstasy, of contentment and of a yearning for an irreducible otherness, so that the soul does not cease to renew its love and spread itself in the inexhaustible store of God’s riches.  Olivier Clement (1921-2009, France)

Here is Jesus writing in the “rhythm of alternate ecstasy,” blank verse, the rhythm of the universe.

There is a light in you which cannot die;
whose presence is so holy that the world
is sanctified because of you. All things
that live bring gifts to you, and offer them
in gratitude and gladness at your feet.
The scent of flowers is their gift to you.
The waves bow down before you, and the trees
extend their arms to shield you from the heat,
and lay their leaves before you on the ground
that you may walk in softness, while the wind
sinks to a whisper round your holy head.
Lesson 156.4

We are conditioned from birth to think without reservation that “seeing is believing.”  We place complete trust in our senses and what our senses in conjunction with our brains show us.  In fact, the word evidence comes from the Latin, videre, meaning “to see,” in the sense of proof by appearance.
While all the time, we can see only with true vision, looking through the eyes of Christ.

First, here are examples of the interaction between the brain and the senses.

But for all the eye’s extraordinary ability, seeing is a function of the brain—humans’ visual cortex is more developed than that of any other mammal.

(To read more, please read my blog post, “Seeing is not Believing,” August 10, 2012).  Click on this link:

It is hard to believe, as we walk through a world of seeming pain and misery, that it is a result of our thoughts; we are affected only by our thoughts. 
Yet, we can say God’s Name, and all these thoughts disappear.  It is always a matter of remembering and forgetting.

God's Name can not be heard without response,
nor said without an echo in the mind
that calls you to remember. Say His Name,
and you invite the angels to surround the ground
on which you stand, and sing to you
as they spread out their wings to keep you safe,
and shelter you from every worldly thought
that would intrude upon your holiness.
Lesson 183.2

You can remember what the world forgot,
and offer it your own remembering. 9:3

Some time ago, I heard one line from a Jeep commercial that knocked me out because of how it echoes A Course in Miracles.

“The things we make, make us.”

Today we learn a lesson which can save you more
delay and needless misery than you
can possibly imagine. It is this:
You make what you defend against, and by
your own defense against it is it real
and inescapable. Lay down your arms,
and only then do you perceive it false.
Lesson 170.2:4-7

You maker of a world that is not so, take rest and comfort in another world where peace abides. Chapter 25.IV.3:1

Thank God that He has provided us a step by step procedure to learn to experience rest and comfort and peace.

In you is all of Heaven. Every leaf that falls is given life in you. Each bird that ever sang will sing again in you. And every flower that ever bloomed has saved its perfume and its loveliness for you. What aim can supersede the Will of God and of His Son, that Heaven be restored to him for whom it was created as his only home? Nothing before and nothing after it. No other place; no other state nor time. Nothing beyond nor nearer. Nothing else. In any form. This can you bring to all the world, and all the thoughts that entered it and were mistaken for a little while. How better could your own mistakes be brought to truth than by your willingness to bring the light of Heaven with you, as you walk beyond the world of darkness into light? 5

It is not February 14, but here is as valentine for my wife, Christine.
I have often thought this about us, and now I can express it clearly.
The mark of a good relationship is this:

In response to a request, a “Yes” or “No” is equally accepted.

In the context of A Course in Miracles, this is the difference between a special  relationship, and a holy one.

In specialness, there are always bargains and comparisons.

Specialness is the seal of treachery upon the gift of love. Not one believer in its potency but seeks for bargains and for compromise that would establish sin love's substitute, and serve it faithfully. And no relationship that holds its purpose dear but clings to murder as safety's weapon, and the great defender of all illusions from the 'threat' of love. Chapter 24.11.8

In forgiveness, it is possible to overcome specialness.

You who would be content with specialness, and seek salvation in a war with love, consider this: The holy Lord of Heaven has Himself come down to you, to offer you your own completion. What is His is yours because in your completion is His Own. He Who willed not to be without His Son could never will that you be brother-less. And would He give a brother unto you except he be as perfect as yourself, and just as like to Him in holiness as you must be? Chapter 24.V.8

I love to read passages that echo A Course in Miracles, especially in this case, when the writer was born 100 years before Jesus began dictating to Helen.

Listen to James Allen (1864-1912, England).

That which is real cannot be destroyed, but only that which is unreal.  When a man finds that within him which is real, which is constant, and abiding, changeless, and eternal, he enters into that Reality, and becomes meek.  All the powers of darkness will come against him, but they will do him no hurt, and will at last depart from him.

That which is real cannot be destroyed,

Nothing real can be threatened.

but only that which is unreal.

