Monday, October 01, 2012

Making Explicit the True Meaning of Forgiveness: September Statuses

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.  These are my mini-essays for September.

Early in my college-teaching career, after being at a small college for a couple of years, I was informed that the college was facing financial difficulties, and a few relatively-new faculty members were being terminated, and I was one of them.

I had never been so devastated before in my life.  I found myself looking for a job, drawing unemployment, taking care of my family, paying the mortgage and other bills.
I filled my days by walking three miles to the library, reading employment sections in the newspapers, filling out job applications, and reading.  Then I would walk home in the evening.

One day, while walking in, this phrase popped into my mind:  “sea change.”
I knew this was huge; as soon as I arrived at the library, I looked it up:

A seemingly magical change, as brought about by the action of the sea.
Then it took me to Ariel’s Song in The Tempest.

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

The Tempest, 2.1:461-467

I sat there in tears, knowing that I was not so alone, I was being helped, and that this was, in fact, an opportunity to transform, that something very powerful would come out of this experience.  For the first time in my life, I felt that I was connected to something larger.

A couple of months later, in January, miraculously, in the middle of the school year, I found another job, making twice the money with better benefits.

And, then, soon after that, I came across A Course in Miracles, and then I did, indeed, “suffer a sea-change.”

When I began studying A Course in Miracles, I didn’t take me too long to realize that there is no world “out there.”  I am making up the world I see “in here;” we are always only looking into a mirror.

What I see is a result of my own mind.  I see one thing; you see another.

Right away, the question becomes, how do I conduct myself in the world?  For me, the answer is to ask for help, to ask for guidance; what is the next step?

Today’s Lesson 236, I rule my mind, which I alone must rule, is very helpful in this respect because it reminds me that “my world,” this world of my own making is my kingdom.

I have a kingdom I must rule. At times,
it does not seem I am its king at all.
It seems to triumph over me, and tell
me what to think, and what to do and feel.
And yet it has been given me to serve
whatever purpose I perceive in it.
My mind can only serve. Today I give
its service to the Holy Spirit to
employ as He sees fit. I thus direct
my mind, which I alone can rule. And thus
I set it free to do the Will of God.

To rule it properly, I have to be in the right state of mind; when I am in a receptive state of mind, I will receive directions enabling me to serve my kingdom well.  And then I will be a worthy servant, indeed.

I have always liked this story floating around that a young girl was looking into the crib of her newly-born baby sister, and her mother came in and asked her what she was doing.

She said, “I am looking into her eyes because I know that not long ago they were looking at God.”

In her book To Heaven and Back, Mary Neal, MD, writes:

I believe very young children clearly remember where they came from and are still quite connected to God’s world.  I believe they easily recall the images, knowledge, and the love of the world they inhabited before their birth.  As young children become more engaged with the world, their memories fade and detours and dead-ends, of finding their way back to God.  Ultimately, they must not only find God, but must freely choose to accept God’s love and direction.  God gave humans this ability to choose freely; which makes us ultimately responsible for our choices, our actions, and our lives. 
(pp. 147,148)

Early this morning, I sat down, closed my eyes, breathed in and out, and read this passage by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Intimations of Immortality.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:   
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,      60
        Hath had elsewhere its setting,   
          And cometh from afar:   
        Not in entire forgetfulness,   
        And not in utter nakedness,   
But trailing clouds of glory do we come      65
        From God, who is our home.
. . .trailing clouds of glory.

Poetry magnifies the soul, pulling it into realms unattended for ages, clearing a path through the debris of restlessness and shaking lose the fears that cling to our essence, shouting to our sleeping souls in words of Truth, color and form, shaking us awake, setting us apart from the usual, letting us greet our selves again with cleaner hands and faces, in a new moment of Promise.  (Karen Goldman, Angel Voices.)

Today, I will arise in glory, and
allow the light in me to shine upon
the world throughout the day. I bring the world
the tidings of salvation which I hear
as God my Father speaks to me. And I
behold the world that Christ would have me see,
aware it ends the bitter dream of death;
aware it is my Father's Call to me.

