What A Course In Miracles is NOT

This is a very important clarification that needs to be made. A Course in Miracles is not for everyone. Yes, it can be applied by anyone, but not everyone will be drawn to it. ACIM is only for those people who are drawn to it, read it, actualize its principles in their lives and believe it is the “path” for them. The Course is very straight forward about this. It says it is only one form of the universal course all must take. The Course is not competitive with any other system! It is not “evangelical.” It is not trying to proselytize!!

In the early days Dr. Ken Wapnick, jokingly described the Course as a path for intellectuals! (“We intellectuals need a system too!”) While it is true that the Course is very challenging and might appeal to intellectuals, it is truly for everyone who feels drawn to it.

So if you are a Christian of any denomination and you are learning to love God and love your neighbor as yourself, then that path is working for you. Why would you wanted to change? If you are a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and you are learning that lesson, then your path is working for you. If you are a theosophist, spiritualist, or new ager and you are learning this lesson then that path is working for you.

The universal course we all must take is designed to do just that; to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. The problems come in when these religious forms no longer teach the universal course but instead have gotten off message. Some religions have become Imperial while others have become corporations with corporate motives. The old religious forms of the world have frequently failed today to teach the universal course. Many of the New Age religious forms have much to offer but one is left feeling like the universal course is like a needle in the hay stack of embellished new age forms. The truth is hiding so deeply in the forms that it is very difficult to find. Still if you are learning to love God fully and your neighbor as yourself, that system is working for you.

In the early days, one of the ACIM enthusiasts wanted to put a copy of ACIM in every hotel room along with the Gideon Bible!!! Thankfully we didn’t do that.

Most often, the people drawn to ACIM are people for whom religion is not working. They may be disaffected Christians, or people eager to explore spiritually. In any case, if ACIM is your practice you need to live by its modest requests that you do not act superior to your brothers in other religions, but accept them as parts of God just as you are. The terminology, metaphysics and psychology of ACIM are highly advanced and we need to be kind towards our brothers by not insisting on our terminology but instead look inside to the truth within the form.

Unfortunately ACIM has now surpassed even early Christianity in its early divisions, sects, and quarrels. It is saddening to see the innate tendency in people to divide and attack. The two Lighthouses to steer by are The Foundation for Inner Peace and The Foundation for A Course in Miracles, both in California.

The Course is given to those drawn to it, and to them it is truly “The Thoughts of God” and a Gift to His son.

The Myth of Ascension Dec.21st, 2012 and The Mistake of the Futurists!

The Myth of Ascension and The Mistake of the Futurists!

This article will probably make you mad but it needs to be written. In the last half of the twentieth century until today we Western humans have been busy re-mythologizing our religious myths we inherited from traditional Christianity. A myth is a story which is supposed to express something deep that otherwise is inexpressible. The old traditional myth of Christianity said that there would come an “end times,” and the “elect” (the Chosen Ones) would be taken up into the air and join Christ, while all the other people would go through terrible events of the earth. Before the end times, the myth was that people who had accepted Jesus as their personal savior would go to heaven when they die. Of course, like most myths, the people who believe them, did not get that they are myths. They believe them literally.

When I first came to A Course In Miracles I called down to California to ACIM headquarters and got to speak to one of the “original” founders, there with Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM. We had a nice chat. I explained how I had a background in Christian theology but had now moved to the Course. She said something very interesting to me: “All of these Christians who think they are going to heaven when they die are going to be very surprised. If they haven’t gotten their work done, they are not going anywhere!” Now there is the truth! Hold on to that for a few moments as we look at the new myth which has replaced the Christian one. The New Age Myth which replaces the Christian one, is Ascension, especially the belief that Dec.21, 2012 is a special date when all those who have learned love will begin to ascend into a fifth dimension. Even the earth is ascending, just as the Bible promised a “new Heaven and a new Earth.” I’ve got news for you! This is just another re-packaging of the old Christian myth, and likewise, “If you haven’t done your work, you are not going anywhere!” What IS your work? It is a lot more than walking down the isle and shaking the preacher’s hand accepting Jesus as your personal savior! It is also a lot more than joining in with the New Age crowd as they talk lovely things about love and peace. OUR WORK is the nitty-gritty of relationships, our classroom in which we learn our lessons of true forgiveness. True Forgiveness means that we let things go, look past them, precisely because we know that the world is not real and nothing real has been done to you! I am interpreting the myth now using ACIM. Time is a vast illusion, so there is nothing special about Dec.21, 2012, regardless of what the Mayans believed, and we don’t really know what they believed. We are here in this classroom to learn our lessons of forgiveness, join in mind with all our brothers and awaken. This is not ascension because we have never left Heaven. We travel but in dreams while safely at home. The world is a dream and we are here to pop it and remember our true identity as the Mind of Christ, at One with God.

SO MANY PEOPLE are SO sure they know what is going to happen on Dec.21, this year! These people think God created this universe. He did not. They think the universe is evolving towards God. It is not! They think that “consciousness” is evolving! IT IS NOT! The universe is not real. It is our projection! “Consciousness” cannot evolve because it IS the ultimate illusion of separation. “Consciousness” is not real. It cannot evolve. Illusions cannot advance! WE have given ourselves the date of Dec.21, 2012 as a time WE wish to advance. The whole issue is in US because there is nothing outside of US. Many people are working like dedicated egos to help “the universe.” Illusions cannot be helped. They have to be popped! If we wish to do anything on Dec.21 and beyond we have to work inside, to get rid of the blocks to Love’s awareness, forgive the world and you will not try to change it! The Course says, “Seek not to change the world. Seek to change your mind about it instead.” All the “stuff” will happen inside of YOU!!!!!!!! That is the fallacy of the Futurists. They see the universe as real and want to help it. They don’t see that there is nothing outside of ourselves. So you think you are going to evolve into a 5th dimension do you? You are not going anywhere until you have learned all your lessons! You who still believe yourself a powerful individual (ego), are going nowhere real fast.

Trout Stories

Trout Stories

The sun was just about to go down yesterday when I reached the bird sanctuary of Burnaby Lake. The ducks and the geese were very busy gobbling up all the seeds that children, young and old, were tossing to them. The beauty of a marsh at sunset is almost heavenly. This year’s goslings and ducklings are only a week old. A dozen tiny goslings as cute and precious as new life sat on top of their mother goose, nestling inside her feathers. They gave the mother goose a blown-up look with her feathers so puffed up. Redwing blackbirds sang their handsome song and showed off their beautiful wings. This was nature’s show. Wonderfully beautiful wood ducks, prettier than any picture of them could be, and more colorful, mixed with the ubiquitous mallards. The rays of sunset on the marsh, so full of nature’s beauty, were heavenly. A photographer had his equipment set up on tripod, gazing away into the marsh. “What are you focusing on?” I asked. “A silhouette of a bird against the sun set,” he said. “This is heavenly,” I replied, with more than a little hint of awe in my voice. “It doesn’t get much better than this,” he said. I went on up to the beaver lodge. Four or more beavers were laying on their backs nibbling on something. Far off across the lake, with a telescope I saw a mother bald eagle sitting on her nest. It was a magnificent sight. It filled me with a sense of grandeur and magnificence to see this creature caring for her young. On the shimmering water, light bounced and played, color abounded and astounded. Several miles west of me, at still creek where it empties into Burnaby Lake, the beavers are thriving there as well. A few days ago I went to this little creek where before I had caught salmonids (trout and wild salmon), except this time, the beavers were so thick that I could not fish for fear of accidentally hitting one with my spinner. It was an easy choice. I set the rod down and just watched the beavers.

Nature is my truest church. The birds are the choir, and there is never a sour note. Sun, water, and life abounding are my preacher, and the sermon is never boring. How magnificent the Creator must be to design a mallard or a wood duck, a beaver, a trout, a redwing blackbird, and you and me.

Yesterday afternoon the sun was hot and the wind was in the West, so I went back to Still Creek where the plethora of Beavers had run me out the week before. This time the beavers were in the lodge and I shared the creek only with the goslings and ducklings, escorted by their parents. These BC Salmonids have seen many lures already in their young lives and they learn quickly. The poor fellow who sits there with his pole in the water, a bobber and some power bait might as well be reading War and Peace. The trout and salmon are too smart for him. What did I have in my tackle box that these BC fish had never seen? I searched through the contents and came up with a beetle spin, a small lure that we use in the Southern United States for catching blue-gill and crappie. There are definitely no blue gill in BC. Chances were pretty good the salmonids had never seen this little jewel. It has a rubber body with a tail that vibrates very fast, perturbing a lot of water, and a spinner blade that makes a lot of shine. It looks so good I would grab it if I were a trout. I made a few casts under the bridge, then across the creek, and bam—my micro ultra light rod bent like a willow switch. On ultra light gear, a small wild salmon can feel like “ole Tobe.” Salmonids definitely fight harder than bass. That will amaze an American angler, and I expect to get disputations, but I swear it is true. Bass fight hard for a minute or two and give up. Trout fight for their very lives, leaping through the air, diving, twisting.

“Just take it easy,” I said, “I’m going to let you go.” I never keep a fish and never intentionally hurt one. I am there to see the fish, admire it, get to know it a little bit, bless it, let it go, and thank God for the beautiful world He made. That is why I fish. The nice little 12 inch salmonid didn’t believe me. He wouldn’t take it easy. He was convinced that he was being abducted by aliens who would lift him up in the air and perform experiments on him! Eventually he gave up enough so that I could lift him gently out of the water and take the hook out. It is barb less, so as not to hurt the little guy and it comes out easy. Back into Still Creek he went, surely to tell tales to his friends about his abduction. Now catching a salmonid is a special experience. I don’t need to catch many to feel satisfied. It’s not like catching crappies which are so common and stupid that you have to catch thirty of them to make you feel like you’ve been fishing. Just catching one salmonid is a special event. They are like little angels in the creek. This was a small area of water and I really did not expect to catch another one after all the commotion and fracas. But two casts later—bam, the ultra light rod turned into a willow switch again and the battle was on. This beautiful little guy was about the same size and he fought no less valiantly. Salmonids believe in the fight. I believe in them. Finally a beaver poked his head above the water as he swam down the middle of the creek, just checking things out I guess. A few yards down the creek he bashed his tail against the water to let me know that I am in his backyard. Two salmonids were enough. I reeled in the spinner and just admired the redwing blackbirds in the trees.

Today I went back. Would the beetle-spin still work? Or had the two wild salmon that I had “abducted” yesterday sent out an email to all their friends in Still Creek to beware of a little swimming beetle-like thing with a shining spinner blade? Two casts. Bam. Another 11 or 12 incher. One was enough today.

The goslings and ducklings are growing but their numbers dwindle as their poor parents are unable to keep back the crows and eagles that look on them as dinner. Nature seems cruel but God is good and His creation still reflects Him. God is in everything I see because God is in me. I love Him so.

“Any luck,” the passing jogger asks of me as I stand below a little bridge with an ultra light rod and a meps spinner on the end of it? I do not answer back. I just look busy. Am I rude? Well maybe, but I don’t really want to talk to him. The fish are easily spooked, and why should I say, “Yes, this is my special spot. I come here most everyday and catch the most beautiful salmonids you ever saw.” Why should I have to say that? Fishermen don’t willingly advertise their special places where they catch fish! This is a special place. Even were there no trout I would come here to worship. Nature is a panoply of beauty.

It takes a pretty stolid heart to see a red-wing blackbird, a beaver, a wood duck, a trout, and not sense a designer, a painter for the canvas. We are part of this canvas, part of the picture, although some of us have become afflicted with madness and think ourselves at enmity with it. I come as a ritual to put myself back into the picture and feel at home with the still creek and the gentle breeze that flows through the trees and to reach out from deep inside me and embrace the One who made all things, including me. As a part of the ritual, I fish for trout. In this special place, the trout do not really mind that I catch them, though they make a good show of it!

As I cast the meps spinner across the creek and began my retrieve, bam, a wonderfully familiar feeling came into my ultra light rod. Do you know that I have never yet gotten tired of catching trout? But this fight had a different twist to it. As the trout leapt and thrashed a female Mallard duck, cackling like a madwoman from Bedlam, flew down right at me in a Kamikaze flight. I have never been dive bombed by a Mallard before. I didn’t quite know what to do. She circled around for another approach still quacking like I had her babies in my mouth. Down she came for another dive bombing. By this time, I had taken the spinner out of the little trout’s mouth and released him back into the creek. Finally she retreated, still quacking madly. Had her own baby ducklings been snatched from her by crows or eagles? That happens here. The duckling and gosling families have been getting smaller. The eagles swoop down and snatch the ducklings right from the water while the mommy and daddy Mallard can do nothing but quack in rage. My Kamikaze mother had not been able to protect her ducklings, so as my trout thrashed about in the water, she seemed ready and willing to try to save it…from me! We really are all connected in a web of life. Really! As I felt sorry for the poor mommy Mallard who had lost her ducklings, I cast the meps spinner again across to the other side of the creek.

