Thursday, November 01, 2012

Making Explicit the True Meaning of Forgiveness: October 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.

In Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18

So, what is a “tittle?”

Ancient Hebrew scribes did much of their writing with little brushes.  Numerous letters were distinguished from one another only by patterns of minute brush marks.  Because of their shape, these marks were commonly known as “horns.”  It became proverbial that a careful scribe copied material exactly—that is, “to the horn.” 
When John Wycliffe translated the Bible into English in 1382, he referred to the “horn” as “tittle.”  Abbreviated in common usage, the phrase lives on.  Now when something is done with precision, it is said to be done to a T.

I must say that the modern scribe, Helen Schucman, scribed Jesus to the T.

I find myself either experiencing peace, or asking for help.  The trick is not to ask for help with conditions, but to ask for help to experience peace.

This came to mind reading this passage from Lesson 189, I feel the Love of God within me now.

Is it not He Who knows the way to you?
You need not know the way to Him. Your part
is simply to allow all obstacles
that you have interposed between the Son
and God the Father to be quietly
removed forever. God will do His part
in joyful and immediate response.
Ask and receive. But do not make demands,
nor point the road to God by which He should
appear to you. The way to reach Him is
merely to let Him be. For in that way
is your reality proclaimed as well.

When I came to “let Him be,” I thought of the Beatles song, and sure enough, they are right on the mark, completely trusting in Mother Mary.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.


As early as Lesson 2, I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me, Jesus makes it very concrete that our eyes are making up our world.  Here is the sentence:

Begin with the things that are near you, and apply the idea to whatever your glance rests on. 2

Now here is the sentence that has such an impact on me:

If possible, turn around and apply the idea to what “was” behind you.

Your thought makes it so, and then it is gone, until you glance at it again, thinking it into existence.

And here’s the title to Lesson 4, These thoughts do not mean anything, they are like the things in this room.

These exercises prepare us to recognize that we can never forgive a person, or an event; we can only ever forgive a thought, a thought-image brought to us by our eyes.

Here is the first sentence of What is Forgiveness?

Forgiveness recognizes what you “thought”
your brother did to you has not occurred.


The medium is the message.  This is a principle in writing.  Form and function are one.  So is structure and content.   

This principle is beautifully illustrated in Lesson 267, My heart is beating in the peace of God.  This is a perfect example of blank verse, 5 sets of syllables per line, slack STRESS.

my HEART is     BEAT ing IN the PEACE of GOD.

The message echoes the medium; it sounds like a beating heart.

Please find your heartbeat; read the title, again, letting the STRESS and the beat coincide.

Please read the entire Lesson, feeling your heart beats matching the words stately marching across the page.

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

Let me attend Your Answer, not my own.
Father, my heart is beating in the peace
the Heart of Love created. It is there
and only there that I can be at home.

Jesus sums up His Course in His Introduction.

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

I was reminded of this while reading Lesson 268, Let all things be exactly as they are. Only this time, I read it like this:

Nothing real can be threatened;
No thing  unreal exists.

All “things” in time and space are the projections of a part of my mind that has no source in reality; these “things” are “sickly forms” that I “wished” into existence.

Perception is a mirror, not a f act.

Let not our sight be blasphemous today.

Blasphemous means to slander sacred things.  I saw for the first time that to look through the body’s eyes is to slander what we see looking through the eyes of Christ, a true reflection.

Lesson 304, Let not my world obscure the sight of Christ.

I can obscure my holy sight, if I
intrude my world upon it. Nor can I
behold the holy sights Christ looks upon,
unless it is His vision that I use.
Perception is a mirror, not a fact.
And what I look on is my state of mind,
reflected outward. I would bless the world
by looking on it through the eyes of Christ.
And I will look upon the certain signs
that all my sins have been forgiven me.

After writing this, I came across this sign: 

The best things in life are not things.

Over two thousand years ago, when Jesus stood before the High Priest He gave us an incredible example of meeting projection with defenselessness.