Lesson 237.1

It is hard to believe that what we see is a result of a choice we make, like, why would we ever choose see this?

What would you see? The choice is given you.
But learn and do not let your mind forget
this law of seeing: You will look upon
that which you feel within. If hatred finds
a place within your heart, you will perceive
a fearful world, held cruelly in death's
sharp-pointed, bony fingers. If you feel
the Love of God within you, you will look
out on a world of mercy and of love.

Lesson 189.5

It is always a case of where I am in my mind?  Am I aware of fear, or of love?
This became increasingly clear to me while reading The Lazy Man’s Guide to Englightenment by Thaddeus Golas (1924-1997), where he talks about love, or fear, in reference to vibrations—expanded and speeded up, or contracted and slowed down.
Expanded awareness is speeded up vibration. When we are at this vibration level, everything around us in time and space moves slowly, and now we are truly in the world, but not of the world.

Golas expresses the contrast of slow vibrations.

Note carefully that when your vibrations are slow, or contracted, events seem to happen fast, and you will feel that events are happening too fast for you to control them. And you may therefore feel impelled to try that much harder to exercise control. The slower your vibrations, the more unpleasant your life: you will contend with more conflict, mass, and pain.

The more you love, the faster you vibrate, then the less need you feel to control anything, and you are not fearful of change and variety. You experience everything deeper and slower and more lovingly.

While reading a theme of special relevance, 3. What is the World? in A Course in Miracles, I came across this sentence that gave me an “aha” experience:

When the thought of separation has been changed to one of true forgiveness, will the world be seen in quite another light. 3

The word “changed” made me realize that our thoughts, all our thoughts, are an extension of God’s thoughts, as expressed in the Title to Lesson 45, God is the mind with which I think.

You think with the Mind of God. Therefore you share your thoughts with Him, as He shares His with you. They are the same thoughts, because they are thought by the same Mind. To share is to make alike, or to make one. Nor do the thoughts you think with the Mind of God leave your mind, because thoughts do not leave their source. Therefore, your thoughts are in the Mind of God, as you are. They are in your mind as well, where He is. As you are part of His Mind, so are your thoughts part of His Mind.

Lesson 45.2

The power of decision is my own; I can decide in each moment to change a real thought into a false thought, or to change an unreal thought into a real thought, being forgiveness.

In either case, God is our Source.

Forgiveness, of course, is at the heart of A Course in Miracles; yet it is almost impossible to comprehend.  “Comprehend” comes from the Latin, comprehendere,  meaning “to seize hold of, to grasp.” 

I will be honest with myself  today.
I will not think that I already know
what must remain beyond my present grasp.

Lesson 243.1:1,2

So, obviously, that is the problem; the conceptual mind tries to grasp its meaning, while forgiveness is an experience.

Sometimes, during the night, I wake up, look at the clock and mumble to myself, “Damn, I need to go back to sleep,” now being wide awake.  The temptation is to pray to go back to sleep.  It’s very subtle, but this takes you into dualistic thinking—to sleep, or not to sleep.

Sometimes, when this happens, I realize I want to stay out of duality, and I simply let go of any result, and I begin slowly reciting, say, The Lord’s Prayer, or The Prayer of St. Francis, and just focus on my breathing.  And quite often, I enter a state of pure bliss, or rather, it takes me over, suffusing my body, and I just enjoy the light, not caring whether I go back to sleep, or not, and this is the experience of forgiveness. 

The next thing I know, it’s time to get up.

Today, I will arise in glory, and
allow the light in me to shine upon
the world throughout the day. I bring the world
the tidings of salvation which I hear
as God my Father speaks to me. And I
behold the world that Christ would have me see,
aware it ends the bitter dream of death;
aware it is my Father's Call to me.

Lesson 237.1

Quite often, I look back at a day while I am drifting off to sleep, and I am amazed at how the events of the day, miraculously, unfolded.

An incredible conversation with a brother.  Seeing someone I hadn’t seen for a long time.  An inspiring passage in the Course that spoke to my current concerns.  Just taking a breath, looking around me, and seeing bright reflections, realizing full well that I am in the world, and not of the world.