I went to my special place yesterday afternoon to greet the salmonids again, but this time there was a disturbance in the air. Something was just not quite right. “Man was in the forest.” By the time I got to Still Creek, the reason for the disturbance was evident. “Wormers” had come!!! A species dreaded by all sport fishermen whether fly or spin artists. Wormers had come into my special place with their bobbers floating on the surface. Walking all around and over the terrain with their cell phones in hand, doing business while “fishing,” i.e. watching their bobbers! Needless to say, the bobbers were as motionless as tombstones. The trout had retreated from this barbarous encroachment. The beaver swam up the middle of the stream, dodging bobbers. At least I could admire him. But my beautiful trout were hiding. Not even my best beetle-spin could arouse one. The Wormers had brought with them a crowd. Teen-agers smoked dope and played with their pit-bulls. Wasn’t it Bambi who said to his mother, “The forest is different today?” And she responded, “Yes dear, Man was in the forest.” I know this will sound elitist and contrary to the worshipful experiences I have written about. I confess the sin. But it is highly possible to spoil nature. Mankind has been doing it exceedingly well since the industrial revolution. What about the “Wormers”? Weren’t they reaching out as best they knew how to come back into nature? Perhaps at some deep DNA level the urge to return to nature prompted them to pick up a can of worms at the gas station and head down to the creek. But they were doubtless unaware of it With their cell phones, noisy stomping, dogs and dope, they had brought the industrial world into nature. That is not at all the same thing! Man into nature equals destruction. Nature into man equals awareness….and just the little possibility that the thought of a Creator might slip into his cybernetic modern brain….
I had to get out of the house! It was a great spring/summer day and I had been working hard on the computer for days on a project. I was going computer crazy. Those little elfs (“extra low frequency signals”) coming from the computer monitor were eating into my brain. I needed a trout!!!! That is what came into my head. “I have to get out of here and go to my little creek. I need those negative ions and I need a trout.” It is quite possible that I will now have to found “trout anonymous” for people like me who are addicted to catching, looking at, admiring, holding, releasing trout! All I really needed was a little break into nature, and just one trout, just one. So I raced to my car and sped as fast as I could to my secret spot on Still Creek. A quick glance showed that nobody was there. No pain in the butt joggers, and thank god(!), no wormers, that dreaded homosapien offshoot that likes to bring their pit bulls, cell phones and marijuana down to the creek, along with an old Zebco and a can of worms! Thank god none of them were there. I had a new in-line spinner that I had great confidence in. On this warm day the trout would be in the mood to chase a bright flashing lure. My secret spot requires me to slip through some brush as quietly as possible, avoid falling into the creek, and not spook the trout. The blackberries are red now. Maybe next week when I go back they will be ripe enough for me to eat if the birds leave any for me. To be back at my spot bled out most of the tension the computer had pumped into me. On the third cast I got a strike and could see a baby trout as the culprit. He was no more than four inches long. I didn’t hook him, which is a good thing, because trout are delicate little things. Two casts later and a familiar “Bam” hit my spinner. This was a beauty! He was a good 12 inches long and shimmering beautiful in color. I enjoyed letting him fight my micro ultra-light rod with 4 pound test line. He jumped and twisted and dashed but would not give up. I got a little concerned about exhausting him in this little creek where the oxygen content is known to be dangerously low for trout, so I brought him in. I tried the old hand under the belly trick that we use to make bass relax, but it didn’t work on him. He kept jumping and twisting as I tried to get the hook, firmly set, out of his mouth. Finally I got it out and released him back into the creek, blessing him all the way. But there was a problem. He was exhausted and unable to move. I switched from fisherman to doctor as panic almost hit me. I would never want to hurt one of these little angels. I reached into the creek to get him and help him get his breath back. The creek was just too low in oxygen after such a long, hard, battle. It would be like a school kid trying to run a mile at 12,000 feet altitude! I was almost in tears to think that I might have fought this little guy so long that he might die of exhaustion! Finally though, after a little help, he slowly swam away. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “That’s enough for today.” All I needed was one trout, just one.
There are lessons in all of this. Trout are great for life’s lessons! This world of delicate balance requires that we deal with it gently. How easy it is to tread heavily through the earth. That is, after all, the human “disease” with nature. We want to control nature, bring the earth under subjection to us. So we gouge out huge quantities of mother earth and fill the holes with monuments to ourselves in steel and concrete. We like to “develop” the earth! That has now been shown to be a form of madness and yet the inmates are still in charge of the asylum. Any little glimmer of knowledge—let’s not even talk about enlightenment—will tell us that we must walk with a lighter tread, especially if we hope to find our own connection to nature. Don’t play the trout too long! Care more about him than you do of the thrill.
I will never forget an experience I had of taking my children fishing at a little pond. A young boy had caught a bull head catfish and was busy beating it on the head with a rock. My daughter yelled at him to stop it. We were all horrified. That little boy was playing out the game of civilization as he had been taught it: “Bring the world under subjection to you. Conquer it. Beat it. Whip it. Be the master of your fate!” In such madness, nature is the enemy and we are here to conquer it…or develop it for a profit. How heavily mankind has trod this beautiful planet. When we left Eden we founded “The World Industrial Development Corporation” and have been ill at ease ever since. The WIDC views the “trout” as an enemy, or a resource for potential profit.
One of the Bible’s great stories says that God came to feel He “repented” He had ever made man? We are told that was what God was feeling during the time of Noah. And he flooded the earth to get rid of every human being, except Noah and his family, who knew how to live with the animals! The trout were spared of course!

The Lure of Darkness

The Lure of Darkness

There seems to be a lure towards darkness. As the Phantom of the opera tells us, the darkness is seductive. It is amazing that this character who is a serial killer gets portrayed with such sympathy. But he does. People love the Phantom.

Children are afraid of the dark for the monsters they fear hide in it. But they grow up to be adults who are just as often drawn to it, lured to it for its purported appeal of power. The darkness has a slick which lures us, ever so gently.

Many, many years ago I dated a woman who claimed that her family was a part of the Gambino Crime Family. She described the anxiety her family felt when big Paul Castellano  (“Big Paulie”) got whacked by John Gotti. They didn’t know what to expect.  She described how the FBI came to all the family gatherings. Her Aunt Jenny had also married a man in the Gambino family. She calmly related how her Aunt Jenny would have to kiss the ring of “Cousin Joey” when she and her husband went to family gatherings. Her uncle, she claimed, was a Capo in the family. He was a butcher in ordinary life. I shook his hand once and. I thought he was going to break it.  There was an icy coldness about him.  I dated this woman and went with her to family occasions. Once at the dinner table I made the mistake of mentioning an opera company which I described as Mafioso. People’s heads shot up and their eyes almost popped out. I always had a knack for faut pas!

When I first moved to New York for my operatic career I had to supplement my opera income with other gigs and often sang in Italian restaurants. The Godfather had just come out and everybody was talking about it. Real “Wise Guys” would come into the restaurants and talk about how they were famous now! Even they were taken by the glamorous mob figures the movie presented.  Soon the whole country was obsessed with the characters. But the real Wise Guys were not at all glamorous. They were cold as ice and dead serious. They believed, as surely as Iago, in the darkness they lived in.

Several times I sang in an Italian restaurant run by a guy who had been a book keeper for the mob. His tough wife ran the place. One evening the great baritone from the Metropolitan Opera, Mario Sereni, walked in. I sang Nemico della Patria for him and he motioned for me to come to his table. He was very complimentary about my singing and every bit a Divo. We talked shop a bit and then in walked a dozen Wise Guys. The air froze and everybody stopped talking. They went downstairs to have a meeting. Gradually people resumed their conversations. Sereni had sung a lot of operatic roles that I aspired to sing and so I picked his brain for a while. Finally natured called and I excused myself to go to the wash room which in this restaurant was down stairs. Sereni grabbed my arm and asked, “Where are you going?” I told him, “I need to go to the John.” He shook his head and said, “Better you piss yourself than to go down there. When they are down there, you stay up here.” I got it.

When I wasn’t performing opera, I was often bartending at the Asti Restaurant in Greenwich Village. One of my friends had introduced me to this opera restaurant shortly after I moved to New York and I loved it. It was owned by Adolfo Mariani who had been a pretty good baritone himself. He studied with Madame Schuman-Heink but discovered he just wasn’t quite good enough to make a career out of singing so he opened a restaurant. There were lots of Italian restaurants, so to make his distinct, he began singing behind the bar, using the bell of the cash register for some accompaniment. Soon the waiters were singing. Then he hired some singers to perform arias and ensembles. After a while The Asti became the place where opera singers would go after a performance. Adolfo covered the walls with the pictures of all the great singers who came and sang there. After many years the quality of the singers hired for the restaurant became less distinguished and the show became more of a comedy or parody on opera, but people still loved to go there and great singers would still come and sing. My friend took me there and I loved the place. A Neapolitan baritone was singing La Donna e Mobile and I could hear that it was a step down in key. I wondered what he was going to do at the end. He started to go down and so from the table I sang the high note to end the aria, a high A in his key. People applauded and cheered. Adolfo came to the table and introduced himself. He was such a gentleman and a great raconteur. “You’ve got quite a voice,” he said. “Sing something for us.”  I got up and sang the prologue to I Pagliacci and the whole place went nuts. Adolfo and I became friends and The Asti became almost a home away from home.

I sang at the Asti so many times and finally got on A&E while singing there. One evening I sang an aria that really brought the house down and a couple of well dressed gentlemen called me over to their table  They said they were “investment bankers” from Denver and liked my singing so much they wanted to talk to me about my career.  They proposed that they would become “limited partners” in my career in exchange for an equity interest in it. In my beginning lean years they would advance me a guaranteed salary of $50,000 a year and make certain contacts that would enable my career to grow. For a young singer just starting his career this sounded like a heavenly gift. They suggested that I contact them through a lawyer and draw up the deal. I utilized one of my contacts in the opera world who was a stock broker on Wall Street and asked if he would make the deal. Soon drafts were flying back and forth. But one day I caught the whiff of something Faustian in the air. They wanted the contract to be “for life.”  We got them to change the wording to “for the life of my voice.” That seemed better but by this time I was getting a very uneasy feeling.  I wanted to know who they really represented. I had a friend in New Jersey who had mob contacts so I asked her to check them out. Sure enough, they worked for the mob in Denver. No sooner did she check them out than they found out she checked them out! As soon as they discovered that I knew who they were they backed out of the deal!!  All during this process when drafts were flying and it looked like the deal was a done job, I had feelings of titillation and power. I was going on up to the East Side…finally got a piece of the pie! The lure of darkness is to believe in it. Wise Guys are the high priests of a dualistic world that believes it is separate from God. They share that role with priests, ministers, rabbis and gurus. You say. “Teach something abstract man. I know there is evil. Just read the newspaper.” How much we have invested in the belief in evil! If evil is real, God is not. You can’t have it both ways.  If you can justify hating your brother, God will remain unknown to you.  Dualistic systems complain that Monism does not do “justice” to the problem of evil and suffering in the world.  But no justice is done in affirming the reality of something that must be illusory. The lure of darkness is to believe in it. The belief that darkness is real and that it can fight the light is as illusory as a nightmare.  To believe in darkness is to give it power it can never have in truth. In Verdi’s Otello Iago said:

“I believe in a cruel god who has created me in his image, and whom in hate, I call upon. From some vile germ or base atom was I born. I am evil because I am a man; and I feel the primordial slime in me. Yes! This is my creed. I believe with a firm heart, just as does the young widow in church, that the evil I think and which from me proceeds was decreed for me by fate. I believe that the honest man is a mocking buffoon and both in face and heart, everything in him is a lie; tears, kisses, glances, sacrifices and honor. And I believe man to be the plaything of a wicked fate, from the germ of the cradle to the worm of the grave. And after this derision comes death. And then. And then. Death is nothingness. Heaven is an old wives’ tale.”From this thought system came all the illusions which followed in the play with its tragic end.

A Course in Miracles gives us a non-dualistic system. It says, “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all encompassing can have no opposite. 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.”

The world we see of opposites, of good and bad, inhabited by separated creatures, is not real. It has no more reality than a child’s nightmare. It is a mistake in thought. It stems from a tiny mad idea that we could be different from God, even hurt him, offend him, or receive punishment from him. It is the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It is an illusion. The world of duality which we see was not made by God. We made it, and we continue to make it every day by projecting the opposite. There is in truth nothing opposite to God’s Love. It is all encompassing. But by a mistake in thought we have created fear and projected it. This nightmare world is no more real than Iago’s creed, but we believe in it. We give in to the lure of darkness in our tiny made idea that we could be different from God, offend him, hurt him, be punished by him.  And then, like the Phantom, we strive to convince others that this darkness is not only real but better than the light.

Night-time sharpens,

heightens each sensation

Darkness stirs and wakes imagination

Silently the senses abandon their defences …

Slowly, gently night unfurls its splendour

Grasp it, sense it – tremulous and tender

Turn your face away

from the garish light of day,

turn your thoughts away

from cold, unfeeling light –

and listen to the music of the night …

Close your eyes and surrender to your

darkest dreams!

Purge your thoughts of the life

you knew before!

Close your eyes,

let your spirit start to soar!

And you’ll live

as you’ve never lived before …

Softly, deftly,

music shall surround you …

Feel it, hear it,

closing in around you …

Open up your mind,

let your fantasies unwind,

in this darkness which

you know you cannot fight –

the darkness of the music of the night …

Let your mind start a journey

through a strange new world!

Leave all thoughts

of the world you knew before!

Let your soul take you where you

long to be !

Only then can you belong to me …

Floating, falling, sweet intoxication!

Touch me, trust me savour each sensation!

Let the dream begin,

let your darker side give in

to the power of the music that I write –

the power of the music of the night …

You alone can make my song take flight –

help me make the music of the night . . .

As odd as it may sound, all dualistic systems sing this song. They need to make the darkness real. They need to have a vengeful god who punishes the wicked. They need to have a Satan and a hell where he can be tortured forever along with the wicked.

The truth is: Only God and His extensions of Love are real. Whatever is not of love is not real. God is spirit. Whatever is not of spirit is not real.  Nothing real can be threatened. It is not at risk. It cannot be harmed. It cannot be offended. Nothing unreal exists. The world of form we see is made up from a tiny error in thought.  And from this error comes the nightmarish belief that we have offended God and have fallen from his favor.

In the famous words of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God:”

“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some detestable insect, over the fire, detests you, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be thrown into the fire; He eyes are too pure than to bear to have you in His sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes, than the most hateful venomous snake is in ours. You have offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince: and yet, it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell last night; that you were allowed to awake up again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose this morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in this church, provoking His pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending His solemn worship. Yes, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.”

This is the insane thought that comes from our tiny mad idea just as the whole drama of Othello proceeded from Iago’s insane creed.  We are given in every moment the light of the Holy Spirit to keep us from the lure of darkness. We are given God’s love in place of our fear. We are given his whole so that we will not have to project the opposite. We must forget the world that we have made and remember Heaven which is our home, and where we remain still. The first step is to forgive our brother for what he has never in truth done to us. As we forgive we remember more of our true identity as God’s Son. We travel but in dreams while safely at Home.  The lure of darkness is not real.