And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou
nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?

But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said
unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether
thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said.

Matthew 26: 62-64

. . .Thou hast said.

Perception is a mirror, not a fact.


Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition.

And now, two thousand years later, Jesus leads us in our practice.

Today our theme is our defenselessness.
We clothe ourselves in it, as we prepare
to meet the day. We rise up strong in Christ,
and let our weakness disappear, as we
remember that His strength abides in us.
We will remind ourselves that He remains
beside us through the day, and never leaves
our weakness unsupported by His strength.
We call upon His strength each time we feel
the threat of our defenses undermine
our certainty of purpose. We will pause
a moment, as He tells us, "I am here."

Lesson 153.19

I invite you to read my blog post inspired by a painting by a 17th Century Dutch artist, Matthias Stom:


While reading Lesson 261, My sight goes forth to look upon Christ’s face, I came across three words that stood out in particular.

MISTAKE:  to make an error.  A sin is just a mistake, an error to be corrected; it’s off the mark.  On a movie set, a scene is filmed, and a director sees something wrong and yells “Cut” and it is filmed again; he asks for another “take.”

PERCEPTION:  This word comes from the Latin, per, thoroughly, and capere, to grasp, or take.  Either, I thoroughly take in images through my body’s eyes, or I see a bright reflection through the eyes of Christ.

ILLUSION:  From the Latin, ludere, to mock at, to play with.  The illusion I perceive is a mockery.

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

And now here is Lesson 261.

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.


In 1903, James Allen (1864-1912) wrote “As A Man Thinketh.”

In the Introduction to Chapter 21 of His Course, Jesus writes this sentence:

As a man thinketh, so does he perceive.

Here is the entire first paragraph.

Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is not less. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world. Perception is a result and not a cause. And that is why order of difficulty in miracles is meaningless. Everything looked upon with vision is healed and holy. Nothing perceived without it means anything. And where there is no meaning, there is chaos.

This passage powerfully echoes James Allen in his essay.

Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit. 

The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Their whims, fancies, and ambitions are thwarted at every step, but their inmost thoughts and desires are fed with their own food, be it foul or clean. The "divinity that shapes our ends" is in ourselves; it is our very self. Man is manacled only by himself. Thought and action are the jailers of Fate - they imprison, being base. They are also the angels of Freedom - they liberate, being noble. Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.

Right now, I am simply enjoying the echoing of the juxtaposed passages.

In this dream, James Allen (1864-1912) describes his inspiration for his life’s work.

"I looked around upon the world and saw that it was shadowed
by sorrow and scorched by the fierce fires of suffering. And
I looked for the cause. I looked around, but I could not find

I looked in books, but I could not find it. I looked
within, and found there both the cause and the self-made
nature of that cause. I looked again, and deeper, and found
the remedy. I found one Law, the Law of Love; one Life, the
life of adjustment to that Law; one Truth, the Truth of a
conquered mind and a quiet and obedient heart...

"And I dreamed of writing books which would help men and
women, whether rich or poor, learned or unlearned, worldly or
unworldly to find within themselves the source of all success,
all happiness, accomplishment, all truth.

And the dream remained with me, and at last became substantial;
and now I send forth these books into the world on a mission
of healing and blessedness, knowing that they cannot fail to
reach the homes and hearts of those who are waiting and ready
to receive them."

Thank you, James Allen.


Yesterday, Christine and I had a most deLIGHTful day, driving to La Crosse,WI., marveling at the fall colors, eating lunch at Hotel Trempealeau, and walking in the woods, edging the Mississippi River. 

Later, we went into our favorite florist shop, La Fleur Jardin de Flora.  Christine likes the plants, and I check out the chimes and the statues and twirly things and the books. Christine bought a Hibiscus plant, called Mandarin Wind,  with one flower and a lot of buds, and I didn’t give it much of a thought.

