Saturday, October 08, 2016

Jesus and Trump and the Christ and Namaste

What follows is 1) an article that appeared in USA Today by  Tom Krattenmaker, a member of USA  TODAY’s Board of Contributors, and communications director at Yale Divinity School)m 2) my e-mail response to him, and  3) his e-mail response to me.

Friday, 26 August 2016

What Jesus would do:
Love Donald Trump
Tom Krattemaker

“Love your enemies,” Jesus said.

But does the daunting concept really apply to our hostile politics today? Can Democrats love conservatives? Is it possible for Hillary Clinton supporters to — gasp — love Donald Trump? Can Trump be loved even by Republicans who are convinced he is destroying their party?
Yes, actually.

As a staff member at Yale Divinity School and as a secular person who has been unpacking the central teachings of Jesus for an upcoming book, I have come to see ways in which this principle can be applied today. Even to the inveterate commandment-breaker and bad-behavior-modeler Donald Trump.

It helps if we get clear about the meaning of “love” in the biblical context. John Collins, a prolific Yale scholar who teaches a popular class on biblical values and their application to public issues today, reminds me that the word conveys something quite different from what comes to mind for most of us.
This biblical love, Collins points out, is not a surge of affection or a romantic attraction to someone (feelings, not incidentally, that can change and fade). Rather, it can be thought of as a commitment to and regard for our fellow human beings — even those not like us and not on our side, politically or culturally speaking — and refusing to reduce them to their worst ideas and behavior.

Does “loving” one’s political rivals mean ceding elections to them, or abandoning our own principles and policies to push theirs instead? Of course not. If we believe Trump’s values and politics would harm the country and the people who populate it, love compels us to resist his election and the advancement of what he stands for.
What does this love of enemy imply? I find it’s easier to answer that with respect to Trump supporters than Trump himself. This is not to endorse the bigotry frequently on display at his rallies, or the “lock her up!” vitriol and threats of violence against Clinton. There is no place for these. But an empathetic look at Trump supporters surfaces the frustration and bewilderment of a subset of the country that has felt abandoned by rapid economic and social upheaval and politics as usual.

To love them is to tease out what might be legitimate about their grievances and to want them to have decent, dignified lives. It means relating to them in a way conducive to a change of heart whereby that heart might eventually change — might store more than resentment against immigrants, minorities and “politically correct” liberals.

What of Trump himself? Bible scholars will tell you that an important aspect of Jesus-style love is wanting the best for others, even those you label “enemy.” In Collins’ view, this suggests wanting for Trump a newfound ability to resist firing off mean-spirited tweets and ill-conceived ideas that malign other people and reveal his own lack of knowledge and character.

Loving Trump also implies wanting the best for him personally even as we thwart his political desires. For a narcissistic power seeker, winning the presidential election would only feed his worst tendencies. His massive and problematic ego — “I alone can fix it,” as he boasts when discussing the country’s problems—would likely soar to destructive new heights were he to occupy the most powerful office in the land.

Better for Trump’s character — better for his soul, if you will — that he experience and accept a very public loss in this biggest contest of his life and spend his remaining years devoting himself to ends more edifying than inflating his superiority and degrading his rivals.

Loving Trump means resisting any urge to clamor for his imprisonment or execution, as some of his supporters have demanded for Clinton. No need for any symbolic walk of shame like that endured by Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones. (We know what that led to: She sought and got revenge on a massively destructive scale.)
The funny thing about loving our political enemies is that the minute we change our regard for them, they morph before our eyes. They remain our political opponents, but they are no longer our enemies — and no longer deserving of the treatment the word implies.
They become, instead, human, and deserving of all that implies. Even if their name is Donald Trump.

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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Der Tom, 

I am so grateful for your article, “What Jesus would do:  Love Donald Trump.”  Several million readers will be reminded that Jesus taught us to love our neighbor.

Following your example, I am going to express to you what loving your neighbor means to me.

First, when I think of Jesus, what comes to mind is His resurrection, not his crucifixion.  His resurrection demonstrates His Divinity, his eternal Spirit.
While He was waking on this earth, He underwent a transformation, an illumination, so that he experienced his eternal Spirit, and his resurrection demonstrated it to the world.