This came to mind when I read this passage by Ralph Waldo Emerson. (1803-1882)

 A little consideration of what takes place around us every day would show us that a higher law than that of our will regulates events; that our painful labors are unnecessary, and fruitless; that only in our  easy, simple, spontaneous action are we strong and by contenting ourselves with obedience we become divine.  Belief and love—a believing love will relieve us of a vast load of care.  Oh my brothers, God exists.

Here is a passage from Angel Voices by Karen Goldman.

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.

And here is Lesson 8 from The Twenty-Minute Booklet of A Course in Miracles.

Today, there are those among us who consciously seek our Origin.  We search proudly, fearlessly for the road Home.  All existence then is a journey—not aimless, not outward, but back Home.   And those who went before us turn and stop to help, and those behind reach for us and seek our Wisdom.

Here is Jesus at the end of His Introduction to A Course in Miracles.

This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:

Nothing real can be threatened;
Nothing unreal exists;
Herein lies the peace of God.

This passage from Sri Maharaj echoes this perfectly.

But in reality only the Ultimate is.  The rest is a matter of name and form.  And as long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists, the Supreme will appear to you non-existing.  When all names and forms have been given up, the real is with you.  You need not seek it.  Plurality and diversity are the play of the mind only.  Reality is one. When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and what is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will  be at peace—immersed in the deep silence of reality.
  I AM THAT, p. 38

Recently, I had a breakthrough while reading over and over Lesson 246, To love my Father is to love His Son.

For some time I had been walking around seething in anger and disappointment at some of His Sons.

It did not bring any relief to look at one of these individuals and say to myself, "This is God’s Son, I forgive him."

Let me not think that I can find the way
To God, if I have hatred in my heart.
Let me not try to hurt God's Son, and think
That I can know his Father or my Self.
Let me not fail to recognize myself,
And still believe that my awareness can
Contain my Father, or my mind conceive
Of all the love my Father has for me,
And all the love which I return to Him.

There. . .Let me not fail to recognize my Self.

When I stop for a moment, breathe in and breathe out, becoming aware only of my Self, I find in this peaceful state of awareness that the drama going on around me simply fades away. It’s always either/or; either I am aware of peace, or I am aware of fear. Forgiveness is simply the awareness of peace and love.

Now, I seem to be able to do this only moments at a time, and these moments are precious, and the more I practice, perhaps the more I will be at peace, and in this peaceful state I will be receptive to guidance from the Holy Spirit. I am just trusting that the way will be shown.

I will accept the way You choose for me
To come to You, my Father. For in that
Will I succeed, because it is Your Will.
And I would recognize that what You will
Is what I will as well, and only that.
And so I choose to love Your Son. Amen.

Hmmm.  It’s rather fortuitous that this is being posted on 9/11.

It just takes an instant, a moment, to shift our awareness from worldly thoughts to holy Thoughts of home.

I will be still an instant and go home. (Lesson 182)

Now, I realize that a moment in time is relative.  Here’s how Albert Einstein once stated it in an amusing way.

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

Nevertheless, I am going to suggest that a moment could be defined as a second.  Look at how many moments, or seconds, there are in a day; say, I get up at 7 am and go to bed at 11 pm.  That is 16 hours times 60 minutes times 60 seconds, or 57,600 seconds, moments, instants in my day.  These are the number of opportunities that I have during the day to experience a present moment.

How many of these moments am I still, peaceful, aware of my true Self?

Now, I am not going to carry around a clicker and count them, but I do find that when I look at a day in this way, knowing that I can stop at any moment, like right now, and breathe in and breathe out, being in the moment, I experience an increasingly peaceful day, no matter what seems to be going on around me.

(I wrote the above in the morning, and in the afternoon I came across this contrasting sentence in an essay by Pico Iver:

One teenager in Sacramento, I read recently, sent 300,000 text messages in a month—or ten a minute for every minute of her waking day, assuming she was a wake sixteen hours a day.)  “Chapels,” Portland Magazine.

Here is how Jon Kabat-Zinn expresses it in his book, Wherever You Go, There You Are.