This morning, early, I sat down on my couch to read the Lesson, and I was startled
to look across the room and see that overnight, three incredibly beautiful flowers had burst out of their buds, looking at me in all their glory.  The largest one was about six inches in diameter with five petals interlaced, dark orange along the edges, and pale white towards the center, exploding in a furry red. 

And this passage came to mind from Lesson 156, I walk with God in perfect holiness.

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.


Reading “Glimpses of God’s Grace” by Anita Corrine Donihue, I came across a story about a woman named Fanny J. Cobb (1820-1915) who was blind from infancy because of a doctor’s mistake.  She had a hard life, but “in spite of everything, she resolved to enjoy life and be thankful for God’s blessings.” 

 “One day, Fanny visited a friend named Phoebe Knapp (1839-1908).  Phoebe played a melody for Fanny that she had recently composed and asked Fanny what the words should be.  Fanny dropped to her knees in prayer.  What she visualized in her mind was clear.  There in Phoebe’s home Fanny wrote the lyrics to the melody, and the hymn ’Blessed Assurance’ was born.”

This is a great example of becoming receptive and listening to “God’s Voice speaking to me all through the day.” (Lesson 49)

    Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
    O what a foretaste of glory divine!
    Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
    born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

    This is my story, this is my song,
    praising my Savior all the day long;
    this is my story, this is my song,
    praising my Savior all the day long.

    Perfect submission, perfect delight,
    visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
    angels descending bring from above
    echoes of mercy, whispers of love.    

    Perfect submission, all is at rest;
    I in my Savior am happy and blest,
    watching and waiting, looking above,
    filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

(I must say that I tried to think of a way to alter the last phrase of Stanza 1:
. . . touched by his rod, echoing “Thy rod and they staff, they comforteth me.”)


I just love to hear basic truth expressed in different ways.  For example, one of my favorite Lessons in the Course is Lesson 49, God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.

It is quite possible to listen to God's Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not.

The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God's Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.

And now listen to these passages echoed in the first two paragraphs of a book by Janet Connor entitled, “Writing Down Your Soul.”

THERE IS A VOICE INSIDE YOU.  There is a Voice inside everyone.  Whether you hear it or not, the Voice is there.  Whether you acknowledge it or not, the Voice is there.  Whether you ask for help or ignore its guidance, the Voice is still there.  Waiting.  It is waiting for you to stop, if just for a moment, and listen.  The Voice is always there, guiding you, encouraging you, loving you.  This book is about connecting with that Voice.

I’ll let you in on a sweet little secret right here on the very first page:  connecting with that Voice is easy.  And why shouldn’t it be?  The Voice isn’t trying to hide from you—it is seeking you.  It knows the rich conversation that awaits you both.  It knows what you need and longs to give it to you.  So it stays close at hand, in your heart, your mind, your soul.  The Voice is right there, barely below the surface, waiting for you to pick up your pen and penetrate the thin wall of consciousness that keeps you apart. 
(pp. 7,8)

Because of an event that occurred yesterday, I spent a restless night, and I woke up in a funk this morning.  It hardly matters what the event was about because what I am making of it in my perceptual mind is the problem; I am not a victim.  Looking through my body’s eyes, forgetting for a moment the truth of what I am, is always the problem.
So, I sat down on my couch and asked for help to experience peace, so that I could be receptive to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me all through the day, answering my questions:

What would You have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?

Lesson 71.9

Then I read Lesson  271,  God’s healing Voice protects all things today.

Suddenly, while reading this passage, the clouds of funk disappeared, and the light shone brightly, again, because these lines echoed my previous thoughts, reaffirming that I am God’s beloved Son; the synchronicity knocked me out, and I felt that easy, peaceful feeling again.

Your healing Voice protects all things today,
and so I leave all things to You. I need
be anxious over nothing. For Your Voice
will tell me what to do and where to go;
to whom to speak and what to say to him,
what thoughts to think,
what words to give the world.
The safety that I bring is given me.
Father, Your Voice protects all things through me.