Nothing unreal exists.

When a man finds that within him which is real, which is constant, and a biding, changeless, and eternal, he enters into that Reality, and becomes meek.

Herein lies the peace of God. ACIM.Introduction.2:2-4

All the powers of darkness will come against him, but they will do him no hurt, and will at last depart from him.

What is described as “meek” is defenselessness in the face of unreality, and with this recognition that all power is his, his defenselessness is his safety.

In Matthew 23, Jesus uses this phrase three times:

“But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees,  hypocrites!”

The Greeks used the word “hypocrite” to refer to an actor because the word means “to pretend.”

When I forget that I am the son of God and walk around in an ego state of mind, making up a false world of thought-images, I am like an actor playing a role, being a hypocrite.

I love reading personal accounts of individuals being “touched by God.” Here is a brief account by Mary C. Neal, MD, describing an event that occurred when she was young from her book, To Heaven and Back.

The tiny two-track road in the remote mountains of Mexico was saturated with rain from the previous night.  Our traveling group consisted of the fifteen-year old me, an adult missionary couple, another teenager, and a little baby.  Our truck’s spinning wheels were unable to gain traction and the  truck quickly sank to its axels.  It was imperative that we get the truck back on the road, as we had driven this desolate stretch of road many times over the summer and had never seen another vehicle.  As we worked, we began to pray with great fervor and specificity:  We prayed that God would “put rock under us,” and soon.

The words had barely floated off our lips when we were shocked to see a rusty old pickup truck rumbling up the road.  When told of our predicament, the driver  graciously offered to give us as ride to town.  The cab was too small to hold all of us, so we eagerly climbed into the truck.

We were filled with joy at the sight of rock, knowing that our prayers had been heard.  pp. xv, xvi.  

Since David was a shepherd as a boy, he drew on his experiences as a young shepherd when he wrote Psalm 23, using the analogy that God is to us as a shepherd is to his flock.

A modern-day shepherd named Phillip Keller has written a remarkable book entitled, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.”

What follows are key lines from Psalm 23, and passages from Keller’s book, demonstrating David’s shepherding analogy.


When all is said and done the welfare of any flock is entirely dependent upon the management afforded them by their owner.
I have become increasingly aware of one thing ... It is ... the Master in people's lives who makes the difference in their destiny.

(To read the complete article, please go to my blog post entitled, “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23,” August 17, 2013):


Once we have caught a glimpse of the truth of what we are and experience that peace, we can more easily be reminded by occurrences around us.  We suddenly look up on a rainy day that seems unusually bright, and we see a rainbow, a multicolor arch across the sky. We hear the soft sound of thunder on a warm spring day, the first spring rain. On a summer night we see fireflies sprinkling the darkness with flecks of light.

And, we can count on the poets to capture these moments. Here is a poem by Chase Twichell, catching a reflection of what is available in our minds, awaiting our awareness.

Tea Mind

Even as a child I could
induce it at will.
I'd go to where the big rocks
stayed cold in the woods all summer,
and tea mind would come to me
like water over stones, pool to pool,
and in that way I taught myself to think.
Green teas are my favorites, especially
the basket-fired Japanese ones
that smell of baled hay.
Thank you, makers of this tea.
Because of you my mind is still tonight,
transparent, a leaf in air.
Now it rides a subtle current.
Now it can finally disappear.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to shake us out of our preoccupation with thoughts running through our minds, thoughts with no source in reality, narrative thoughts telling us, “This is so, deal with it.”

Here is Robert Frost (1874-1963), capturing this shift in awareness from conflict to peace, from rueful brooding to stillness and joy.

Dust of Snow

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
and saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

A friend said to me the other day, “So, what’s this A Course in Miracles about?”

I found myself saying, “Namaste, and you say to me, Namaste.”

“The Christ in me greets the Christ in you.”

I went on to say that it all comes down to our awareness of the Christ that we are.

The biggest obstacle to our awareness is our preoccupation with our narrative voice, constantly making up what seems to be “out there” with thought-images that are only projected from “in here.”  By giving names to things “out there,” we think we are establishing our “reality,” while all the time, “thinking” is our problem.

Yet we have learned that things but represent the thoughts that made them. Lesson 187.2:3

And this narrative voice, the ego, is terrified that you will shift your awareness from it to the Christ within.

What are these names by which the world becomes
a series of discrete events, of things
ununified, of bodies kept apart
and holding bits of mind as separate
awarenesses? You gave these names to them,
establishing perception as you wished
to have perception be. The nameless things
were given names, and thus reality
was given them as well.
Lesson 184.3:1-3

That is why Jesus begins His Lessons as He did.