By taking a few moments to “die on purpose” to the rush of time while you are still living, you free yourself to have time for the present.  By “dying” now in this way, you actually become more alive now.  This is what stopping can do.  There is nothing passive about it.  And when you decide to go, it’s a different kind of going because you stopped.  The stopping actually makes the going more vivid, richer, more textured.  It helps keep all the things we worry about and feel inadequate about in perspective.  It gives us guidance.
(p. 12)

Mary Neal, MD, “drowned” in a kayaking accident, went to Heaven, and, reluctantly, returned to earth.  In her book, To Heaven and Back, she recounts her story.  During her long recuperation from the accident, she had some out-of-body experiences that involved talking with Jesus in a sunny meadow.

An interviewer asked her what Jesus looked like.

He was sitting on a rock while I was sitting on the ground and, like the people who led me down the path to Heaven, He was wearing some sort of flowing robe and exploded with beauty and brilliance.  His hair was long.  His features were indistinct.  I don’t know how to describe this but my greatest impression of His appearance was that of love (yes, I  realize we don’t typically “see” love, but as I said, I don’t know how to describe this phenomenon of “seeing” something we would  normally “feel”).  He conveyed the impression of complete love, compassion, kindness, and infinite patience.  (p. 216)

It is a bit audacious, but I am going to take a famous Greek saying by Archimedes (287BC-212 BC) and modify it to put it in the context of A Course in Miracles.

Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth.


Give me a place to stand, in the light, and I will re-move earthly thoughts.

There is a light in you the world can not
perceive. And with its eyes you will not see
this light, for you are blinded by the world.
Yet you have eyes to see it. It is there
for you to look upon. It was not placed
in you to be kept hidden from your sight.
This light is a reflection of the thought
we practice now. To feel the Love of God
within you is to see the world anew,
shining in innocence, alive with hope,
and blessed with perfect charity and love.
Lesson 189 1

One of the rhetorical principles that Jesus uses in His Course to help us train our minds to a new way of seeing is contrast.  Here are the first two paragraphs from Section Vl, The Temple of the Holy Spirit, in Chapter 20.  To demonstrate the contrast, the ego’s voice is in italics, holy relationship is in bold.

The meaning of the Son of God lies solely in his relationship with his Creator.
If it were elsewhere it would rest on contingency,”but there is nothing else. And this is wholly loving and forever.“Yet has the Son of God invented an unholy relationship between him and his Father. His real relationship is one of perfect union and unbroken continuity.“The one he made is partial, self-centred, broken into fragments and full of fear.” The one created by his Father is wholly self-encompassing and self-extending. The one he made is wholly self-destructive and self-limiting.
Nothing can show the contrast better than the experience of both a holy and an unholy relationship. The first is based on love, and rests on it serene and undisturbed. The body does not intrude upon it.  Any relationship in which the body enters is based not on love, but on idolatry.   Love wishes to be known, completely understood and shared. It has no secrets; nothing that it would keep apart and hide. It walks in sunlight, open-eyed and calm, in smiling welcome and in sincerity so simple and so obvious it cannot be misunderstood.

My Course book is so full of Post-it Notes that have accumulated over the years.  I tried to get rid of them, systematically, but started reading them, and this one surprised me.  It is dated 3/29/1998, and Christine and I had arrived at Endeavor Academy only 8 months earlier, 8/7/1997.

I think my note was inspired by these sentences:

Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you and will do so.  Not because it has the power to hurt, but just because you have denied it is but an illusion, and made it real.  T-26.Vl.1:1-2

The warm-honey excitement in my chest is a place I can experience,  recognizing  the nothingness of my imaginings (images made with a part of my mind that has no source in reality).  The dark images fall into the warmth of forgiveness, and this is an experience.  From here I can see that everything has a dream-like quality and that we’re just playing our roles that we scripted with thoughts that have no source.  If this were not so tragic, it would be kind of funny.

Last Saturday, while Christine and I were walking around a Farmers’ Market in Sheboygan, WI., a street-corner preacher thrust into my hand, a flyer entitled, “Are you ready?”