Reading Lesson 186, Salvation of the world depends on me, I was struck by the word “arrogance,” meaning, overbearing, insolent, and assuming.  Listening to my arrogant ego prevents me from serving my true function as savior of the world.

Let us not fight our function. We did not
establish it. It is not our idea.
The means are given us by which it will
be perfectly accomplished. All that we
are asked to do is to accept our part
in genuine humility, and not
deny with self-deceiving arrogance
that we are worthy.

What came to mind as an example of pure arrogance is Julius Caesar.  In Shakespeare’s play, the conspirators begin to close in on Caesar, kneeling, imploring him to reverse his decision to banish Metellus Cimber.  In fact, they are closing in with the intent of assassinating him.  To the end, Caesar remains true to his arrogant self.

Thy brother by decree is banished.
If thou dost bend and pray and fawn for him,
I spurn thee like a cur out of my way.
Know Caesar doth not wrong but with just cause,
Nor without cause will he be satisfied.
And he continues:
I could be well moved, if I were as you.
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fixed and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber’d sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world.

Act 3.1:52-66

Obviously, Caesar was completely unaware of his true function.

Reading Lesson 277, Let me not bind Your Son with laws I made, I was inspired to experience Me as I was created by God.

I sat quietly, closed my eyes, simply focusing on breathing in and breathing out, letting all thoughts go by, fading away, becoming weaker and weaker, until, for a moment, peace filled my heart, infusing my body.  This state of mind is my Self created by God.
And then, I read again the first stanza of the Lesson, letting the egoic me be represented as “me” and “i” and my Self as I and Me.

Your Son is free, my Father. Let “me” not
Imagine”i” have bound him with the laws
“i” made to rule the body. He is not
subject to any laws “i” made by which
“i” try to make the body more secure.
He is not changed by what is changeable.
He is not slave to any laws of time.
He is as You created him, because
He knows no law except the law of love.

Seeing the egoic “i” as the Self I is so automatic, so habitual, so ingrained, so conditioned, and I was astonished to see a vivid reminder of this each time I changed the I to “i”.  The operating program of Word AUTOMATICALLY turns the  i into a capital I, just as the egoic i takes over and assumes my Identity.


Forgiveness can be quite confusing.  For example, I am sitting on my couch early in the morning, reading a section of the Text of A Course in Miracles, entitled, “For They Have Come,” and a brother comes to mind for whom I feel a seething resentment.  So, with this judgment pressing on my mind, I read this:

Regard him gently.  Look with loving eyes
on him who carries Christ within him, that
you may behold his glory and rejoice
that Heaven is not separate from you. 1

Damn.  It didn’t work.  I’m still pissed.  But, then, this Thought came in:  My perception of him is a dream; it is not so.  He and I, in reality, are  joined in our Christ mind, no matter what I am making up.  And that recognition, for a moment, is forgiveness.

OK.  That may not seem like much, but for a moment I remembered that I dreamed him up, and that moment is touched by forgiveness.

I’ll take it.


While reading Lesson 278, If I am bound, my Father is not free, I was struck by Jesus using the “if, then” proposition.  Here is the first stanza of His Lesson.

If I accept that I am prisoner
within a body, in a world in which
all things that seem to live appear to die,
then is my Father prisoner with me.

If I am bound in any way, (then) I do not know
My Father nor my Self.

In logic, the “If” statement is the hypothesis, and the “then” statement is the conclusion.  The question with these propositions is always whether the hypothesis is a true statement, or a false supposition.  Obviously, in these two examples, the hypothesis  is false.

Obviously, Jesus cuts through the falsity by his logical statement, saying, therefore, or “For:”

For truth is free, and what is bound is not a part of truth.

Here is Jesus, the Master.

If pain is real, there is no God.
If God is real, there is no pain.
Lesson 190.3

I am reminded of a poem by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936 ), “If.”  Obviously, Kipling is not awake to his true Identity, and identifies fully with worldly concerns,  overcoming the duality by choosing the positive over the negative, concluding that if you do it right, then you will be a good human.

Here is his last stanza.

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!