When He taught, love thy neighbor as thy Self, He meant to recognize in your neighbor the eternal Spirit.  When you experience your Self, you can see this Self, this Spirit, in your brother.  You are seeing your brother with the eyes of Christ.

An example of this is greeting your brother, saying, “Namaste,” the Christ in me greets the Christ in you.

Therefore, “Namaste, Donald Trump.”

Obviously, in the past two thousand years, there has been ample evidence that Jesus is Spirt; Jesus is present with us in every moment.
Here is my favorite example.  In October of 1965, He said to Helen Schucman, a Psychology Professor at Columbia, “This is A Course in Miracles, please take notes,” and she dutifully did for seven years, and A Course in Miracles was published in 1975.  It consists of a Text with 31 Chapters, a Workbook for Students, consisting of 365 Lessons, one for each day of the year, and a Manual for Teachers.

This Course provides an opportunity to transform our minds, so that we can fulfill our only function of being on this earth, coming into awareness that we are Spirit.

Since we are Spirit, we are the Sons of God, we are as He created us.  The Course constantly teaches us this holy truth.
My wife, Christine, and I begin again with Lesson 1 on January 1 of each year.

For example, today’s Lesson is 240, Fear is not justified in any form.

Here is a passage from the Lesson:

We are the Sons of God. There is no fear in us,
for we are each a part of Love Itself.
How foolish are our fears! Would You allow
Your Son to suffer? Give us faith today
to recognize Your Son, and set him free.
Let us forgive him in Your Name, that we
may understand his holiness, and feel
the love for him which is Your Own as well.

When we recognize God’s Son in our neighbor, we set him free.


Ray Comeau, Ph.D.

Here is a little bit about myself.  I received my BA from Kalamazoo College in 1963, my MA from the University of Chicago in 1965, and my Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1973.

I have written four books:

1.  Through a Mirror, Brightly:  Reflections of a Mind Illuminated Trough A Course in Miracles, 2000.

2.  There Must Be Another Way, 2008.

3.  100 Haiku:  Inspired by the Mind Training of A Course in Miracles, 2015.

4.  100 Haiku:  Book Two, 2016.

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Dear Ray,

Wow, what a great message. Thank you so much for getting in touch and sharing this wisdom with me.

I'm familiar with the Course in Miracles! Can't say I have done it or know much about it, but it sounds like a transformative set of teachings.

Thanks again for being in touch. All the best to you,


P.S. Four books, eh? Hats off to you. Books are a lot of work! My third is coming out in just over a month.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Running the Chicago Marathon , October 26, 1978

In the fall of 1977, I returned to Kalamazoo College as an Assistant Professor of Education, having graduated from K in 1963 with an English Major and a career as a track athlete, high and low hurdles and the quarter mile, and football player, defensive end, and my football coach, Rolla, now Athletic Director, asked me to coach the men and women’s cross country teams, and I said, “I have never even seen a cross country race,” and the sly fox said, “OK, why don’t you be Ed Baker’s Assistant Coach ng in track this spring, and I said, “OK,” and I was hooked, I had forgotten how much I knew about running and, I just loved working with the guys, and I went up to Rolla and said, “I want to coach cross country, starting next fall,” and then  I looked in the mirror and realized I was about 30 pounds overweight and I hadn’t done any walking or running for years, and in January, 1978, I was reading the magazine, “Runner’s World,” and saw an article that said if you want to run a marathon, 26.2 miles,  this is the way to train, and I went to the track the next day, telling myself I would run a mile, ran two laps, a half-mile, and said that’s it for today, completely winded,  and so it began, going to the track every day and slowly increasing my distance and in a couple of months I hit the road, running two miles a day, and then over the months I increased it, until I was running about 5 miles a day, 6 days a week, and then in June I began increasing my speed until I was running 8 minute pace per mile, for 6 miles, and day after day I built-up my stamina, my speed and my distance, occasionally, some of the guys from the cross country team would join me on a run, particularly Joel Menges, and kindly run my pace, and I had long ago picked out the Chicago Marathon in October, and in late September, I ran my longest distance, 15 miles at 8 minute pace, and that was the farthest I had ever run, 11 miles shy of a marathon, and on the day of the marathon, it was 89 degrees F, and I began, at 5 miles, 40 minutes, 10 miles, 1 hour 20 minutes, and at 20 miles, it was 2:41.19, that is, 79 seconds off pace, it looked as if I were going to do it, and then….at 24 miles, I hit the wall, suddenly, I could hardly put one foot in front of the other, let alone keep my pace, I had never experienced anything like it, and I said to myself, “Look, you fucker, you are going to finish, even if you crawl in,” and I shuffled to the end, taking 24 minutes to run the final 2 miles, and the reason I hit the wall is because, stupidly, I didn’t drink any water along the way, although it was offered every couple of miles, I was stupidly thinking that if I slowed down for water, I wouldn’t be able to keep my pace….well, I ended up completing it in 3 hours and 36 minutes,  my goal was 3 hours and 30 minutes that would have qualified me to run the Boston Marathon in the spring. . .  and, I did finish what I set out to do.