Here are some gems from it:

Are you sure you will go to heaven when you die?
Do you have real Bible salvation that cleanses from all sin?
Many dear people have been deceived through all the false religions around us.
Jesus died to save us from our sins.
I did not engage the preacher man in dialogue, but later I said to myself after reading the flyer what my dear friend, Jack Davis, said to me years ago, “I stay ready, then I don’t have to get ready.”

I stay read by asking for help to experience the peace of God, thereby being vigilant and receptive to hear God’s Voice speaking to me all through the day.

At Endeavor Academy, hanging around with brothers who are dedicated to A Course in Miracles, I often hear the phrase, “There’s only your mind;” to which I say to myself, sarcastically, “Thank you, Dear One,” particularly if I am upset about something, nursing a grievance.

It is a true statement, and it is only helpful when I realize that in each moment I have choice of how I respond to an event.

Here is a simple example that takes it out of the realm of personalities.

Suppose severe lightning suddenly strikes, followed by loud thundering.
I can see this happening, either through the body’s eyes, or through the eyes of Christ.  That choice is my responsibility in each moment, i.e., my response depends on how I see it.  That is what it means to say that I am totally responsible; it is truly only my mind.

This all came to mind when I read the first sentence of Lesson 253, My Self is ruler of the universe.
It is impossible that anything should come to me unbidden by myself.
It is always a question of whether I am asking for it from my self, or from my Self, and how I respond to it, as my self, or my Self because, after all, “There’s only my mind.”

Anything I make up by perceiving it through the body’s eyes is all the same; it is all taking place in time and space.  It is all illusion.  Obviously, perception is the same with all my senses:  smelling, hearing, tasting, feeling.

Perception did not exist until the separation introduced degrees, aspects and intervals.    T-3.1:5

Experiencing the “thisness” of all things is a big step in helping me forgive all things.

I just love it that Jesus makes this crystal clear to us in His Lessons 81-90, reviewing Lessons 61-80.  Each Lesson contains three applications.
Here is an example from Lesson 82:

Let me not use “this” to hide my function from me.
I would use “this” as an opportunity to fulfill my function.
“This” may threaten my ego, but cannot change my function in any way.

In His Reviews, He uses “this” 50 times. 

It is so helpful to remember that “this” is not so.
To read all of the Lessons, please go to my blog site to read the post entitled, This is not so!, September 18, 2012, by clicking on this link:

In “What is the Body?” a theme of special relevance in His Course in Miracles, Jesus repeatedly uses the metaphor of “fences,” to describe the body’s primary function.

This brought to mind Robert Frost’s poem, Mending Wall.  Frost uses the metaphor of a stone fence, describing what separates him from his neighbor, while all the time, he knows that the fence represents a barrier to love.
Here is a juxtaposition of lines from the poem in quotation marks, with lines from the Course.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun.

The body is a fence the Son of God
imagines he has built, to separate
parts of his Self from other parts. It is
within this fence he thinks he lives, to die
as it decays and crumbles. For within
this fence he thinks that he is safe from love.

Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?

The body is the means by which God's Son
returns to sanity. Though it was made
to fence him into hell without escape,
yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged
for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God
extends his hand to reach his brother, and
to help him walk along the road with him.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.

Love is your safety.

I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly,

Fear does not exist.

and I'd rather
He said it for himself.

Identify with love, and you are safe.
Identify with love, and you are home.
Identify with love, and find your Self.

It is so helpful to look at the words that Jesus uses in Lesson 261, God is my refuge and security, to contrast our strengths and weaknesses.


Identify, from the French, to make one with; refuge, from the French, to flee back to; security, Latin, freedom from care; citadel, French, fortress commanding a city;

Safe, peace, God, Father, Son, Self


Idols, from the French, mental images of a false god, and from the Greek, reflections in water, or a mirror.

Attacked, danger, murderous attacks

I will identify with what I think
is refuge and security. I will
behold myself where I perceive my strength,
and think I live within the citadel
where I am safe and cannot be attacked.
Let me today seek not security
in danger, nor attempt to find my peace
in murderous attack. I live in God.
In Him I find my refuge and my strength.
In Him is my Identity. In Him
is everlasting peace. And only there
will I remember Who I really am.
Let me not seek for idols. I would come,
my Father, home to You today. I choose
to be as You created me, and find
the Son whom You created as my Self.