My friend, Pat Connor, brought to my attention an account of a Near Death Experience, or I like to change it to a Near Life Experience, by a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon, Dr. Eben Alexander.

I was just mesmerized by his account because it echoes A Course in Miracles time after time. Here are some juicy excerpts.

As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I grew up in a scientific world, the son of a neurosurgeon. I followed my father’s path and became an academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.
Then, on the morning of my seventh day in the hospital, as my doctors weighed whether to discontinue treatment, my eyes popped open.
‘You have nothing to fear.’ ‘There is nothing you can do wrong.’ The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief.

For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. She was young, and I remember what she looked like in complete detail. She had high cheekbones and deep-blue eyes. Golden brown tresses framed her lovely face.
Without using any words, she spoke to me. The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial.
The message had three parts, and if I had to translate them into earthly language, I’d say they ran something like this:
“You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”
“You have nothing to fear.”
“There is nothing you can do wrong.”
The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief. It was like being handed the rules to a game I’d been playing all my life without ever fully understanding it.

Here is the link to the entire account.

We use a variety of metaphors to describe the fix we’re in as we look out on a world through the ego’s eyes, believing that what we look upon is real.

It’s a fix, a dream, an illusion, a mirage, a movie, a stage play, and you can add here your favorite. . .

I was reminded of one of my favorite metaphors when I read this passage from“What is the Holy Spirit?
Across the bridge that He provides are dreams
all carried to the truth, to be dispelled
before the light of knowledge.
We are in a spell, against our Will, indeed.
There is no Will but God’s.  (Lesson 74)

In this Lesson, after practicing experiencing only God’s Will, Jesus says:

If you are succeeding, you will feel a deep sense of joy and an increased alertness, rather than a feeling of drowsiness and enervation. 5:4

In a spell, I am drowsy and enervated, meaning “to cut the nerves of, to cut the sinews.”

Now, that describes what it’s like to be in a spell.

In the fall of 1962, in my senior year at Kalamazoo College, I was Co-captain of our football team, a defensive end, and tonight we gather at the Kalamazoo Country Club to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our undefeated season, only the third undefeated football team in the history of the college, founded in 1833.

What has faded away for me are the memories of the games and the scores and the plays and the practices, but what does remain are the intangible qualities that brought us all together, inspired by our outstanding coaches, Rolla Anderson and George Acker and Ray Steffen, and it is significant that we called them Rolla and George and Ray, and not the more official, “Coach.”

Here are some of those qualities: determination, perseverance, dedication, single-purpose, courage, selflessness, loyalty, teamwork, enthusiasm, and game faces.  The looks on our faces as we came together on those Saturday afternoons made tangible these qualities. 
During that season we found these qualities within ourselves, and there they were nourished and manifested, and as my life went on, I continued to bring these into application.

First, I spent a career teaching, and any class I ever taught became a team, working together, taking personal responsibility to make it a joyful joining.

Secondly, waking up from the dream through A Course in Miracles required these qualities and strengths more than ever.

At the Healing Center of Endeavor Academy, there are 12 Booths forming a semi-circle facing the front of the room.  Here are the names of the 12 Booths: Determination, Perseverance, Forgiveness, Gratefulness, Love, Peace, Light, Joy, Mind, Power, Freedom, Home.

What I experienced with my teammates and my coaches was the foundation for my transformation, and although twenty-one year old guys would never say it, we were held together by Love.

Being at Kalamazoo College for Homecoming, I was reminded of where and when the seeds were sown for me to write, Larry Barrett, my beloved English Professor.

In the fall of 1959, twenty of us gathered in Dr. Laurence Barrett’s classroom in Bowen Hall for Freshman Comp.  Here is the scene from across the years:  He is sitting on his desk, cross-legged, making searing eye contact with each of us in turn.  He has the haircut of the times, a short flat top, his sport coat is dusted with chalk, his shirt collar ends are pointing up, his tie is awry across his chest, and he holds forth in a gruff, but loving manner.  And, oh yes, much to Neil Harris’ delight and mine, his vocabulary is occasionally laced with mild profanity, like damn, piss and shit.  Neil and I loved it when some of the girls talked about it at dinner in Welles Hall, shaking their heads and pursing their lips.