There is Nothing Outside of You

There is nothing outside of you. You hold the memory of the world in your mind and project it outward every day. The world you see is but a reflection of your mind. This would present you with hopelessness were it not for the power of forgiveness in which you replace your sorry memory of the world with the Vision Christ brings. Seen through the eyes of forgiveness, the world you remembered and projected becomes filled with light. The only condition for Vision is complete forgiveness of everyone and everything. No hidden blot of special darkness is allowed. No special hatreds can be left in secret. Is this such a price to pay for Vision? As forgiveness happens, you begin to see a little light around the edges of your dreary world. When forgiveness is complete, the shining real world presents itself to you as a reflection of Heaven, so near that the distance to God is but a tiny step. Gone is your memory of the world you projected. Miss it not, for its memory is a happy loss. Now are you free to remember Heaven, your ancient Home, and surprised you will be to see yourself greet you at Heaven’s gate, for you have never left in truth. All of your journeys through time have been but dreams. In gratefulness do you surrender your little rebellious dream of individuality and enter into the Oneness that you have always been. Every loving thought you have had is perfectly remembered. Is this not enough? Now does Christ look on His Father afresh and sing the ancient hymn in praise of Heaven. Now do the lights of Heaven burn with their ancient brightness and within it you are a part.
My brothers, do not fail to hear me in this hour. For now is the time to forget the world and remember Heaven. Remember and awaken!

*

“The night air cools and your voice becomes still

“The night air cools and your voice becomes still. In these moments you can hear my voice. I am always with you but you cannot always attend to me. Blessings abound but your mind is a junkyard. In perfect heaven you do sit while dreaming of earth and exile. My voice has but one purpose; to awaken you. Forget the nightmares you project and remember heaven. You have not in truth left it, nor are you in any danger. Safe within creation’s Love do you sit. Nothing serious has been done to you. Awakening is not possible as long as you believe in sin, guilt and fear.  But see past them you can and the world you created from them will drop before your eyes as the shining presence of God replaces it.

Be still and know that I am God. The night shimmers with my love for you. In the dark, night clouds fly over you, unnoticed, just as my love covers you always but goes often unnoticed. Be still and know that I am God. The song you sing comes from my heart which is yours also. Do not let the body quiet your song. Let the song remake the body.”

Getting Lost In Dreams

“It is easy to get lost in dreams. They furnish the evidence that you seek in proclaiming your separateness. You live but in dreams while the love that you are goes unnoticed or only vaguely remembered. Do not wonder how easily you forget heaven. Wonder instead why you choose dreams in place of reality. Is it not because you fear reality? If Love is all-encompassing, have you not projected the opposite? Fear must be illusion, and you become lost in it. This is the answer to your question why do you so easily forget me.  Be still and know that I am God. You wish to remember me and yet there are blockages to your recollection. Know them well you should, for you have made them and given them a place in your heart where I wish to dwell. If I take my place in your heart there is nothing but the song you cannot forget. The Song that seems to be forgotten is not. Its melody stays there, firm, beautiful, structured as it was. What could you do to change it? And so it haunts you, coming back in little wisps of memory, phrase by phrase, asking for its whole. And you would remember. Remember, and let a little of the Song come back to you and through you.”

Two Singers In A Yellow Wood

Two singers walked through a yellow wood,

Singing as they went.

Blessed by the songs were the creatures of nature.

The singers were bound together by a love which encompassed both themselves and their song.

The woods made a beautiful path for the singers

And the love in their song went ahead of them.

Being both expressions of the same Love the singers knew one another as the lips know a smile.

As the sun went down, a full moon lit the way, and the singers were bathed in moon light.

They sang into the night, joined by a symphony of nature.

Soon Coyotes and owls, wolves and crickets joined in the song.

The singers knew not that they loved each other.

They knew only the love of the song which they shared.

It happened the next morning: a fork in the path offered two directions through the forest.

The singers knew not what to do.

They had no destination.

They had only their song and a little whim to walk in the woods.

They thought about this until finally one said.

“I’ll take this path and you take the other one.

“We will meet when the paths come together.”

Somehow it did not feel right to split up the song but they did.

One went one direction and the other went the other.

At first they tried to call out to one another but soon the Forest heard only one voice.

The paths which at first looked smooth and easy soon grew very hard.

The forest which first looked so beautiful soon became gnarled with thickets and thorns.

The song which had been so strong seemed almost lost.

Both singers found encampments of people who had settled down in the Forest.

“Come stay with us,” they urged.

The Forest is all we need.”

But each singer remembered the other, and the Love they shared.

Little wisps of melody of the Song came back to them and they remembered.

Deep in the Forest they began to sing, much to the protests of the Forest dwellers.

“Why are you making that noise? Stop it or you will have to leave.”

And they left.

Both singers, miles apart, left their encampments and took up the journey again.

They began to sing parts of the song they remembered.

Soon the animals of the woods took up the song and it echoed throughout the Forest.

As the song echoed the singers began to recognize each other’s voices.

They followed them and there in a clearing they met face to face.

They were so happy they embraced one another for the first time.

They had never been separated before and thought of themselves as One.

In the clearing, the full moon shone brightly, bathing the two in moon light.

They sang their song together in that moonlit clearing.

They sang like they had never sung before.

As they sang moon beams illumined a trail that seemed familiar.

They followed the trail, half knowing where it went, to a beautiful lake.

On the shore of the lake they saw a beautiful cabin.

Suddenly they remembered that this was their old home they had left long ago.

They opened the door and went inside where they saw their home, perfectly preserved.

The table was beautifully set.

The napkins were laid out.

The stove was warm and fresh baked bread lay on it.

They remembered this beautiful home by the lake.

How could they ever have forgotten about it?

They remembered the Love they shared and the song that sprang from it.

They remembered themselves as One, sharing the same Love that filled them.

There they rested in an ancient peace and Love that satisfied and the two were One Love.

No more desire to leave entered their hearts.

They had found rest in the Love that they were.

And the Song rested in their bones.

Of didactic ways I would repent.

Of didactic ways I would repent.

My school years have passed.

The time for learning is over.

In this space I would put away all time and learning.

I would come afresh to stillness.

In that stillness there sparkles all the truth my learning could not attain.

In that stillness I find you,

perfect with the innocence of creation.

You have not changed.

As wisdom-bearer in Brahman’s House, who could change you?

As natural as the flow of the Tao, who could change you?

As the silence on the Buddha’s lips, who could change you?

In this space I have come to stillness

And in this stillness I have found you as perfect.

In perfection does my mind hold the moment and share it with you.

In this space where stillness shines there is relief from time

and freedom to remember the vast ages of our knowing.

Lifetimes upon lifetimes present themselves in parade of gallant splendor

for at last we remember.

Millions of years come to us in memory of who we are and the Love that grew within us.

We have not changed.

My alchemy shows its art.

In this space I have summoned stillness and I remember.

All despots are my brothers

All despots are my brothers.
Terrible things have they done in the world
And terrible eyes have looked upon them.
Must I see them as masters of sin made real?
Must I condemn?

For what they have done in the world my eye must see.
But the eye with which I see the other
is the eye with which God sees me.
Lost in his illusions first the son of God I see,
Then brother is he to me.
For whatever my brother does,
there is no home in me to hate.

The Truth that is Peace

The truth that is Peace fills my bones. Too long has it hidden there entrancing me to search for it. Now it wishes to speak and to be known as it is known. A welcomed guest it is, Prodigal to me. A happy home I will make for it and I will listen. For this one is bone of my bone and Self of myself

What is the consciousness of the Tao? What is the consciousness of the One? The water flows. The pebbles whisper to it.

The tiny drop that is “me” flows into the Pleroma. Fullness, fullness, fullness, joy and peace. I am still.

Peace reigns as a slight mist comes off the water to meet the clouds. All is quiet except for the flow of the river over the rocks. My awareness sinks into my soul and I become at One with all things.

Making a Holy Space

Making A Holy Space

 

Into a place come the people. The place is made of the peace of God. It has been created by the holy intention of two or more to experience the peace of God. This peace first comes from adoration of the Christ, overwhelming thanks, tears of love, and tongues of gratefulness for the gift of Christ throughout all existence. Moving closer, the Christ and we become One and there is only the peace of God. The chairs, the carpet, the doors, all remember and hold this Peace. This place is used for nothing but this. The purpose of this outward place now enters each person who enters it. In this holy meeting place the many will become One in the Christ Mind. No little thought of darkness will be able to penetrate this holy place. No shadow can come into the Son of God’s holy Mind. Here all questions are answered, all fears abandoned, all prayers answered, for the son of God has heard the melos of the ages and responds in simplicity to the call of salvation. Here the son rests in holiness. This Peace is the answer to all the little questions the separated son could imagine in his little dreamy life. And today and for eternity we will extend it, beyond the planet, beyond the universe, into and through the universe of Spirit the Father has made. Now does the Son know His Father. Now are the two One. No space is left to separate the Father from the Son, nor is there any place where the Father ends and the Son begins. In perfect wholeness do they continue eternity’s ancient work of extension. Love has conquered shadows.  Nothing real has been threatened. Nothing unreal has ever existed. Now the Peace of God covers everything as Light without beginning or end, nor is it possible to imagine any place where this light is not. It extends from a center which has no boundaries towards an end that has no end.

We will continue to share this peace as long as the illusion of time and separation appears to be so. This will be our work. Let the little separated minds be healed for the Christ has come and asks entrance into each mind to free them from the illusions of fear that bind them still. Lightworkers and angels unite in this the work of ages. Today we will know the Peace of God. Tears will adorn the little bodies we have made to hide from God. Like Jewels on royal brows the Son comes to Himself and to His Father.

Father, take these my brothers who Love so, and envelop them in the same Love you have for me. Today the Sonship returns to your Peace. Holiness is all we will know and your Home is ours.

The world began as a fearful illusion

The world began as a fearful illusion but I have seen it now as the Love of God, so perfect a reflection of heaven that the distance between the two is so tiny, a toddler could make the step. Father? I am putting one of my little toddler feet on your step. I have remembered your Love. I will never forget it again or go off into little dreams. I have remembered your love in the garden and the river, in the fish that swim, the flowers that grow, the birds that sing. I have remembered your Love in the eyes of my brother, and Father I want to come Home now, away from silly dreams and into your arms.

The Love of God Has Come

The Love of God is so much greater than we imagine. We have to make space to receive so much more than what we thought was true. The Love of God came into my heart today with so much more than  I allowed in yesterday. Today there is no one to forgive. Today there are no debts or debtors, no trespasses. There is just the love of God and the music that comes through me. Today I forgive the world for the Love of God has come. If tomorrow if I find temptation I will say,” I have forgiven the world for the Love of God has come.”  To my hurt brother I will say, “Be at peace. The Love of God has come.” To my angry brother I will say, “Let us start again for the Love of God has come.”  To those who hate me I will say, “I am sorry. Cannot we put it away? The Love of God has come.” For the Love of God has come.

It is a good day!

It is a good day!
I have pierced the veil of Brahma.
It is a good day.
I have touched the All and felt silence caress my lips.
It is a good day.
I have looked into chaos and pain,
Confusion and discord,
And I have seen you there,
Fresh as the dew on creation,
Innocent and whole.
It is a good day.
Peace has come to greet Love.
Who could deny them their union
Or freeze the genial currents of the soul so aroused?

 

A Few Days In May, Lines penned in Love

A Few Days In May,

Joseph Shore

 

There was a time when I was filled with wonderment and peace; a time in which all things were possible, all hopes held, all miracles accepted, and Love knew its name in every word we spoke. We glided together through a wonderland of nature filled with peace and majesty and saw our souls reflected in beauty. Each Wood Duck showed your glory; each Mallard but spoke of your grace. Arm in arm we shared the beauty and wonderment of Love’s Presence in a May garden, in a time that so kindly stopped for us.  Have we ever left?  We are still there in that quiet moment. I know we will never leave it, for those moments were real and eternal. They are ours to revisit anytime we need to know Truth and Love. A field of daffodils, on quiet waters, a still vastness, and so much more that words cannot speak, we shared in a few days in May at Burnaby Lake. And now I am still filled with wonderment and peace. It is still a time when all things are possible, all hopes held, all miracles accepted, and Love knows its name. The changes of the seasons will not affect the Lake or foul the peace that lives there. Changes come, but Peace and Love stay. The ducks and geese will still be waiting for us to feed them. The sky will still welcome the marsh wrens and swallows in their swirling flight. The beavers will still be in their dens and vastness will still caress its feathered creatures and flowers, its leaves and bees, its creatures of the lake who come forth from such immensity. We will always be there and Love will always be Present.  I am haunted by such grandeur, and I speak gratefulness for a few days in May.

Our Life at Burnaby Lake–Lines penned in Love

One of the great things about a marsh is that you get to see the changes it goes through in the seasons. Summer has come to Vancouver and my life at Burnaby Lake has gone through many changes.

I was at Peace today when I went to the waterfowl sanctuary at Burnaby Lake, so I was not surprised to find peace there.  I always find peace there. Peace, honeysuckle, and summer ducklings showed themselves today. The garden that was just beginning to grow in May when we were here together is now full in bloom and full of life. The most amazing flowers now bloom. Bees are busy everywhere and the slugs are trundling about. I was very concerned about one slug who was sitting in the garden path. I didn’t want him to get hurt. They are all my slugs and my bees. The most amazing full arbor of honeysuckle filled the garden and beyond with the best smells of summer and childhood.  There was such peace and beauty there today. It only needed you there to see it with me. The blackberry vines are in full bloom now and little berries are forming. We are all waiting for the berries; birds, humans, and chipmunks together. Further into the lake, Lilly pads have replaced the fields of daffodils we were so awed by, and the ducks have created highways through them. Scores of Mallards were swimming single file through the narrow highways they had made, ducks as far as the eye could see, in a pilgrimage from one pond to another within the marsh.  One mommy Mallard proudly displayed her late summer hatchlings, a brood of five sweet ducklings no more than four inches long. Did I mention there was peace there today? No thought of good or evil crossed the minds of the ducks and geese who nibbled seeds from the hands of children feeding them. The Redwing Blackbirds carried no worries on their wings. The Marsh Wrens knew no cares. The marsh does not know hatred.  Sweet peace and gentle waterways flow.