Lesson 1:  Nothing I see means anything.
What I see is meaningless because I made it up with thoughts having no source in “reality.”

His Course is a direct challenge to our narrative voice, thus beginning our journey to true awareness, learning to see through the eyes of Christ.
When I finished, he said, “Thank you.  I’ll think about it.”

And I thought to myself, “Aye, therein lies the rub.”

As I walk through the day, I find it very helpful to say this sentence to myself quite often:

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

That is, I am, indeed, walking around in a body, seeing through the body’s eyes, making it up as I go, being my false self, while all this time I can choose to be aware of my true Self, the holy son of God; it’s always a matter of awareness.
It is this grounding awareness that I ask for help to experience.  It is all going on, simultaneously, being “in” and not “of” the world, and it is simply my awareness that counts.

Master Teacher of Endeavor Academy often said:  “I don’t care what you do; it’s what’s going on in your mind that matters.”

Here is a helpful passage from Lesson 184, The Name of God is my inheritance.

It would indeed be strange if you were asked
to go beyond all symbols of the world,
forgetting them forever; yet were asked
to take a teaching function. You have need
to use the symbols of the world a while.
But be you not deceived by them as well.
They do not stand for anything at all,
and in your practicing it is this thought
that will release you from them. They become
but means by which you can communicate
in ways the world can understand, but which
you recognize is not the unity
where true communication can be found. 9

I find that stuff just keeps coming up in my mind—bad stuff, conflicting thoughts, pain and misery.  These are just thoughts arising, moving across, and falling from my mind, having no source in reality.

The temptation is to ask for the opposite; I don’t want this; I want that, please help me.  And this request keeps us in the duality.  While all the time, there is only one thing I want, the peace of God.  Asking for the peace of God, not an opposite, is the way out of duality.

To say these words is nothing. But to mean
these words is everything. If you could but
mean them for just an instant, there would be
no further sorrow possible for you
in any form; in any place or time.
Heaven would be completely given back
to full awareness, memory of God
entirely restored, the resurrection
of all creation fully recognized.
Lesson 185.1

No one can mean these words and not be healed.
He cannot play with dreams, nor think he is
himself a dream. He cannot make a hell
and think it real. He wants the peace of God,
and it is given him. For that is all
he wants, and that is all he will receive. 2:1-5

Endeavor Academy, where Christine and I have been students and teachers for the last 15 years, is located in the Wisconsin Dells.  A nice term for this location is a “tourist Mecca,” particularly in the summer months.  A not so nice name might be “traffic nightmare.”

At noon on Sunday, after work, flipping eggs at the Cheese Factory Restaurant, I went to a nearby convenience store to buy a newspaper.  The young woman working the cash register and I exchanged stories about the traffic and working, and as I was walking away, she said, “Stay home, or be patient.” 

This cracked me up, since it echoes in practical terms, A Course in Miracles.  Stay home in your mind, a peaceful state, and if you can maintain it walking through the world, you can walk, patiently.

When you are still an instant, when the world
recedes from you, when valueless ideas
cease to have value in your restless mind,
then will you hear His Voice. So poignantly
He calls to you that you will not resist
Him longer. In that instant He will take
you to His home, and you will stay with Him
in perfect stillness, silent and at peace,
beyond all words, untouched by fear and doubt,
sublimely certain that you are at home.
Lesson 182.8

I have always felt very strongly that the action of personal transformation is very individual.  Each individual who wishes to find his way out of the dream into reality is guided in his own direction, and the guidance will be given in the form most useful to him.

For love must give,
and what is given in His Name takes on
the form most useful in a world of form.
Lesson 186.13:5

I can look back and see when a particular book at a particular time guided my next step; or something a person said; or a “synchronistic” event; or a certain move; or a special song; or an “ah hah” moment; or a sleeping dream.
With these thoughts going through my mind, I was just delighted to read this passage from Lesson 185, I want the peace of God.

And when the wish for peace
is genuine, the means for finding it
is given, in a form each mind that seeks
for it in honesty can understand. 6:2

Guidance is given in a form, precisely appropriate, for each individual.  It comes down to how genuine is the wish.  Genuine means “natural.”  The form naturally follows his particular bent.

Whatever form the lesson takes is planned
for him in such a way that he can not
mistake it, if his asking is sincere. 6:3
It fits him, perfectly, if his wish is sincere, meaning, “sound, pure, whole.”
But if he asks without sincerity,
there is no form in which the lesson will
meet with acceptance and be truly learned. 6:4

We must be vigilant because we always get the results of our thinking. 
Now, I know why Master Teacher of Endeavor Academy often said, “Don’t let anyone tell you who you are.”