Now, here is what brought it all together, the standing assignment:  Every two weeks, write an essay.  No assigned topic.  Write about what is important to you. 

The way Larry handled these tender pages was inspired and inspiring.  He asked us to type our essays on mimeograph masters.  He would then run them off, each one identified with a number instead of a name.  He handed out these precious packets, and he lovingly taught us how to read and write, using our own writing.

So, one day, while reading through a packet, Larry came to my essay.  He read the first three paragraphs without stopping for a comment or a correction.  Then he looked up and said, “Do you know what that means?  You bet your bootstraps you know what that means.”  He went on to say that it was a model of coherence.

Well, that was it, and that was everything.  It is as if lightning had flashed from Mount Olympus.  I swear ozone filled the room.  At that moment, I breathed in the divine, and that is the root meaning of the word inspiration, from the Latin, inspirare. 

After class, I walked out of Bowen Hall, headed across the quad, and resolutely said to myself, “If I can write for Larry Barrett, I can write for anybody.” 

Emmet Fox (1886-1951), a pioneer of the New Thought Movement, published a book entitled, Around the Year with Emmet Fox, 365 daily meditations, and this one is from January 2.

But where is this wonderful Power to be contacted?  The answer is simple—this Power is to be found within your own consciousness, the last place that most people would look for it.  Within your own mentality there lies a source of energy stronger than electricity, more potent than high explosive; unlimited and inexhaustible.  You only need to make conscious contact with it to set it working in your affairs.  This Indwelling Power, the Inner Light, is spoken of in the Bible as a child.  The conscious discovery by you that you have this Power within you, and your determination to make use of it, is the birth of the child.

This Child needs your protection. He is far
from home. He is so little that He seems
so easily shut out, His tiny voice
so readily obscured, His call for help
almost unheard amid the grating sounds
and harsh and rasping noises of the world.
Yet does He know that in you still abides
His sure protection. You will fail Him not.
He will go home, and you along with Him.

This* is a marvelous description of what happens when the spiritual idea, the Child, is born to the soul.  Walking in darkness, moral or physical, dwelling in the land of the shadow of death—the death of joy, or hope, or even self-respect—describes well the condition of many people before this light shines into their weary, heartbroken lives.

*I must confess that I substituted a passage from A Course in Miracles, Lesson 182.6  for his Biblical one, Isaiah, 9:6.

It is my intention as my day unfolds to ask for help to be in a peaceful state of mind, so that I am receptive to the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit, speaking to me all through the day.  (Lesson 49)  Of course, this is particularly the case in my writing.

This is nicely expressed by Janet Connor in her book, Writing Down Your Soul:  How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within.
And let’s not forget miracles.  Ask and you shall receive.  Every spiritual tradition tells us that asking and receiving is the law of the universe, and the Voice is happy to comply.  Pick up a pen with the INTENTION of connecting with that extraordinary Voice within, and your life will start rumbling, shifting, and moving.  Awakening, as if from a long sleep, you will see your world differently, and you’ll find yourself changing, subtly at first.  Then, as your trust expands in the wisdom of the Voice, you’ll find you have the inner strength and confidence to create your own brave new world. p. 9

INTENTION comes from Old French, enteneion, meaning stretching out,  reaching  to hear the Voice.

And, then, this came to mind:  As I write, I enjoy the fluidity of receptivity finding expression.


So, ‘Fearless Felix’ finally did it.  He jumped out of a capsule from more than 24 miles above the earth and landed safely, coincidentally on the 65th Anniversary of Chuck Yeager, the U. S. Test Pilot, breaking the sound barrier in a jet.

‘Fearless Felix’ hit mach 1.24, or 834 mph, the first man to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet. Of all the hoopla surrounding this event, what struck me was his comment about his experience of traveling faster than sound.