I wondered how I would experience the marsh since my brush with Nirvana. I had not been there during the beatific vision I experienced for weeks. There was no need then. But now that I am somewhat more back to the earth, there is no place I would rather be than Burnaby Lake.  Some things have been changed in me though.  A fishing rod sits In my car’s trunk, now unused, because I do not wish to frighten the fish. They are my fish. I want them to swim freely.  All creatures and things of the garden and lake are God and we along with them.  To believe that would make me naive or muddle headed, but to know it is truth.  I feel things in a gentler way now and I know what I know. It is much sweeter. Yet it is all bitter sweet for lack of your presence to share this with me.

The sky was blue and speckled with clouds as the swallows and marsh wrens dived through the air. Big fat geese stood in water two inches deep and puffed out their big bellies. On a bench, three old Russian ladies, oblivious to the paradise they were in, muttered in Russian about mundane things. In the marsh, only the humans ignore peace.  

I want so much to share my marsh with others, but only some can see. My childhood world of the garden was like that to me as well. Both the marsh and the garden exist in eternity waiting for visitors with new eyes and hearts. I want so to take you by the hand and say, “Come over here. Let me show you the carrots and the peas, the beans and potatoes, the watermelons and corn, the strawberries and gooseberries, the peaches and the apples, the grapes and the walnuts. Look over here. Let me show you the ducks and geese, the peacocks and chickens, the fish that swim freely in the stream, the beavers and the otters, the owls and the eagles. They are just right over here. They are made of god stuff just like you and me. Look at the flowers too beautiful to pick, the honeysuckle bushes and mimosa trees that so delight the little humming birds, and over here, the tiny baby chickens that peep and sit in the middle of your hand. Let me show you. Do you know how strong walnut trees grow? Come, let me show you. Do you know they can withstand a tornado? Feel their trunks.  And over here, between two big walnut trees grandpa made a swing just big enough for two people. Sit with me and we will watch for the red birds to come and listen for the whippoorwills. It is all here. Everything anyone ever wanted and so much more is just waiting for us to grow new eyes and hearts. And there in the marsh, something new comes today from peace and assurance that nothing can go wrong. Nothing can go wrong.”

I want so much to show you these things for they are a part of us and we of them. My eyes see better because the birds are so beautiful. My nose works better because the flowers are so fragrant. The fish swim more freely because I love them so. The bees, the worms, the slugs all work the garden better for love. Can you not see?  Can you not see?  The world is our body and God is our soul. What could be wrong?  In this eternity what could be wrong? It is all part of the same beauty. In the time it has taken me to pen these lines twilight has come. The beavers are just coming out of their dens for moonlit strolls. The ducks and geese now perch themselves on logs and wait for dreams of tomorrow. The wrens are in their boxes. The crows have left the marsh to sleep in their trees and a mother eagle sits in her nest just across the lake. And now I have seen them and in these lines my heart has shown them to you. Have you seen them? Have you seen them? I reach out to touch your heart with the love that I know from nature, from God, and from you. I don’t know if you have seen them, but I am happier that my heart has shown them to you. And the parting line will always be, Love is Present.

Love has found one home in two hearts

A cabin sits on the shores of a small lake, surrounded by evergreen tress. There is a fire in the fireplace. A thunderstorm is brewing. Rain comes through the trees refreshing the forest, pelting the lake with its drops. Yet stillness reigns in me as I share such a heaven with a friend I love. This friend is a girl I once knew who dripped of moonlight. Her smile entranced the sun, and the rain ran through her hair to the world’s deepest valleys. She stood above the earth as a luminous presence and blessed it with a Song. In her presence I believed nothing, but knew all things, touched all things afresh, as fresh as a dew drop that poised itself in eternity just so that we might join in its experience together. Of Newness her brow was formed; of peace, her face, of sensuousness her long legs; and wisdom followed her footsteps as she sang her Song. I know her. I will not tell you her name. She has never left my mind for we are One. We watch the rain together as it showers the pond. In the distance, Coyotes sing their songs and Owls make comment. In this flow are all things perfect and meaning is unfettered by form. Love has remembered itself and taken up residence in our midst. The rain dies down. The pond becomes peaceful again. Not a ripple is left. We watch the glowing embers die in the fireplace. Peace, Peace, Peace and Love is Present. Love has found one home in two hearts and the two hearts have become one.
The Cabin still sits there on the shores of that small lake waiting for our return and Love is still Present.

The True Story of the Ego

The True Story of the Ego
by Joseph Shore

Let me tell you about being an EGO. Everybody in the spiritual community talks like it is such an easy choice to give up the ego and go for oneness. Well, you know what? All those people who talk that way are egos! They believe they are bodies or they wouldn’t be here, and many of them play little spiritual ego games, like “I can be more spiritual than you can.” Spiritual egos stink like dead fish! I have been immersed in egoness. Let me tell you, it feels GREAT…for a while. When you are king of the hill, top of the heap…when you can command, when you can do something better than anyone else in the world, you feel GREAT. “I Am that I Am.” I am ME, distinct, better at something than anybody else in the world and when I walk down Broadway I walk with a swagger and my pockets stuffed full of hundred dollar bills! I drink vodka martinis all night, eat Iranian caviar by the bucket, have any woman that I want…IT FEELS GREAT…like a climax that won’t quit coming. You go on stage and sing and act better than anyone else can and you get standing ovations and groupies line up to be taken back to the hotel with you! What do you think? Would you turn that down, oh so easy? Ha! I don’t believe it!

Been there, done that, bought the T shirt….But what happens to you after a while is the real bad thing of dualism. What goes up must come down, and so after a while–it might be 40 years–you crash! You can’t do it anymore. Some other punk kid is better than you. The audiences don’t want you anymore. The chicks don’t want you, and that climax that wouldn’t quit won’t come anymore. All of a sudden you are old and you say, “FUCK! What happened?” The money is gone. The fame is gone. The highs are gone. The swagger turns into a droop and you wonder, where did “I” go? “What the hell happened to me?” “I am supposed to be a GREAT FUCKING ARTIST! What happened?” Dualism happened! You have been living in a world of opposites. You were great. Now you’re not. You were hot. Now you’re not. You were young. Now you’re old. You were rich. Now you’re broke. And you think, “FUCK, there must be something better than this!” Then some spiritual dude lays on you this rap about “love” being all there is, and you want to smack him because you just know he’s full of shit and has never done anything or he wouldn’t say shit like that! But sooner or later, given enough grief, you begin to wonder what he is talking about. You ask yourself, “Have I EVER really loved anybody? I mean all those chicks…but love?” You ask yourself, “Has anyone ever really loved ME?” And you ask that sort of self-serving shit thinking you’ll hear a big “No” coming from the universe. But instead a memory pops up that you have long forgotten, and it makes you well up. You see yourself as a kid coming home from summer camp, and you have really been missing your mom and dad a lot. You meet them at the bus station and you run to them and you mom hugs you. That really felt great and so full. All of these memories start coming back to you and you think, “Fuck! Where did I miss it?” I mean all the fame and riches shit just fell apart and there was nothing left. “Where did I miss it.” Maybe like Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, I’ll have to say, “When they ask me about my life I guess I will just have to say, ‘I got stoned and I missed it.'” But you can’t stay there. You gotta find it…and so you start looking. Soon you are with a whole bunch of other people who are looking too! You’re all just trying to find IT, whatever it was that you missed. Finally somebody starts to say, “It’s OK. I mean really OK. We didn’t really miss anything because all this heavy stuff of up and down, in and out, is just our drama. It’s just what we do. It’s OK.” Some chick starts to cry and you think, ‘Christ, what have I gotten myself into this time?’ But sooner or later someone in this new group of yours makes you feel just like you felt when your mom hugged you, and you think, “Fuck! There’s more of this stuff around?” All of a sudden you just want love. You’ve had all the shit. You just want love. You’ll go to any guru, read any damn book, go to any workshop, do EST, do yoga, become a vegan, anything to get this Love stuff! If you really do show a little willingness, a little desire to know,one day you look at the person next to you and think, “Fuck! We are the same being. There is just One of us here!” And it blows your fucking mind! Now you don’t want anything except this Love stuff in your life. You’ll blow off the old chicks because you don’t want that stuff anymore, and besides, they are just another part of this big picture you’ve seen. After a while, your mind slows down. Your brain chatter slows down. You find yourself thinking and talking differently. Those books you have been reading have had an effect on you. You don’t look at things the way you did, and you begin to see that maybe there is something besides an ego to be. Maybe I don’t have to bounce up and down. And the mind quiets further. It happens quickly one day as you are looking at a flower, a dog, a girl, an old woman. The mind stills. There is newness in this stillness. There is peace in this stillness. There is no observer in this stillness. There is no “I.” And you know that this is all you have ever been looking for. This is what you missed. This is the Love you felt, and it is all there in this stillness. Your eyes well up. You cry like a baby. Your roommate comes in and asks you what’s wrong and you look up at him and just say, “I found it. I didn’t miss it.” And he looks down on you and says, “Fuck! What weed you been smokin’ man? Give me some of dat ganja.”

But the stillness is still there. This peace hangs around you now. You don’t want to let go of it. You don’t want to go back to the old up and down, in and out thing! There is just this peace that is Love and you know it has been there your whole life. You were just too busy being the big “I Am” to feel it! Now it sings to you, man. This peace sings to you, and everywhere you go you hear this same song. You don’t yell at people anymore. You don’t react because you don’t want to forget this song again. This song is in your bones now. It is eating you up from the in sides and what it is eating is EGO pie! It’s eating you up man, and you don’t care. You just say, “Eat away baby. I’m just groovin’ on this Song. And so it eats until there is no more Ego pie. There is just this Song. There is no more in and out, up and down, rich and poor. You are the Song. It has replaced you!!! And there is nobody left to cry about it, or get angry about it, or be afraid of it. You are just the Song, baby.

That’s the true story of the Ego!

A stilled mind has no beliefs

To say beliefs are powerful is to say illusions are powerful and that they are. They can convince the holy Son of God that he is a body and subject to change, decay and death. Beliefs are madness. They seem sane only to the insane. Beliefs are always in another. They have no personal validity. They always involve a lot of words. When you know something there is an immediate validity and there are no words. Let us be innocent of belief. Beliefs come from a mind hectic with chatter. A stilled mind has no beliefs.

Stealing my Peace

I’ll tell you a little story about losing one’s Peace. I had had a good day, teaching students and writing spiritual essays. I went out to eat at a restaurant which I expected to be fine dining. I went to the bar first and ordered a vodka martini straight up, dry, stirred, not shaken, with a lemon twist. The bartender said she didn’t know how to make it. She had never been to bartending school. I had to explain to her how to make it. She made it and sat the martini on the bar and left to go find a lemon twist…a bar with no lemon twists. By that time my table was ready but the martini was not. It was several more minute before the martini arrived at my table and by this time it was warm! No apologies were given and no offers to make me a new drink. Next I ordered an entree and explained exactly how I wanted it done. It came to me totally wrong. The waitress just said, “That’s the way we do things here.” Do you think I kept my peace? I should have. I knew better. But I let it get to me. I left and fired off the biggest letter of complaint to the home office you ever saw. Then I saw what I had done! OMG! It took me a few minutes to convince myself to tear up that letter and let it go! Me, Mr. Spiritual guy, had let a silly thing steal my peace!!!! We need so much practice at this!!!

Last Summer at Burnaby Lake

I returned to Burnaby Lake today, my Wholly place, at the waterfowl sanctuary. A little taste of summer remains yet. There are yet a few blackberries left in the thickets surrounding the marsh. The gardens too still have a hint of summer. We had a rain shower early and then a beautiful mixed sky of cloud and light filled the marsh. It was not hard to come to stillness. There was just WOW everyplace and everyplace filled with stillness. The ten thousand things of the Tao flowed easily with simplicity, grace and peace. I awaken each time I come to these wholly haunts. I remember “Home” there in the middle of wild flowers, flowing water, birds, ducks, beavers and men. The marsh welcomed me today with mallards, wood ducks, coots, marsh wrens, geese, and peace. The ducks were grateful to be feed and in recompense they eagerly showed off their wondrous plumage. The Blue Herons are still with us, though today they were hiding in the thickets of the marsh. Gratefulness filled me as I came to peace in wonder and welcomed stillness as my old friend.
Now there is always some “spiritual” person who wants to rain on parades by asking, “Well why do you need nature to come to peace? What can’t you come to peace looking at a door stop?” They always think they have said something important when they say things like this! We can forgive them, just let it pass. The truth is, be happy if you find anyone, any place, anything, that will partner with you in finding stillness. I find my “wholly spot,” and then let the peace move out from there, baby.

Your Situation

Everyone reading this is in some “situation,” and the “situation” is keeping you from the Truth. You bring the situation with you to work. You take it home. You live with it. You don’t like it but you can’t get out of it. It enfolds you in layers. You can’t see out of it or beyond it. You almost panic and think of giving up. But if you can wait with faith in your higher Self, you will be given a solution. Someone will be brought to you who is not caught in your situation, and s/he will bring to you the path of your own heart. Maybe you are a religious person. You are caught in the situation of religiosity. It is sticky and clingy and pulls you down but you can’t see a way out of it. But you have just a little faith in something higher than your religious self. One day someone comes into your life and you can sense that your higher Self has brought him/her to you. S/he is NOT religious. That’s not his/her situation. Maybe s/he is into nature and because you know you love him/her you go with her into nature. Your higher Self knows that your heart wants to flow with the Tao so it brings this beautiful person into your life. Now your situation pulls at you and says, “don’t let me go.” But you really want to be with this wonderful person. Your heart has been buried in this situation. Can you hear it enough to follow it with her? Your heart has never really been into religiosity. That was just your situation. Now you have a chance to make a leap with your heart and look above, see beyond. Will you do it? Or will you cling to the situation? Krishnamurti said, “There are no problems in life.” Can you dig that? Where would you have to be to see that? You’d have to be clear of your situation, wouldn’t you?

I find that I need do nothing within stillness

I find that I need do nothing within stillness. It requires nothing more. There is no need for TV or any “learning” for that matter. When I reach stillness, I watch the clouds, look at light, pet the cat. I hear my own ears, see my own eyes, and bite my own teeth. What would you have that stillness of mind cannot bring? In this stillness, there is a new-ness. There is space and sparkling potential which I have not actualized. In one moment of the eternal Now, the wave function within stillness presents itself to me, offering me the awareness of all that is or ever will be. It offers me the awareness of who I am. There is nothing to “learn.” All is offered to me. And every 22 trillionths of a nano-second it is offered again! How patient and generous it is. If it is this patient with me, I must forgive myself for being so slow.