Become your wish for peace fulfilled, naturally, individually.
You choose God’s peace,
or you have asked for dreams.  And dreams will come
as you requested them.  9:3,4

Several years ago, now, I found myself going through complete devastation.  It seemed that I was going blind.

Everything became blurry.  The internal dialogue was non-stop. Can I read that sign?  Who is that walking towards me?  I need a bright light to read a book.  What’s to become of me?

I found myself on my knees asking for help, asking for healing, asking to see better.

Then, one morning, I realized that I was praying for a particular result; I was asking for help on my own terms.

At this moment, I asked to experience peace, peace of mind.  Whatever happened, I asked to experience the peace of God.

And then peace flowed through me like warm water.  I was free of all those fearful thoughts.

No one who truly seeks the peace of God
can fail to find it. For he merely asks
that he deceive himself no longer by
denying to himself what is God's Will.
Who can remain unsatisfied who asks
for what he has already? Who could be
unanswered who requests an answer which
is his to give? The peace of God is yours.
Lesson 185.11

From that day forward, my sight seemed to stabilize; it hasn’t gotten better; it hasn’t gotten worse. 

And I try to stay vigilant, not to ask for “this” or “that” in the duality; the peace of God is ours, always, already, for the asking.

I am immensely enjoying reading this book by Mary C. Neal, MD, “To Heaven and Back:  A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again.”

She was “drowned” when her kayak was forced underwater in the swift rapids, and she was unable to extricate herself from her bindings.

I read her description of her soul leaving her body in the context of this passage from A Course in Miracles.

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

At the moment my body was released, I felt a “pop.” It felt as if I had finally shaken off my heavy outer layer, freeing my soul.  I rose up and out of the river, and when my soul broke through the surface of the water, I encountered a group of fifteen to twenty souls (spirits sent by God), who greeted me with the most overwhelming joy I have ever experienced and could ever imagine.  It was joy at an unadulterated core level.  They were sort of like a large welcoming committee or a great cloud of witnesses as described in Hebrews 12:1:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
This welcoming committee seemed to be wildly cheering for me as I approached the “finish line.” pp. 68,69

One of the ways that we establish and maintain the illusion, the dream, is to give everything a name.  Just think of how strongly we reinforce an infant’s first words, like, “Daddy,” “Mommy.”

Here is the first paragraph of Lesson 184, The Name of God in my inheritance.

You live by symbols. You have made up names
for everything you see. Each one becomes
a separate entity, identified
by its own name. By this you carve it out
of unity. By this you designate
its special attributes, and set it off
from other things by emphasizing space
surrounding it. This space you lay between
all things to which you give a different name;
all happenings in terms of place and time;
all bodies which are greeted by a name.

Henry Reed (1914-1986) wrote this remarkable poem, “Naming of Parts.”  Here is the first stanza:

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
          And to-day we have naming of parts.
(To read the rest of this Status, please click on the link to my blog post, entitled, “Naming of Parts Versus the Peace of God,” August 27, 2012.)

I wonder how many times a day I have to remind myself that I am walking through the world, playing a part, like an actor on a stage, while all the  time in time, I am eternal, God’s most holy son?

I am, indeed, “in” the world, and not “of” the world.

I like the way Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) expresses it.

In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime.  But all these times and places and occasions are now and here.  Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in.  I drink at it, but when I drink, I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is.  Its thin current slides away but eternity remains.

While I find myself “in” the world, I might as well enjoy it, remembering “how shallow it is,” yet “eternity remains.”

Boy, this title of a newspaper article in the Business Section certainly caught my eye:

Forgiveness is an option.

Here are the first three sentences of the article:

There’s a new type of forgiveness out there.  It comes with your car insurance.  More auto insurers are offering accident forgiveness, not to factor an accident into the calculation of your premium.
I think I will stick to the “old” type if forgiveness, in here.

Forgiveness recognizes what you thought
your brother did to you has not occurred.
Forgiveness merely sees its falsity,
and therefore lets it go. What then is free
to take its place is now the Will of God.
1.  What is Forgiveness?  1

A couple of mornings ago, I came across this passage in A Course in Miracles, wrote it down, put it in my pocket, and referred to it several times as the day went on.

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.
Lesson 235.1

I also wrote this down because it immediately popped into my mind:

. . .things but represent the thoughts that made them.
Lesson 187.2:2

These passages certainly lightened my burden as the day went on, remembering that I am always dealing only with thoughts.    What a relief.
. .
“Pop. Pop.  Fizz.  Fizz.
Oh, what a relief it is.”

Hmm.  Forgiveness is about as simple as taking an Alka-Seltzer.