“It is hard to describe because you don’t feel it.  With no reference points, you don’t know how fast you travel.”

This reminded me of what it is like to experience the Real World in my mind without the reference points of the false world of time and space.

The real world cannot be perceived except
through eyes forgiveness blesses, so they see
a world where terror is impossible,
and witnesses to fear can not be found.
The real world holds a counterpart for each
unhappy thought reflected in your world;
a sure correction for the sights of fear
and sounds of battle which your world contains.
The real world shows a world seen differently,
through quiet eyes and with a mind at peace.
Nothing but rest is there.
8. What is the Real World?

And this is how my friend, Kristen Kloostra, expresses it in the last part of her lovely poem, Holy Ground:
In this ancient new awareness of now...
Where are separate bodies?
Where is time and space?
Only the ecstasy of Union IS.
And the Great rays dance throughout our field
As the aurora borealis ripples and shimmers
through the sky in ecstatic delight. 
So release your world now and be swept away!


While I was walking around the campus of Kalamazoo College last weekend, enjoying the Homecoming festivities, memories came flooding in.

I kept thinking about one of my favorite English Professors, Dr. Laurence Barrett, who inspired me to write.

Ten years ago, I was surprised to receive a phone call from his daughter, informing me that he had just passed on, and while going through his papers, she came across a note saying that he wanted Ray Comeau to deliver his eulogy.

On September 12, 2002, I stood at the lectern of Stetson Chapel, cresting the hill overlooking the quad of the College, reading his eulogy, and about three-quarters through it, I felt this insertion of Light and stepped around the lectern and said, “Although Larry has left his body, his spirit is still with us here,  now.”

When I returned to Endeavor Academy, I walked into the Reading Room for morning Session, and Master Teacher was sitting on the couch, teaching, surrounded by students.  Master Teacher and I made eye contact, and then he said to me, “Did you know I was there?”

And I cracked up because I realized at that moment that he was the Light insertion.

He laughed uproariously, rolling back on the couch, his feet coming up in the air, bicycling, and then he rocked forward, laughing.


As happens so frequently,  I came across a sentence in a Lesson that stayed with me for a long time.  Here is the sentence, this time from Lesson 287, You are my goal my Father.  Only You.

Your Son would be as You created him.

“Would be,” the conditional form of the verb.  So, what conditions must I meet to experience my Self as God’s creation?

I ask the Holy Spirit for help to let go of, surrender, forgive the fear thoughts pouring through my mind that have no source in reality.  This leaves a place in my mind to be receptive to loving thoughts.

The Holy Spirit will help you reinterpret everything that you perceive as fearful, and teach you that only what is loving is true. Truth is beyond your ability to destroy, but entirely within your ability to accept. It belongs to you because, as an extension of God, you created it with Him. It is yours because it is part of you, just as you are part of God because He created you. Nothing that is good can be lost because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the Voice for creation. Nothing that is not good was ever created, and therefore cannot be protected. T-5.lV.1:2-8


While driving down the highway, leaving Michigan this morning, I was reading to Christine Lesson 294, My body is a wholly neutral thing.

My body, Father, cannot be your Son.
And what is not created cannot be
sinful nor sinless, neither good nor bad.
Let me then use this dream to help Your plan
that we awaken from all dreams we made.

Riding in the car, I found it natural to see the analogy between the neutral gear and my neutral body.  The car simply sits idling, ready for my command to go forward, or go in reverse.  It is simply ready to be useful.

The question is what command  do I give my neutral body?  There’s the problem, the “I” that is usually, habitually, yes automatically, in charge.  As my friend, Dan Maynard, frequently says, “Don’t let the blind one drive.”

The solution is to ask the Holy Spirit for help to know what direction to move in, letting go of, surrendering, forgiving the “I” plan. 

In Lesson 71,  Only God’s plan for salvation will work, Jesus teaches us to practice listening to God’s plan.