Projection makes perception

What I think about someone is always a reflection of how much I know about myself. Projection creates perception. What would it be like if we did not resist evil, as if we turned the other cheek? It would mean that we stopped projecting fear. Nothing real can be threatened. It would mean that we have vision and know that regardless of what my brother does to me, I will not hate him for it!!!!! And… just as surely most of us are not there! If someone does just a little offense to us, we are ready to nail him, make his sin real and deserving of punishment. If I truly know myself, I would experience myself as being a part of God. Regardless of what my brother did to me then, I would be incapable of judging him guilty of anything because God knows no guilt. S/he only knows love. This is the way I understand Jesus’ statement, “Resist not evil.” Be non-reactive to externals. But how many of us are there? We have a long way to go and a lot of forgiveness to learn, a lot of One-ness to experience and a lot of Christ-likeness to attain.

Gratefulness

I am grateful for the beautiful fog that covers Vancouver today. I am grateful for the quiet in which no worker’s hammer is heard. I am grateful for the quiet in me. In this quiet I share the thoughts of God, my real thoughts. I am grateful for a sleeping cat in the house. I am grateful for the tall evergreen trees that stick up through the fog. I am grateful I can stay in the apartment today and just be in quietude. In this stillness I will find my real thoughts that I share with God, and I will know that I am not a body. I am a spirit. I am free for I am just as God created me.

Remembering the operatic stage…

Remembering the operatic stage…

When one leaves the stage, it is funny what memories stay with you the most. It is not always the applause that you remember so dearly. Sometimes it is the little things of the characters you play. If one is a method actor, as I am, then the characters all live inside. It is not that you have parted company with them. It is just that you can’t be them any more. My finest characters are still here inside my mind. I could become them in an instant, but without the stage it is difficult to become them again. Rigoletto, Macbeth, Falstaff, Germont and Boris are among my finest characters. Of dear Rigoletto I remember so well the different humps I tried on, the different make-up techniques, the different costumes, the way they made me feel. I remember my dressers and chorus girls I more than flirted with. I remember the pace my body needed moving through the opera. I remember feeling the character come alive in me as I made my entrance. I remember how totally I was immersed in the character by the grand last act. I remember what it felt like to sing the ending triple forte over that huge orchestra. I remember the grand opening night parties and the butts that I pinched. I remember all my jester’s sticks and the shoes with little bells on them. I remember the smell of each act. I remember eating candy bars between acts to keep my blood sugar high.

Of Macbeth I remember the heavy cloak, and broad sword. I remember that the role was a perfect fit for me. I was Macbeth. I remember long hot rehearsals and chorus girls with beautiful figures. I remember the crown I wore and didn’t like it! I remember the friendliness of the theatre in Tucson and how its walls liked my voice. And in this role, I also remember the tumultuous applause and the rave reviews like none I had ever seen given to any opera singer.

Of Falstaff I remember how fat I felt all during the rehearsals and show. I felt so old and fat. This character was difficult for me to play, unlike the others. I remember that. Since I performed it in Aspen, I remember how hard it was to do at 8,000 feet altitude.

Of Germont I remember so much; the many different canes I used. I would shop for canes; the right balance of age so that Germont was no more than 45; I remember how much affection I had for this character. I remember growing my own beard for the part. I remember thinking that the part was almost embarrassingly easy for me to sing! In this role I also remember the applause, bringing down the house at my Act 2 exit in San Francisco. I remember the New York Grand Stand stage in Central Park as I sang the part there with the New York Grand Opera.

Of Boris, I remember mostly the method work I did with the character and my love for the role. I worked so hard on the Russian. I remember the madness almost overcoming me in parts, I was so deeply in the role. I remember how hard I worked on the final death scene and the last lines. I was so into this part I do not remember the applause, but the reviews were good.

These memories and many more stay with me and I am grateful for them. But mostly I am grateful for the gift to sing and act and the opportunity to do my work all over America for many years. Just sharing…………..

What catastrophe destroys your faith?

Just a word about living by Faith. It’s not religious. Krishnamurti said, “There are no problems in life.” Can you imagine the faith in existence to say that? As ACIM says, “A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it. It does not depend upon itself for anything except its adequacy to fulfill the plans assigned to it. It is secure in certainty that obstacles can not impede its progress to accomplishment of any goal that serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone.”

So what “catastrophe” destroys your faith so that you would be unloving to a brother? A flat tire? A fearful thought? A careless word? Some detour into fear! In that detour do you see yourself as small and vulnerable and in need of protection. You would easily betray a brother out of that fear because you have seen yourself as weak and in danger. Wake from the nightmare dreamlet. You are in no danger. If you cannot see that then the winds will beat and the floods will come in manifestation of your fearful little idea of yourself.

What Happens When We Die?

What Happens When We Die?
by Joseph Shore

Isn’t this the question we all want answered? As much as we may believe something, we want to know.

I have had three open heart surgeries and during the first one, I had an out of body experience that seemed very natural. I was later able to identify the events which took place while my body was unconscious. Some of my friends have gone all the way. My dear friend, Dr. George Rodonaia, was dead for three days in a hospital morgue and later revived during the autopsy. PMH Atwater died three times This is what she has to say about it:

“Any pain to be suffered comes first. Instinctively you fight to live. That is automatic.

It is inconceivable to the conscious mind that any other reality could

possibly exist beside the earth-world of matter bounded by time and

space. We are used to it. We have been trained since birth to live and

thrive in it. We know ourselves to be ourselves by the external stimuli

we receive. Life tells us who we are and we accept its telling. That,

too, is automatic, and to be expected.

“Your body goes limp. Your heart stops. No more air flows in or out.

You lose sight, feeling, and movement – although the ability to hear

goes last. Identity ceases. The “you” that you once were becomes only a

memory.

“There is no pain at the moment of death. Only peaceful silence. . . calm. . . quiet.

“But you still exist. “It is easy not to breathe. In fact, it is easier, more comfortable, and

infinitely more natural not to breathe than to breathe. The biggest

surprise for most people in dying is to realize that dying does not end

life. Whether darkness or light comes next, or some kind of event, be it

positive, negative, or somewhere in-between, expected or unexpected, the

biggest surprise of all is to realize you are still you. You can still

think, you can still remember, you can still see, hear, move, reason,

wonder, feel, question, and tell jokes – if you wish.

“You are still alive, very much alive. Actually, you’re more alive after

death than at any time since you were last born. Only the way of all

this is different; different because you no longer wear a dense body to

filter and amplify the various sensations you had once regarded as the

only valid indicators of what constitutes life. You had always been

taught one has to wear a body to live.

“If you expect to die when you die you will be disappointed.

The only thing dying does is help you release, slough off, and discard

the “jacket” you once wore (more commonly referred to as a body).

“When you die you lose your body.

That’s all there is to it. “Nothing else is lost.

You are not your body. It is just something you wear for a while,

because living in the earthplane is infinitely more meaningful and more

involved if you are encased in its trappings and subject to its rules.

(This material was excerpted from two of P.M.H.Atwater’s books – “Beyond the Light: The Mysteries and Revelations of Near-Death Experiences” (Avon Books, New York City, 1994), and “We Live Forever: The Real Truth about Death” (A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, 2004). It is based on first-person commentaries from over 3,000 adult experiencers of near-death states. ~PMH)

Whether you find yourself in a tunnel or simply but suddenly experience yourself out of the body and in a dimension of Light/Love, you will be greeted by those you love who have already passed over. This is a reunion you have been longing for. Next you may encounter a Being of Light, an angel, or a Being you identify as Jesus. In His/Their loving presence you will be given strength to see the details of your life. As on a movie laid out holographically, you will see the times in your life when you hurt people. But you will feel it from their perspective. It will be very painful. But then you will get to see all the loving things you have done and experience them from the perspective of the people you helped. These things herald through the universe and you will feel the happiness of the angels and other beings around you. Next you will be taken into conference by a group of beings, whether we call them angels or the Lords of Karma, you will see all of your past lives and review all of the lessons you have learned and those you failed to learn. You may get to stay in spirit with your loved ones for a “time”–as long as you need.. You may stay in spirit and learn your lessons there. You may get a fuller picture of all your lives and the eventual merging back into God. You will begin to experience yourself as a universal being who has had all these lifetimes, instead of just the person you were before you died. But at some point you will have to choose whether to stay in spirit or go back into another life that will be designed for you as a classroom for you to continue your learning. No one is forced to go into a body. All who choose to come back are viewed as heroes by their brothers in spirit.

Some people complain that the NDE is all too dualistic to be true. My first answer to that is the fact that this is the way people are experiencing the process. The second answer is that we experience the world dualistically. Your birth was experienced dualistically. There was a time when you came into the womb of your mother and felt connected to her, but unique. Then you were shot like a canon ball out of her and experienced yourself separate from her and all other things. You lived your life that way. Why should the death process be experienced any other way?

Many people who have had full NDEs find it very difficult to put the experience into words, but many of them also feel a compulsion to try to explain what has happened to them. The truth is so utterly fantastic. We are not native to this dimension of material. We are photonic Beings who come from a dimension of Light and Love and we are learning lessons here in this classroom of the world that will help us go back Home. Our Father and our elder brother, and all those we have loved are waiting for us there. Never a doubt there is but that we will get Home.

Tails of the Christ

My children were leaving. I had lost custody of them in a bloody three year court battle, and now they were going. They did not want to go. Thomas was 9 years old and Katie was 15. They were at my house one last time before their mother pulled up in her old car laden with baggage and told them they were leaving for Florida. She had tricked Thomas by telling him that I was coming too. As it became clear to him that I was not going he had to be dragged to the car as he cried, “But I don’t want to leave my daddy.” I waited until they pulled out and then I cried too. How I cried. I didn’t know how to stop. Thomas had given me a charge as he visited me that day. “Here daddy,” he said. “Here is this baby catfish I caught. Will you take care of him for me?” He had caught a little 2 inch catfish fry from a pond where he was playing. “Of course I’ll take care of him,” I answered. I took the little fry and put him in my 50 gallon aquarium tank. Since the little fish was the last thing Thomas gave to me I wanted to love that little fish as though he were my son. I knew I would seldom get to see my children again. They were going to be 2800 miles away from me and accessible only by a plane ride that I would not be able to afford unless my fortunes changed.

I took all the other fish out of the aquarium and gave the little catfish fry all the room he wanted. At first I fed him fish food, then little pellets as he grew. He got to know me and let me feed him by my hand. By the time he was 4 inches he would let me pet him as I fed him. I loved that little fish because he was my son’s last charge to me. He was happy in my tank and grew so well. Soon he was 6 inches long, then 8. I could look into his eyes and watch him look back at me. But I knew the time was coming for me to release him into some nearby lake where he could have a life of his own. I am going to say this just once: Every sentient being is Divine. There is no such thing as just an animal or just a fish!

A Course in Miracles teaches us that the Son of God is not one person. The Son of God is the Sonship and contains within it all of God’s creations, everything that has come from His extension of Love. Students of the Course understand that the Sonship contains within it all of our brothers, but do you understand that some of our brothers have fins and fur! All Sentient beings, every blade of grass and every grain of sand are a part of the Sonship.The Course teaches further that we are connected with everything. “How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son!” (T-28.IV.9:4). And again, “The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part” (T-28.IV.9:5-7). If God is in you, look at the world and you will see God. God is in everything I see because God is in me. The Christ is in everything!

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus said, “I am the light that is over all things. I am all: all came forth from me, and all attained to me. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Pick up a stone, and you will find me there.”

Should it be strange then that I could look into the eyes of a little bullhead catfish and see the Christ? How I loved that little fish! I loved him because Thomas gave him to me and asked me to care for him.

The day came for his big release. I took him from the big aquarium and put him into a small portable one and carried him to my sports car. It was just a five minute drive to the lake. I drove with one hand and steadied the portable little aquarium with the other. I drove slowly so as not to slosh the water. I told him where we were going and that he would like it when we got there. I had picked a time when the lake should be devoid of people. We arrived and I gently carried the portable aquarium to the edge of the water. I told him that this was his time for freedom. I opened the lid and gently slid him into the shallow water of the lake. He looked around and at first did not understand this big “aquarium” he had been released into. Then there came a moment and he “got it.” It dawned on him that he was free. He started to swim out into the deeper water, but then he stopped, turned around and looked at me with eyes which by now I knew, and said, “Thank you.” And then he swam out into that lake. Know God and you must love your brother. Love connects us all in the Divine Mind. And some of the tales of the Christ are tails of the Christ.

God’s cat lives with me

God’s cat lives with me. She whispers sweet nothings in my ear, things she has overheard from angels’ lips. I ask her gently, “Are you God?” and she answers with a silent meow. I tell her, “If I could know you fully I would know God,” and she lays her head on my breast and purrs. There is no separation between her and I. She and I are one mind, in two different bodies. (I prefer hers, but I am stuck with this one.) I stroke her as she lays on me, and as she purrs I tell her that she is the most beautiful cat in the world. My sister cat and I are one.

The Lies we tell ourselves hold us back.

The Lies we tell ourselves hold us back. These lies seemed like truths back in childhood, but as we grew and progressed we didn’t revise these untruths. They hold us back and keep us enslaved to the past. We keep our lies in the secret most part of our minds so that we cannot look at them. But they carry out their effects anyway, like a malicious script in our computer. As a voice teacher, I have discovered that when people come to me with some deep trouble in singing, it is because they have believed a lie, somewhere, sometime, about their voice or themselves. At the heart of all these little lies is the one huge lie that says, “God cannot use me for anything! I am just…a baker, an insurance salesman, a grade school teacher, a laborer.” We believe our social roles ARE us and we tell ourselves the big lie, “I am not capable of fulfilling God’s function for my life!” Whatever that is, and we as social egos don’t know. If you were told that God’s function for all of us is to be the Light of the world, would you believe that? That is something you would have to discover, isn’t it? You would have to look deeply into yourself to know that, and then you would have to get rid of all those lies you have kept hidden. For that is in truth the function we all share as God’s function for us. No other function can we substitute and be happy. Start a journal and write down all the lies you have told yourself or believed from others. You will find that it is a long list. And then say, “I am the Light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here.” (ACIM, WB Lesson 63)

Going Beyond “Belief”

Going Beyond “Belief”
When you “believe” something there are always a lot of words. Belief is always in another. It lacks the validity of personal experience. And when you experience something, belief is not necessary and the words disappear. “Belief” is the Booby Prize for spiritual seekers. It is our beliefs that keep the mind from stillness. Today I will attempt to go beyond belief and find the experience of Oneness with all things, even a grain of sand

I sat in a summer garden not long ago

I sat in a summer garden not long ago. A myriad of flowers filled it. Bees landed and meandered. Earthworms trundled through the soil. Light bounced off of the foliage. Not another person was there. Birds sang, and clouds floated overhead. I was brought to stillness. Thought stopped. Time stopped. In this still attention duality stopped. The garden was not opposite to me. I was not observing the garden. In this holy stillness, I was part of the garden. Each flower expressed complete Wholiness. Each Bee, each worm was divine. And I was not a body. This divine experience lasted an eternity because time had been stopped by attention. I am still part of that garden. I will never leave.