Friday, May 27, 2016

I Can Never Forgive a Person; I Can Only Forgive a Thought


Defining what true forgiveness is is tricky.  At first, it seems that I am trying to forgive a person.  Someone does something that hurts me, and I ask for help to find the strength to forgive that person.  This is bargaining, and I probably think I am a better person than that person.

The thing is, I can never forgive a person; I can only ask for help to let go of my thought-image that is making up that person, simply a projection. 
I can only forgive a thought.

That’s good because it keeps it all within my mind; obviously, the image I am projecting outside begins inside, and there is where I need to focus.

And, I am up against it because I am dealing with several  thousand thoughts pouring through my mind all day.

Not only that, these thoughts are based on my habitual conditioning, my core beliefs, that were well in place by the time I was five years old.  This automatic conditioning is the basis for the thoughts that are triggered by another person’s behavior.

And, I can let it go because I am placing my finger on my nose, taking full responsibility, looking inside.

What comes to mind is this passage from Luke:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (23/34)

Jesus is acknowledging that those crucifying Him are not aware of their projections.  They completely focused on Jesus, outside of them as a body, completely unaware that He is simply a thought-image, in fact, they all have slightly different thought-images of Him.

Jesus knows full well that they are unaware of their projections and lovingly asks our Father that they be forgiven.

And from Lesson 134, Let me perceive forgiveness as it is:

Forgiveness looks on thoughts with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.”

I can never forgive a person; I can only forgive my thoughts projected on a person.

Again, from Lesson 134: 

He has been  gently awakened from his dream by understanding what he THOUGHT he saw was never there. 

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On July 4th, I began reading “In The World But Not Of It,” by Jesus, as scribed by Gina Lake.

I came across theses brilliant passages by Jesus describing our thought-stream, and I am placing them here because they echo my experience of forgiving thoughts, not people. 

Chapter 2
The Clouds
The illusion Spun by Thoughts

The obscurations to Christ Consciousness, to experiencing your divine nature, are simply thoughts.  These thoughts are the ones that flow continually through your mind, speaking to you as if they were you, and authority figure, or a friend.  They are primarily about you and your life, what to do, how to be, what happened, and what will be.  I will be referring to this mental commentary as the thought-stream, the voice in your head, or the egoic mind. 
Imagine that:  Something as flimsy and ephemeral as a stream of thoughts is powerful enough to hide your divine nature from you and, in its place, create a sense of yourself as separate, limited, vulnerable, and lacking.  Thoughts create the illusion of a self that has problems, fears, desires, struggles, emotions, and pain.  They create the false self.  Without thoughts, problems and suffering disappear and so does the false self.   Thoughts perform quite a magic trick!

Thoughts can come and go in the background without affecting you, because you understand they are simply the programming common to all humans and not uniquely yours.  You see that your thoughts actually have nothing to do with your and mean nothing about you—the real you, that is—although they have everything to do with the false self.

You come to see that you are the spacious, silent Presence in which thoughts, feelings, desires, sense impressions, intimations, knowing, insights, inspiration, and motivations come and go.  You share the ground of being out of which everything you experience arises.  You are that which is eternal and untouched by the coming and gong of thoughts, feelings, desires, sense impressions, and the whole world of form.  And there is total love for form and for its coming and going.  What a miracle this world is!  In Christ Consciousness, you are in love with life itself and with every way that life manifests.