In “What is Sin?” a theme of special relevance in His Workbook of A Course in Miracles, Jesus uses the term “aim” several times.

The body is the instrument the mind
made in its efforts to deceive itself.
Its purpose is to strive. Yet can the goal
of striving change. And now the body serves
a different aim for striving. What it seeks
for now is chosen by the aim the mind
has taken as replacement for the goal
of self-deception. Truth can be its aim
as well as lies. The senses then will seek
instead for witnesses to what is true.
Using the word “aim” is masterful because it puts into proper perspective the true meaning of sin, placing it in the Aramaic framework of “sin” simply meaning “off the mark.”

Sin was originally meant to be helpful feedback for the archer.  The English translation of the Aramaic word, Khata, is sin.  When an archer fired at a target and missed the bull’s eye, the scorekeeper yelled, “Khata,” simply meaning he was “off the mark,” giving him an opportunity to make a correction.

In this sense, “sin” is just a mistake, calling for correction, not for damnation.
Jesus urges us to put away our  “sharp-edged children’s toys,” and be on the mark.

How long, O Son of God, will you maintain
the game of sin? Shall we not put away
these sharp-edged children's toys? How soon will you
be ready to come home? Perhaps today?
There is no sin. Creation is unchanged.
Would you still hold return to Heaven back?
How long, O holy Son of God, how long?


Of course, Jesus resurrected.

Two thousand years later, He dictated His Course to Helen.

This came to mind when I read this passage from Lesson 262, Let me perceive no differences today.

Let me not see your Son as a stranger to
his Father, nor as stranger to myself.
For he is part of me and I of him,
and we are part of You Who are our Source,
eternally united in Your Love;
eternally the holy Son of God.

This echoes John 17:20, 21

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

He is Risen, indeed.


As the day unfolds, I often ground myself by remembering to focus on simply breathing in and breathing out.   It is so helpful for me to remember that the word inspiration comes from the Latin, spirare, meaning to breathe.

The Holy Spirit is the breath of God.

To be inspired means to breathe in the breath of God.

Our speaking voice is simply breath coming from our lungs through our larynx  into our mouth and shaped by our tongue and cheeks and lips.  It is always a question of whether we are speaking with the voice of the ego, or the Voice of God.

You can speak from the spirit or from the ego, as you choose. If you speak from spirit you have chosen to 'Be still and know that I am God'. These words are inspired because they reflect knowledge. If you speak from the ego you are disclaiming knowledge instead of affirming it, and are thus dis-spiriting yourself. Do not embark on useless journeys, because they are indeed in vain. The ego may desire them, but spirit cannot embark on them because it is forever unwilling to depart from its Foundation. T-4.Intro.2

After writing this, I came across this quotation from Jon Mundy.

Living A Course in Miracles means integrating the principles of the Course into our lives.  The Holy Spirit’s voice is as loud as our willingness to listen.  As we have over-learned the lessons of the ego, we have a bit of work to do to engage in a reversal of the thinking; heal the terrorist within; learn a new lesson from a  Perfect Teacher and do what God would have us do.  We cannot behave appropriately unless we perceive correctly and then do what Go is asking us to do.  It is the only way to true happiness.

From the moment I wake up in the morning, I am perceiving worldly objects—the clock, bed, rung, floor, shower, towel.

And yet, I am repeatedly told in the Course that there is no world.

At the same time, I am told this:

\Father, your Mind created all that is.  Lesson 263.1

What is the way out of this paradox?

It all depends on whether we are looking through the eyes of the ego, or the eyes of Christ.

Lesson 263, My holy vision sees all things as pure.

Father, Your Mind created all that is,
Your Spirit entered into it, Your Love
gave life to it. And would I look upon
what You created as if it could be
made sinful? I would not perceive such dark
and fearful images. A madman's dream
is hardly fit to be my choice, instead
of all the loveliness with which You blessed
creation; all its purity, its joy,
and its eternal, quiet home in You.