Sacred peace fills this space, and all fear is abandoned.

Sacred peace fills this space, and all fear is abandoned.

In clear Light I stand, longing only to see your face and touch the hem of your garment. In those deep eyes the love of the world I see, you who are brother to me and lover of my soul. In your Presence no-thing can intrude upon a sacred heart. Glory is as Love shines. Be blessed by our praise as we glory in your embrace. Oh blessed Jesus, lover of my soul, tears of joy line your face as your brothers come to you and my heart is filled with Love’s Presence. All blocks are removed. All hindrances put aside. All illusions healed. With clarity do we look upon you and see in you the holiness of the world. Now do we remember our ancient Home. Now have we reached the end of Jacob’s Ladder and stand with you before the gates of Heaven. Now does the Father reach down to raise His Son back to the Home he never in truth left. Now all heaven sings with gratefulness for the awakening of God’s Son. Our Song is heard in praise of the Love that we are as extensions of the Father. And now is the Father’s voice heard:

“Let this be our place. Our Light will shine in this stillness. Our Song is all that will be heard.”

Stillness is required

Stillness is required to experience the Now, and in the Now, in the presence of that Stillness, I am not a body. I am free for I am just as God created me. The situation I am in gives me most of my lessons. I have a body which believes it is deathly sick. A lot of my time is spent in finding a way to do something in spite of my body’s belief in its sickness. The other day I was fighting so hard to breathe. I could not stop coughing and yet I needed to go to the grocery store. I headed over there coughing all the way. While in the store I tried mightily to suppress the cough with limited success. There is a young lady there who wants to be an actor but she is stuck in HER situation at the IGA. I always talk to her and try to lift her spirits. She was at the checkout when I brought my small bag of groceries. I engaged her in conversation and said something that boosted her spirit. I could see and feel that happening, and in that moment of boosting her spirit I was NOT a body and there was no sickness. As I left the store I saw a young man pathetically begging. I went over to him and gave him some money and then I started to walk away. But spirit said, “Go back and talk to him.” I did that and I saw his spirit rise. In that moment I was not a body and I was not sick. Liberation comes in the holy instant when we choose to believe that someone else’s interest is our own. Then the miracle comes…and I am not a body.

What do you have to give to the world?

What do you have to give to the world? When one or two have found stillness, they discover their virtue, their goodness, their gratefulness for being. These two have found something to give to the world, their Light and the world needs Light like a dream needs awakening. One person who has seen his own Light can enlighten the world. But our sleeping brothers do not care about giving anything to the world. “Don’t you know I have my problems, man?” “It’s dog eat dog out their.” “The rent is too damn high.” “My job takes all my energy.” “I pay my taxes and that’s enough.” They have not experienced stillness and the Peace of God, nor their virtue and goodness. So they have nothing to give. Tara Singh told his students, “many of our brothers are deeply asleep. That’s OK. Let them sleep. They will all awaken.”

How would you avoid an immense confusion?

How would you avoid an immense confusion? This is part of an ancient Zen saying, a koan, “If you work on your mind with your mind how will you avoid an immense confusion?” The “mind” it is talking about is your perception here on earth, your “earthly mind.” The Course explains this koan more thoroughly. There is a lot of material in the Course that is Buddhistic so it is not a long leap to see the Course as a further explanation of this koan. The Course says that every mind and matter on the earth, in the universe, is a part of a Whole Mind which is divine, eternal. But our minds seem to have split into many and projected this world of dualism. So we believe we are separate from each other and from God, and then everyone has opinions about everything, and we call that “knowledge.” If we try to use our opinions as though they were divine truth, how indeed will we avoid an immense confusion. This confused mind is called an “insane” mind in the Course. The insane mind does not even know what eternal truths are! It does not know virtue. It does not know the Love which only knows to give. Not one of the divine facts that are in God’s universe of Spirit is known by the insane mind. Can you imagine that? It would be sort of like being born as a human but thinking with all dead seriousness that you are a chicken! We don’t know heaven’s truth of who we are, and that is all there is to know. But there is truth to be found in stillness, in the holy instant of “now.” Nature knows such peace it can give you stillness. A child has peace to give to the world. Every child brings heaven’s Light. Will we learn from the child? Will we reverence the child as a gift from God and learn his truths? You see, you thought that you needed a child for some reason of your own. Maybe it was just ego need. “This is MY child. It belongs to me.” But God has sent that child to bless you with heaven’s remembrance. S/he whom you regard as “yours” to mold in your own confusion has been sent to give you Eternal Truths that you don’t even know exist. So you can’t reverence the child. You cannot raise a child of God because you cannot learn from the child, It is an ego thing. You say to the child, “You will think what I think. You will believe what I tell you. You will go to the church where we go, and you better believe.” So you invade the child’s holiness. You assault God by refusing to reverence the child and learn from him or her. HOW CAN YOU AVOID AN IMMENSE CONFUSION?

Back to Burnaby Lake

Back to Burnaby Lake

I went to Burnaby Lake today after teaching. I wanted to check out the coming of spring to this beautiful marsh which has given me so much over the years. Nature was out. The ducks and geese have had their babies. Redwing Blackbirds gave their distinctive cry while marsh wrens, swallows, chickadees joined in. The wood ducks are some of the most beautiful of God’s creatures. I observe them closely and the chitter chatter of my mind dies down. I welcome the space and grace of nature.
Tara Singh was our beloved teacher of ACIM. In his lecture “How to raise a child of God,” He said. “Nature can come to a stillness that is so alive that it would awaken you to a reality, to potentials you never knew before. But we shy away from that stillness, that silence. Who is going to give the child the gift of silence.? Where do you think love is born? It is born in the stillness of silence.”
It doesn’t take long to observe the beauty of the ducks and geese to experience the wonder of nature and the presence of God in the stillness that nature would give to those who have the eyes to see, the heart to feel. It does not take long to come to the place where you easily see the ducks and geese and everything in nature as part of One Divine Mind along with you. You are not now the observer. You have moved beyond that. Now you have come home where you belong, home to the heart of God because you have reverenced your brother ducks and geese and seen them as part of YOU, not the little social you of course, but your True Identity in mind and spirit. And nature has given you the gift you so thought you had lost, Peace and the wisdom found in stillness. The ten thousand things of the Tao all flow in Truth. They need no purpose, no motivation. And in this flow, you find your Peace which you thought you had lost. How could you lose part of your own essence? “Nothing real can be threatened?” Have you actualized that into your life? If you have, and most of us haven’t but we are working on it, then you could never be afraid again, nor could you imagine yourself as anything but what you ARE, part of the Sonship, the spiritual creation of God. So when we find peace we keep it by sharing it with others and tonight I did this. There in this beautiful bird and water fowl sanctuary there are people who go to the far side of the dock to fish for carp. I had always judged them as invaders. What kind of person would invade a sanctuary just so he can catch a Carp that he is just going to throw away? And tonight there were two fishermen invading my space. But the Peace spoke to me and said, “Go join with them. See what peace would teach your judgment.” So I walked up to them in the spirit of peace and got to know them. Before long I had given my peace to them and had lost all judgment. “We are very careful not to hurt the ducks,” they explained. “That would be a terrible thing.” Peace makes its way to us from all the precious helpers heaven sends.
It is so hard to leave the marsh. Often I think, “Why can I not just live here, in the bushes and trees?” Why must I go back to the craziness of the city? And the answer is that there is more peace to share with my insane brothers asleep so deeply they do not know who they are. Not one of the divine facts that are in God’s universe of Spirit is known by the insane mind. Can you imagine that? It would be sort of like being born as a human but thinking with all dead seriousness that you are a chicken! We don’t know heaven’s truth of who we are, and that is all there is to know. But there is truth to be found in stillness, in the holy instant of “now.” Nature knows such peace it can give you stillness.

Real Friendship

Real Friendship

Jesus described his relationship to his students (which is what the word ‘disciples’ means) as that of being “friends.” He even told them, “Don’t call me master. Just let us be friends.” And this friendship that he spoke of was Oneness. “I pray Father that they be One even as you are I are One.” So Jesus spoke of “friendship” as Oneness, joined minds, joined purpose, joined in Eternal Truth, not man’s perception which is always based on the past and on duality. So do you have any people you could regard as “friends” in the way Jesus has explained? How is it then, that if they are your friends, you never give love to them? You just send them a Christmas card or a birthday card, but you feel totally content to live your worldly life without the urge to give love to your friends. Love knows only to give. So many of us have gotten tired of the world’s substitute for real friendship. Many of us now want to join in mind and find Oneness, which doesn’t extinguish anyone but fills all who are joined with the same Love which Jesus said he had with the Father. So it would be there for us too, wouldn’t it? It would come from your well-spring of your true being, wouldn’t it? And all you have to do to find it is to discover who you are at the most basic, Eternal level. ACIM, the Course, says, “I am as God created me.” Do you know yourself as God created you? Then you would also know that you are not a body, you are a mind and part of the One Divine mind that the Course calls the Son of God or the Sonship. “I am not a body. I am free, for I am just as God created me!” Minds can join while bodies cannot. Oh, they try, but they cannot in truth join. So to join in mind with someone and learn “friendship” you would need first to offer a little willingness, to agree that someone else’s interest is in your interest too. That would be the beginning of joining and Love’s Present in that moment of choice would do the rest! So do you have any real friends? Or do you just have the world’s substitute for “friends?” The world’s friends are possessed of an hallucination of separateness. “It’s dog eat dog out here in the real world….the rent is too damn high…gotta get a job…it’s all about jobs.” So this hallucination of separateness keeps you from having REAL friends, as Jesus taught. REAL friends would be of the Eternal unchangeable world of God, wouldn’t they? They wouldn’t be of the insane world. Mr. Krishnamurti once said, “There are very few people in the world who have an inkling of the insanity that has overtaken the world.” And he spoke True words. He thought with God’s thoughts! You see this is so basic that true Love only knows to give. It does not know to take. It is assured by universal law that those who give will also receive, but Love is not motivated by that. If you give in order to receive, you are a con man. You are manipulating people. How can you know the Oneness of “friendship” that way? You can’t! You are as curiously crazy as a child born into this world as a human being yet he seriously believes he is a chicken! What can come of such insanity? Certainly not friendship! So then many have given up and just accepted the world’s substitute for friendship, which is usury. “I agree to use you for a while and you agree to use me for a while. And then some silly opinion is strong enough for us to break our friendship! Can you see the madness of it? Aren’t you tired enough of it to investigate real friendship? What do you have to lose?

I admit that I have few REAL friends. But I have some with whom I am joined in mind. Their interests are mine and we draw from the same well-spring of the Love that we both are made of. That joining inspires me only to give to them. Love knows only to give. Today is my birthday and today I will give, inspired by my friends with whom I experience Love in their presence. Blocks and barricades are gone. “Feelings” cannot be hurt. There is just One Love, One mind, and friendship.

How to Raise a Cat of God….

How to Raise a Cat of God….
The process would really be very much alike to raising any child of God. The Cat is, after all, my brother in the Sonship too! The cat comes straight from heaven knowing only love and wanting to share it with the world. You say, “Man you have flipped your wig this time.” ACIM is very plain in telling us that our furry, finny, feathery, leathery brothers are a part of the Son of God. It is possible, even necessary, to join in mind with them as well as our two-footed neighbors. So the kitten comes straight from heaven and would offer the world love. My wonderful cat, Blanche, come to me when she was just four weeks old. She knew only love and protection from her feline parents during that time. When I brought her home with me, I reverenced her. I did not treat her “like a cat” and put limitations on her. I gave her space. I never taught her fear and she never learned it. Instead she taught herself music as she would come into my voice lessons and patiently listen to the singers. She developed discrimination, even personal taste in music. She developed a preference for early Italian song, Handel, Mozart and Verdi and could discriminate between excellent performances and poor ones. Instead of teaching her she is a cat I taught her that she is a child of God and that I treasure her as God does. I have protected her from harm and the ways of the world. The result has been that we have joined in mind and we experience Love in each others presence. If we can do that with a little feline brother, surely we can do it with human babies and raise children of God rather than of the earth.

The Terror of Love

The Terror of Love
A sharing with Joseph Shore

Let Love replace terror in our hearts. Let us return in the mind to that time we chose fear and victimization, and let us choose again for the Love that we are.