Let us devote the remainder of the extended practice period to asking God to reveal His plan to us.  Ask Him very specifically:

What would you have me do?
Where would You have me go?
What would You have me say, and to whom?
W-71.9: 1-5

Dealing with brothers day in and day out, at work, at play, at meals, in Session, I find it funny, at first, to read a passage from the Course, like, Your brother is your Savior.

He often seems to do anything but save me.  But then I get it when I say to myself that my brother offers me an opportunity to take a hard look at the shit that comes to mind when I look at him.  In that respect, my brother can save me from my shit.

At that moment, he affords me the opportunity to realize I am looking through the lens of a projector, garbing him with my past references that only have to do with me, not with him, except as a triggering device, while all the time, he is the Christ, walking through my costume show.

My brother is my Savior.  Let me not
attack the savior you have given me.
But let me honor him who bears Your Name,
and to remembe4r that it is my own.
Lesson 288

Now, I will try to remember this when I next encounter a brother, and honor him as I say to myself, “Namaste,” the Christ in me greets the Christ in you.

In Lesson 190, I choose the joy of God instead of  pain, I was struck by the metaphors of the battleground that Jesus uses to describe the pain we experience when we choose to see through the body’s eyes.

Lay down your arms, and come without defense
into the quiet place where Heaven's peace
holds all things still at last. Lay down all thoughts
of danger and of fear. Let no attack
enter with you. Lay down the cruel sword
of judgment that you hold against your throat,
and put aside the withering assaults
with which you seek to hide your holiness. 9

In contrast, Jesus encourages us to find a place in our mind Above the Battleground.
The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.

Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realize it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognized if murder is your choice? T-23.lV.5

In his book of daily readings, Emmet Fox (1886-1951), reminds me of the true meaning of the word, miracle.  It comes from the Latin, miraculum, meaning object of wonder.

First Isaiah says that the name of the Child is Wonderful.  The word used here requires careful scrutinization.  As employed in the Bible, it implies a miracle—just that, and nothing less.  The Bible repeatedly says that miracles can happen, and it gives detailed and circumstantial accounts of many specific cases.  Moreover, it says that miracles always will happen if you believe them to be possible, and are willing to recognize the power of God, and to call upon it.  As soon as the Child is born in your consciousness, the miracles will come into your life.  (Around the Year with Emmet Fox:  A Book of Daly Readings, January 4)

And, of course, Jesus begins His Course with the 50 Miracle Principles.  Here are simply the first 5, briefly:

1.     There is no order of difficulty in miracles.
2.     Miracles as such do not matter.
3.    Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
4.    All miracles mean life; and God is the Giver of life.
5.    Miracles are habits, and should be involuntary.

I cannot believe after all these years of being attentive to the root meaning of words that I never before saw that individual means to be “undivided.”

It took reading these passages from Emmet Fox’s book of daily readings.

The fifth main aspect of God is Soul.  Soul is that aspect of God by virtue of which He is able to individualize Himself. The word individual means undivided.  Most people seem to think it suggests separateness but actually individual means undivided, and God has the power of individualizing Himself without, so to speak, breaking Himself into parts.
You are really an individualization of God.  Only God can individualize Himself in an infinite number of units of consciousness, and yet not be in any way separate because God is spirit.  Matter cannot be individualized.  It can only be divided.  So your real Self, the Christ within, the spiritual man, the I Am, of the divine spark, as it is variously called, is an individualization of God.  You are the presence of God at the point where you are. (January 16)

Long before coming across the Course, I went through a Jungian phase that turned out to help me along the path to awakening.  Looking back, I realize now what he meant by his term, “individuation.”

Here are two quotations from Jung:

To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality in fact is.
What is it, in the end,  that induces a man to go his own way and to rise out of unconscious identity with the mass as out of a swathing mist?

It is what is commonly called vocation: an irrational factor that destines a man to emancipate himself from the herd and from its well-worn paths. … Anyone with a vocation hears the inner Voice: he is called.