And while we still remain outside the gate
of Heaven, let us look on all we see
through holy vision and the eyes of Christ.
Let all appearances seem pure to us,
that we may pass them by in innocence,
and walk together to our Father's house
as brothers and the holy Sons of God.

For now we see through
a glass, darkly; but then face
to face: now I know in part;
but then shall I know even
as also I am known.
 Corinthians 14:12

Simply do this:

Forget this world, forget this course, and come
with wholly empty hands unto your God.
There. . .There. . .There

Now, please read the rest of this passage, fully appreciating the nothingness, the “thisness” that you gave up to experience, simply, the peace of God.

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


I am sitting on my couch early in the morning on a day just after the autumnal equinox, looking at the brown leaves falling from the trees, reading Lesson 265, Creation’s gentleness is all I see, and I realize that it is a quick shift from seeing with the eyes of the ego, or seeing with vision because after all, my mind is the mechanism of decision.

I place my hand over my right eye, looking out of my left, pretending that I am seeing a world of sin, being off the mark, experiencing fear;  I place my hand over my left eye, pretending that I am seeing a world of “celestial gentleness,”  experiencing my  true reflection, and then I slowly read this sonnet by Jesus, the first 14 lines of Lesson 265.

I have indeed misunderstood the world,
because I laid my sins on it and saw
them looking back at me. How fierce they
seemed! And how deceived was I to think that what
I feared was in the world, instead of in
my mind alone. Today I see the world
in the celestial gentleness with which
creation shines. There is no fear in it.
Let no appearance of my sins obscure
the light of Heaven shining on the world.
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 His Course, Jesus is always reminding us of the difference between ego projection and vision, inviting in either fear, or love and salvation.

In a section of His Text entitled, The Investment in Reality, Jesus makes this incredible declaration;

If your brothers ask you for something “outrageous,” do it because it does not matter.  T-12. lll.4:1

This is understandable to me only when I look at the two different references to the pronoun “it.”  In the first case, doing “it” means to be still and experience peace in the recognition that doing the second “it” does not matter because you are being asked in respect to worldly matters.  The first “it” means taking it to the altar, first.

The altar of God where Christ abideth is there. You have defiled the altar, but not the world. Bring your perceptions of the world to this altar, for it is the altar to truth. There you will see your vision changed, and there you will learn to see truly. From this place, where God and His Son dwell in peace and where you are welcome, you will look out in peace and behold the world truly. Yet to find the place, you must relinquish your investment in the world as you project it, allowing the Holy Spirit to extend the real world to you from the altar of God. 10

This is so helpful because there do seem to be some crazy requests out there.

In his book, Imagine:  How Creativity Works, John Lehrer refers to a metaphor as a bridge.

From the perspective of the brain, a metaphor is a bridge between two ideas that, at least on the surface, are not equivalent or related.  When Romeo declares that “Juliet is the sun,” we know that he isn’t saying his beloved is a massive, flaming ball of hydrogen.  We understand that Romeo is trafficking in metaphor, calling attention to aspects of Juliet that might also apply to that bright orb in the sky.  She might not be a star, but perhaps she lights up his world in the same way the sun illuminates the earth. p. 10

In His Course Jesus uses metaphor to carry us beyond time and space, the dream, the illusion, particularly in Lesson 61, I am the light of the world.
True humility requires that you accept today's idea because it is God's Voice which tells you it is true. This is a beginning step in accepting your real function on earth. It is a giant stride toward taking your rightful place in salvation. It is a positive assertion of your right to be saved, and an acknowledgment of the power that is given you to save others. 3

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

You are the light of the world.

One of my favorite metaphors has to do with sight, either seeing through the body’s eyes, or seeing through the eyes of Christ.

Father, You gave me all Your Sons, to be
my saviors and my counselors in sight;
Lesson 266.1,2

Counselors are elders, advisors.  I remember when I first came to Endeavor Academy, reading in the Text that the Holy Spirit will speak to us through your brothers, I remember paying real close attention to what my brothers said.

the bearers of Your holy Voice to me.
In them are You reflected, and in them
does Christ look back upon me from my Self.3-5

We are always looking into a mirror; may we catch a light reflection, not a dark projection.