Have you ever been afraid of Love? Perhaps you have experienced Love in someone’s presence and then backed away out of fear. Perhaps someone has loved you and you backed away from the experience. Why do we do that? It is our unspoken, dirty little secret that we are terrified of Love. We search for and believe we need it but we are terrified of finding it! Buried deep within the human psyche is the belief that Love is not trustworthy, that it could turn on us at any moment and become hate and punishment. What is the origin of this insanity? Why does love hurt so much? The child asks himself that when his parents abuse him. The abused child is caught in a contradiction. He came from heaven, knowing only love and wanting to share it with his parents. But the parents were terrified of love and could not learn from the child. Instead, they acted out their own fear of love by abusing the child. Whether the abuse is formally recognized or goes on in “normal” families, it would appear to destroy the child’s trust in love. Looking at the affects of clinical abuse can enhance the picture of the world-wide terror of love.
For almost two years, 1987 through June 1988, I was a Social Worker in New York City’s Department of Child Welfare, known as Special Services for Children. For the first year I was a Protective Diagnostic Caseworker investigating cases of abuse and neglect, and training foster parents. The second year I was an “Under-Care” Social Worker with St. Vincent’s Services for Children, a part of the city system of foster care. I had around twenty children on my case load who had been remanded to the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services because of abuse and/or neglect. My duties involved counseling the abusive parents; finding treatment programs for them to enable their child to be returned to them; monitoring their progress in such therapy and monitoring monthly or weekly visits with their children; finding the appropriate psychiatrist or psychologist to treat the abused child in my custody; writing psycho-social assessments to refer the children to that psychiatrist; working together with that psychiatrist or psychologist in the treatment of the children; and general substitute parenting activities towards the child.
“There is a great need for all involved with the problem of abuse to understand and empathize with the notion that those who suffer in this way do not have the average inner life. In any relationship, the abused/abusive person tends to return to and relive the world in which he/she was raised. This world is aptly referred to by the acronym WAR, or the World of Abnormal Rearing (quoting Helfer, R.: Developmental deficits which limit interpersonal skills, in The Battered Child, Ed. 4, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1987). The abused person lives in an inner world of disordered attachments. He/She is compelled to repeat behavior over and over again unless someone not caught in the pattern intervenes with understanding and empathy to help them work through these attachments and leave them behind. Freud would have called this ‘repetition compulsion,’ repeating an inner dilemma externally rather than being able to work in through within. It is an attempt to master the inner problem through getting rid of what is felt as unbearable feelings. It has the force of an addiction, in the sense that it is an automatic return to the bad-parent-bad-child emotional interaction internalized during childhood…In the inner world of the abused/abuser at the moment of abuse, the child is only seen as a part of the parental inner world, I.e., the personification of the accusatory parent that calls for revengeful behavior, or the guilty, inadequate, enraged self that is deserving of punishment…Instead of seeing their child as a separate individual, they perceive him as part of their own inner interactive bad-parent-bad-child image. His presentation of self as needy, excited, curious, hungry, hurt, or active may be transformed in their perceptions, and the child is a pawn in the inner battle. In the child, we see there are external signs of this inner pawnship. These are behaviours developed to ensure survival in an environment perceived as an evil necessity. They are usually extreme behaviors in contrast to the more moderate responses of children in good enough surroundings. The child may appear: (1) Excessively shy, compliant, and fearful; (2) Aggressive, unpredictable, and provocative; (3) Stupid, dull and physically flaccid due to turning inward away from a nonunderstanding environment where spontaneity is dangerous and failure means punishment…However necessary these behaviors may be to ensure survival, they are antithetical to the exercise of human skills essential to optimal development…Without the chance to develop these skills, the abused child grows up externally but still functions as a survivor in a totalitarian universe. He can often get by until a mature developmental step is required, such as intimacy with another person and/or parenting a child. Then the inner world of disordered attachments rises again to the surface and the repetition compulsion begins again” (Ann Williamson Bird, MSN, RN, CS, “The Child Within: The Cycle of Abuse,” in Missing/Abused, edited by Vincent Fontana, M.D., Fall 1987, Volume 3, No.3).

Psychological Maltreatment of Children and Youth, edited by Marla Brassard, Robert Germain, and Stuart N. Hart (New York: Pergamon Books, 1987,). refers to the Minnesota Mother-Child Interaction Project (by Egeland and Erickson). Psychologist Elizabeth Navarre is quoted in this volume as saying “The Minnesota Mother-Child Interaction Project..is the only longitudinal study known to this author that carefully divides its sample on the basis of types of abuse and neglect and provides an appropriate control group”(. p. 49).

Within this study (The Minnesota Mother-Child Interaction Project) I note specifically that “children whose mothers were hostile, rejecting, and verbally abusive looked much the same as the children in the physical abuse group. In general these children were angry and non-compliant” (Ibid., p. 114). The study noted that “at 42 months in a problem-solving task alone, these children were hyperactive and distractible, presented a considerable amount of negative affect and demonstrated poor self control and low self-esteem” (Ibid. p. 114).

The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect and the American Humane Association has developed more specific definitions of psychological maltreatment for the purpose of gathering data to clarify the incidence of maltreatment nationally.” Among the categories identified are “verbal and emotional assault” (Ibid. p. 5). “It defines emotional abuse as ‘active, intentional berating, disparaging or other abusive behaviour toward the child which impacts upon the emotional well-being of the child” (Ibid. p. 5).

When we look at A Course in Miracles we see a sophisticated model system of psychology as well as a spiritual system that goes far beyond clinical psychology. From the point of view of the Course, we all carry around inside of us scars from our terror of love and our fear that love is untrustworthy. The clinical cases only show us what we all feel in a primal way.

Even if you think you had a good childhood and escaped this circle, you still have this primal terror of love. Where does it come from? We know It comes down to us through myths that are deeply a part of the social/religious structure of our society. But the Course takes us all the way back to those myths and offers us a new myth which has the power within it to lead us out of the terror of love. First let us look at the deceptive myth we have all believed. It is found in the Bible, in Genesis, as the myth of creation. We are told that an all-wise, all-loving, all-knowing god named Yahweh or Jehovah, created the world in six days, out of nothing, through the “Poof” method. “Poof” and it was there. He created man out of nothing too and created woman from a rib of the man. He put them into a garden of paradise. He walked with them in the garden. (Yahweh is apparently a man for he has feet.) He told them they could do anything they wanted except they were not to eat from the tree of knowledge in the middle of the garden. His creations from nothing are said to be innocent and naked. But Eve gets tempted by a talking snake and eats of the forbidden fruit and manipulates Adam to eat of it. Yahweh has obviously never taken a course in child rearing or he would have made a safe place for his children rather than exposing them to temptation. What foolish parent would tell his toddlers, “Now you can play with anything in this room but you must never stick your fingers in the wall electrical sockets?” He knows that what is forbidden will draw a toddler right to it, so he puts up electrical guards on the sockets and doesn’t say a word about them. It certainly seems that this Yahweh fellow is setting up his kids for a fall. After all, what is a snake doing in a nursery anyway? Yahweh needs to be reported to social services! He allows a snake in the nursery, a talking snake at that. What toddler would not be confused by a talking snake? So they eat the apple or pomegranate and everything changes. Yahweh turns into a monster. He shows his real colors. Instead of being unconditional love he does the most horrible thing that can be done to a child. He changes into a punishing monster. He kicks Adam and Eve out of paradise, seals the door so they can never get back in, sends them out into the world with all this guilt and punishes them further by taking away sufficiency, so they will always experience lack. Adam now has to find a job and work by the sweat of his brow. Eve is condemned to the pain of childbirth. They are both released into a world of pain, sorrow, limitation, sin and death, and they carry this Terror of Love with them, along with their original guilt for making daddy so mad that he abused them!!!!! This myth is the formal expression of the primal Terror of Love we all experience. The Bible, then, is the formal book designed to enhance these lies. Whether you ever went to a church or are a devout atheist you carry these lies around with you. The myth has come to you in society and child rearing.
Now the Course in Miracles comes into all this mess and offers a new myth of creation that can lead the mind away from dysfunctional old Yahweh and his lies of sin, guilt, death, and the Terror of Love. This kind of a “myth” is a mental device which is used to point the mind in a different direction. Like all spiritual myths it says that reality is “sort of like this.” The myth is needed as a mental device to approach ourselves and the world differently.
In the Course’s view of reality there is a world of Oneness, Heaven, Mind, God and His One Son, which is the sum of all His extensions of His Love. This is a world of Mind and total oneness. The Course’s myth of world creation says that there crept into the Son’s Mind, the tiny mad idea that He could be different from His Father. Since this could not really happen, it was like a dream the Son fell into. But once he appeared to fall into it, he was an observer, and just as quickly two thoughts came to his mind. One thought, the Course calls the ‘ego,’ said “you have done something terrible. You have really hurt your Father. You should be ashamed, and furthermore, God is not going to let you get away with this. The wages of sin is death.” The other thought that came to the separated mind of the son was “this never happened. Nothing was done. Wake up.” This is the voice of the Holy Spirit, his memory of Truth. The Course calls the council of the ego, the “wrong mind,” and the council of the Holy Spirit, the “right mind.” But the son believed in the ego’s version and experienced guilt. So the separated son now believing he is the ego, runs out of his mind and creates a universe to hide in by projecting the guilt he experiences on to this universe. As he enters this universe he splits into zillions and zillions of pieces, each a hologram of the whole mind, now associated with the ego. But as he projects himself into this illusory universe, he forgets what he has done and who he really is. He creates bodies as places to hide from God and protect his dreamy desire to be an individual, separated, distinct from his Father, and each of these bodies believes in the ego’s lie that the son is now a sinner, guilty and afraid. So he is now in the world thinking he is a body, thinking his senses give him a true picture of reality. But he also carried with him into the dream a faint memory of who he really is. The ego is the wrong mind that he has chosen but the right mind of the Holy Spirit has been carried into the dream too, and it tells the son, “Forgive those who seem to hurt you in this world. Nothing has happened. It is just a dream.” Little by little the separated hologram son begins to listen to his right mind (or not) and forgive. As he does he begins to remember that he is a mind and not a body. Since he is a hologram and carries the whole within him he can go back in the mind where the original mistake took place, the choosing of the ego’s thought system, and he can choose again, this time for his right-minded Holy Spirit. When all of the Sonship has returned to the Holy Spirit, God Himself will reach down and bring us back up to Him. But actually since the Son has been dreaming, it is more like He nudges the Son and says, “Wake up.” Then we are back where we have never left, in a Heaven of Oneness with God and His One Son, the extension of all His Love.

You see the original Terror of Love in our minds is the illusion that comes from the original illusion that the Son could break off from his Father and be something different than the Love He is. We still believe the Ego’s lie that we have hurt God and that God’s Love can turn to wrath against us. That Terror of Love’s mutability into abuse keeps us on guard against experiencing the love that is our natural inheritance. The liberation comes when we can laugh at the tiny mad idea and see that it never in truth happened. Even old Yahweh we can laugh at as a cartoon creature we created from our guilty minds. And so the little lies we were told in childhood we can forgive and let them pass away as so many wisps of vapor. Love is trustworthy and full of wisdom. You need have no terror of what you in truth are. Now are you free of the ancient terror. Now is your brother set free and you with him to experience the Love you searched for so long in a terror that had you both bound in chains.
Now you need look no longer at your little self as something so worth protecting that you would sacrifice your Oneness with God to save it.
Let me personalize that. Now I have no need to keep the little identity of Joseph Shore forever as a defense against Love. Now I can lay down the defense of the body as something I made to replace the Love of God that I am. Now I am so free I stand before the Gates of Heaven with Jesus, reaching out to all my brothers who are climbing back up Jacob’s Ladder. So soon God’s Hand will reach down and lift His son back to his ancient place in Heaven where He must forever be, and we will be Home at last, where we have never left.
Amen.

Forgiven

Forgiven
A Sharing by Joseph Shore

Some of you, dear readers, will remember from my earlier sharing on Raising A Child of God, that I had a challenging childhood. My father was an abusive, angry man. I described how he made it a family celebration to drown kittens when I was four years old. I also described how my maternal grandparents offered me a different view of the world which saved me. They were farmers who saw the loving connection between all living things. When you see that, it is not possible to be abusive. As a child, I was caught in a “war” of perception which has accurately been used to refer to the World of Abnormal Rearing. But it was also, from the point of view of ACIM, a war between wrong-minded perception and right-minded perception. My parents modeled the former and my maternal grandparents modeled the latter. I spent as much time as possible with my grandparents.
In the Garden of Eden it was a talking snake that distracted Adam and Eve from perfection. The snake has been talking ever since in us through the process of thought and conditioning. WE are the talking snakes to our children. WE want them to eat of the tree of the “knowledge” of good and evil. That would be our conditioning, our perceptions, our limitations, our fears and prejudices. It is not knowledge at all. It is just our opinions, beliefs and prejudices that we have projected. And we are perfectly content to rob the child of his innocence, his perfection, and leave him with his nakedness before a meaningless world. We are content to receive nothing of the child’s heavenly birth right but make him a clone of our own conditioning! Is this not the heart of cruelty? Is this not a violation? Is this not an attack on God?
After the drowning of the kittens, my childhood years were spent in trying to understand things. I found solace in nature and imagination. It seems to be that abused children often appear to be psychic, perhaps due to dissociation necessary for survival. I could read people as a boy, tell things about them just by looking at them. I did not know it was unusual. Sometimes information about someone would come to me in dreams or visions. Sometimes dreams just clarified my inner conflicts. One of my dreams took place at my grandparent’s house in the country. In the dream, my parents and grandparents were huddled behind the couch with rifles in their hands. They were waiting to ambush my friends who were just pulling up to the house. There was a torrent of gunfire and laughter as they enjoyed killing my friends! I had this dream many times as a boy. The dream came from my life on the farm. We raised chickens from little baby chicks. I would often crawl into the brooder house and play with them. As they grew into chickens in our yard I regarded them as my friends. I was deeply disturbed at the nonchalant way in which my grandparents would kill them for dinner. Grandpa would chop off their heads and grandmother would ring their necks. Then the plucking of feathers, the singeing, the gutting and cutting was horrible for me to witness. I had identified with animals from the horrible drowning of the cats. It was unthinkable to me that we had the right to eat animals! It was so inconsistent. While watching my grandmother work one day in her flower garden I asked her if we should pick some and bring them into the house. She explained that the flowers belonged alive in the garden. If we picked them they would die! I got it! But then why didn’t the chickens belong alive in the chicken yard? It was explained to me in Sunday School that God made the animals just for us to eat them. They didn’t have souls. Somehow this explanation did not sit well with me! I didn’t buy it!
In another recurring dream I would find myself in a mental hospital, strapped to the bed. I was quite sane and did not understand why I was being held. The doctors and nurses would occasionally come in and look at me, but they were the ones who were insane. They laughed hysterically and behaved irrationally. I would often work myself loose from the straps and try to escape but each time I would be caught and taken back. One final time I broke loose and ran down the hall to the escape exit and plunged into daylight. I then could look back and see where I had been held captive. It was the First Baptist Church of Carthage Missouri! I never had that dream again!
In a vision, as a small boy of eight, I was sitting up in the top of a tree in our backyard, a tree I loved climbing. As I was up there my father walked into the back yard, his head in his hands, weeping. I had never seen my father cry but in this vision he was sobbing. In that moment I saw his life and the source of his anger. I spoke to him from the tree top and said, “You are sad because grandpa Shore got sick and you had to leave school, get a job and support the family.” Dad answered, “He sure beat hell out of any potential I ever had.” In his sophomore year in high school, his father, Vernon Shore, had gotten sick. Warren was the oldest of a family of ten and it was up to him to get a job and support the family. He did that but never returned to school. He harbored the perception that he had been victimized his whole life. Other people had quit school and resumed later. Why couldn’t Warren? There were other psychopathological elements in Warren’s personality that gave him his sadism and misogynism but from that day as an eight year old boy I began to understand my father a little and I began to think of forgiveness. I didn’t yet know how I could do it. Nothing had prepared me for what true forgiveness would be like. In my mind, I wanted him punished for his abusive ways, then I would think about forgiving him. Of course that never happened and neither did forgiveness. I clung to my grandpa and grandmother.
I thought the worst thing I could imagine would be the death of my grandfather. But when I was 9 our family moved out of the truck farm house and into the big city of Carthage, about five miles away. I gladly rode my bicycle back out into the country to be with grandmother and grandpa. But then one day Hercules Powder Plant blew up. The explosion could be felt as far away as Tulsa, 120 miles away. The explosion was just a quarter of a mile away from my grandparents’ house. Our family got into the car and drove out to Powder Town to check on my grandparents. We got to within a half mile of them before we met a road block. Dad and a few other men set off walking through the woods to try to reach their house while we drove back to Carthage to wait. They had survived the blast without injury but their house was damaged beyond repair. My childhood paradise had been destroyed. They moved into Carthage after that, at my father’s urging. Things were never the same. They lost that sense of freedom and joy that living in the country brought to them.
I grew up and became an opera singer. It didn’t matter to them. They loved me still. The rest of the clan thought of me as the black sheep in the family and would often say, “Warren and Beulah’s boy ran off to the big city to become an opry sanger. We never could understand what got into him.” Nevertheless grandpa and grandmother still loved me.
In his 80’s grandpa often wondered why he was permitted such a long life. He would often say, “All my friends are dead. Everybody I knew is dead. Why me? Why am I still alive?” But alive he was and still able to plow his small garden and drive his car.
He had a small infection when he was 90 and the doctor wanted to treat him in the hospital just to be careful. It was not supposed to be anything big. The night before he was to go into hospital, he called my grandmother to him and said, “Now Lena, I want you to know I am going to die now.” Grandmother told him, “George, don’t talk like that. You’re not that sick.” But he protested in what for him was a pretty heated way, “I know what I’m talkin’ about Lena. I’m going to die now!” He went into hospital the next day.
I was living in New York and didn’t discover any of this until afterwards. One morning, around 4:00AM or so, I was awakened in the spirit. My body was still asleep, but it was if my spirit were awake and observing. I saw two angels holding my grandpa, one under each arm. They were taking him around the earth to allow him to say goodbye to certain places and people. He wanted to see me. He was young and happy and full of excitement. He looked down and saw me in my apartment asleep and said, “Why there’s Joe down there.” Then he went on his journey. The next day I knew that the worst thing I could imagine had happened. My grandpa had died. I called home and found out that he had indeed passed away about the time that I saw him in spirit. I never had any further visions of my grandpa after that. It was sort of disappointing in a way. But there was such finality about that last vision. Grandmother was inconsolable at the funeral. When the vows say, “till death do we part,” it really means it. Marriage belongs to this earthly realm. It cannot be extended into spirit. When grandmother died not long afterwards, I did not get a parting vision of her, but in the weeks after her death she came to me in dreams many times. She was young and happy and just wanted to contact me. I asked her about how grandpa was and she gave me a very interesting answer that did not fit in with my world view at the time. She said, “I am not with grandpa now. We are all spread out here like stars in the sky according to our distance from God.” I had no idea what she was talking about. Could it be that we are all on our journey back to God? Could it be that there was a time before time when we were all a part of God, all one with Him, all whole, One Garden?
In 1994 I found myself near death from heart disease. I was hearing an internal Voice then and my near death status turned into a four-month-long life review as I waited for the Canadian medical system to put my name at the top of the list for surgery. Back in my hometown of Carthage my father went into the hospital at the end of June for what was supposed to be a minor surgery repair of a hernia. Something told me however that this was the end of the line for Dad. The doctors gave us a progressive litany of worsening prognoses. Finally, they told the family that he was not leaving the hospital. I knew that part of him had faith in a life after death, but I also sensed that part of him was very frightened because he felt that he had failed in some important aspects of his life, one of those being in his relationship with his son. Those failures tore at him very deeply. Involved in my own near-death struggle I could not go to Missouri to be with him. We braced ourselves for the fact that he could die at any time. But I had much unfinished emotional business with Dad which I did not want to leave without closure. I also wanted to help him in his final hours.

I prepared a special time when I would be alone in the house, and began to pray for Dad. I asked God to let him know that I forgave him for all the things between us that he held against himself. I asked God to tell Dad I that it was all right for him to let go and go on if that is what he needed to do, but if he was supposed to fight and stay with us, that was all right too. I wanted him to know that I supported him in his decision, one way or the other. For some reason it was important to me to sing my prayers for him. I do not know how long this final song lasted, quite some time I think, maybe an hour or two. I had little sense of time as I was doing it.

My son, Tom, was to have his birthday in just two days, and I really did not want Dad to die on Tom’s birthday. So he didn’t. Tom had a wonderful birthday. Dad died the following day, July 10, 1994. The night he died, I had an archetypal dream about seeing someone off on a ship. It was Dad. The next morning I thought that he had passed over. Sure enough, he had. I was somewhat disappointed that I had not had a full parting vision but I knew he understood now that everything was OK between us. I just missed the good-bye. Finally, two days later, in the early hours of the morning of his funeral in Missouri, I awoke in the spirit while my body was fast asleep.
I was in a very special kind of railroad station looking for Dad. I was a little kid pushing through enormous crowds of people who were waiting to board this train. I was in a great hurry as I knew this train was about to leave. Then I saw him from behind. I knew it was him. I called to him, “Daddy, Daddy.” He turned around with a big smile all over his face. I ran to him and jumped into his arms. I remember the feeling. I looked into his eyes. I remember those eyes. He was young and looked somewhat differently than in life, but there was no mistaking him. All of the cares and worries, doubts and fears, insecurities and self judgments, were gone from his face. Instead, there was this pure love, all throughout him which gave him his new substance. I hugged him and said, “I love you Daddy.” He squeezed me. I remember that squeeze, and he said, “I love you too.” And then he made a little joke to make sure I knew I wasn’t just dreaming this. He knew I would remember it. He said, “You see, I’m a little thinner now than I used to be.” He was now spirit, not flesh. Then he boarded that train. A few hours later his funeral was conducted in Carthage. The whole town showed up for the funeral. In his later years he had become a beloved figure in that little town. He kept his secrets with him. Whatever punishment he received, he gave himself.
In most people’s childhood there were moments of love and moments of pain. We live with the fact that there was a snake in the garden, but in time, we see that it was beautiful nevertheless. Though unable to forget them, the bad times can never compete with the wonder and beauty of the garden, with flowers that never got cut, with baby chickens and old dogs named Ginger, with the fresh, clean smell of the air after a thunderstorm, with grapes and berries, pecans and pear trees, with sun-ripened watermelons, and corn picked with our own hands, with homemade bread and canned preserves, with quilting bees and a neighborhood awash in friendliness, with trips to the river—for the river was always around us– and returns to the garden, with the best days of family. The garden is my memory. I will hold to that. I wish I could take my garden and give it to others. But to each has been given his own. Not everyone’s garden looks the same, and in some the snake was more present than in others. But if you will look now, there is something of a garden to remember and hold to. When I leave this world I expect to visit the garden once again. I know grandmother and grandpa are waiting there for me. To them it will seem as if they only just arrived, or as if they never left. The tool shed door will still need fixing and the well water will still satisfy. Old Ginger will still follow grandpa’s every step and an old three legged cat, Smokey, will still climb trees. The mimosa tree will still attract the humming birds and the clothes dry clean on the line. And the River will still flow just nearby. The snake did not win. The garden stays, fixed in my heart with love that was true.

Raising A Child of God

Raising A Child of God
A Sharing by Joseph Shore

Inevitably as one begins to question his conditioning, there comes a time when one begins to reverence one’s inner child. As we look at the mistaken beliefs the child learned in his conditioning, and observe the impact of those false beliefs in the unfolding of his life, we come to love the child in a way that he did not receive in time. We have all been conditioned. What parents have raised a child of God who knows himself as God created him? Mary raised Jesus that way, and as a single parent. Who else has raised a child of God, free of conditioning?
I have been so moved by watching Tara Singh teach on this subject. There is a video and a book you can get from The Joseph Plan Foundation of Tara Singh teaching his ACIM students about Raising a Child of God. Now as adults searching for inner peace we begin to question our conditioning and invariably we come to our inner child. There is the innocent child of heaven who brought the light to give to the world, and knows only Heavenly things, Love, Truth, Eternal Laws. And then there is the adapted child who has been conditioned by his parents with the ways of the earth: fear, suspicion, survival, conflict, limitation, lack. When we come into contact with our adapted child we weep for the innocence of heaven that we lost. We weep for the child who came only to give love and received the teaching of pain and fear in its place. I want to emphasize that the child comes straight from heaven and knows only to give. Were the parents wise, they would have prepared themselves to receive from the child, rather than teach. The child would bring an inner Light. Would the parents receive it? The child would bring innocence. Would the parents receive it? The child brings the memory of heaven. Would the parents receive it? Among wolves there is a greater awareness than that among humans. In a wolf family, the cub is the dominant member. Everything is done for the cub. The mother and father serve the cub’s needs. This is so basic in nature. How did we humans lose it?
In the Garden of Eden it was a talking snake that distracted Adam and Eve from perfection. The snake has been talking ever since in us through the process of thought and conditioning. WE are the talking snakes to our children. WE want them to eat of the tree of the “knowledge” of good and evil. That would be our conditioning, our perceptions, our limitations, our fears and prejudices. It is not knowledge at all. It is just our opinions that we have projected. And we are perfectly content to rob the child of his innocence, his perfection, and leave him with his nakedness before a meaningless world. We are content to receive nothing of the child’s heavenly birth right but make him a clone of our own conditioning! Is this not the heart of cruelty? Is this not a violation? Is this not an attack on God? Is it any wonder that we do not raise a child of God when we attack God in our child rearing?
As a sharing, I want to look at a tiny part of my childhood. It will look somewhat different from yours but the fact of conditioning will be the same. I want to tell you this story as through the memory of my inner child who experienced it at four years old, so I am going to use the literary device of a screen play, a memory play. The characters are Warren and Beulah Shore, Judy (7 years old), me (Joe-Boy, 4 years old) and George and Lena Ritchie, my maternal grandparents. The setting is the countryside of Missouri.

The scene dissolves into the past. Joe-Boy is 4 years old. He is in the barn. The family cat has just had kittens. Joe watches them nurse. His mother calls from the house.)
Mother: Joe-Boy come in and get ready for church. (Joe comes inside and dresses in a little white shirt and dark trousers).
Father: (Warren Shore is 6 feet tall and 220 lbs. He works on the line at a gun powder manufacturing plant. He is abusive to the family) “Joe-Boy come here. Let me put your tie on.” (Joe comes to him and he clips on a little tie.)
Mother: Judy? You ready? We’re gonna be late for Sunday School. (The family rushes into a 4 door Buick and drives 5 miles to The First Baptist Church of Carthage, Missouri. They park on a side street, exit the car and separate. Warren goes upstairs to the adult class. Judy goes to the 7 year old class and Beulah (Mother) takes Joe-Boy to the 4 year old class where an elderly woman named Mrs. Brown is telling Bible stories to 4 and 5 year old children.)
Mrs. Brown: Joe, can you tell the class where the Wise Men found the baby Jesus?
Joe: Yes M’am, They found him in a barn, maybe a little smaller than the one we got. (Other children titter. The children divide up into smaller classes. Beulah goes with Joe. The teacher reads Bible verses to the children. At the end of class Beulah takes Joe-Boy to the nursery. Children 4 and younger did not go to big church. They stayed in the nursery in the basement of the church while the grown-ups were upstairs.)
Beulah: Here he is Tracy. You be good Joe-Boy and do what Tracy tells you. (Joe nods). Joe
looks at Bible picture books until Beulah comes for him.)
Beulah: Well Tracy was he a good boy for you?
Tracy: He sure was Mrs. Shore. He’s a good boy. I’ll sit with him anytime? (Beulah and Joe leave and go back to the car where they are joined by Warren and Judy)
Warren: What’s for dinner Beulah? (starting the car and backing out)
Beulah: I have some chicken in the frig that I fried yesterday and we’ve got potato salad and slaw.
Warren: Let’s go get it. How about that Joe-Boy?
Joe: Ok (They drive the five miles back to the house in the country) Mother why don’t grandmother and grandpa go with us to church?
Beulah: They like their little church out in the country. They think ours is too big.
Joe: Oh
(The family exits the car, goes inside and each person changes clothes from their Sunday go-to-meetin’ clothes to everyday clothes. Beulah gets the food on the table. Judy sets the table. They sit down to eat.)
Beulah: Judy do you want to say the blessing?
Judy (bashfully) Ok. Thank you for the food we eat. Thank you for our daily meat. In Jesus’ name Amen.
Warren: Let’s eat.
Beulah: Warren what are we going to do with all those kittens? We cain’t keep um.
Warren: (chuckles between big bites, speaks with his mouth full) You just leave that to me Beulah.
Joe: Mother why can’t we keep the kittens?
Beulah: Because Joe-Boy, We are poor. We don’t have the food to feed all those kittens. They grow up to be big cats and we cain’t feed all them. (Joe is silent. The family finishes dinner.)
Beulah: Judy you wash the dishes and let Joe-Boy dry.
Joe: (speaks loudly for him) Oh Mother I want to go outside and play with the kittens
Warren: You do what your Mother says Joe-Boy or I’ll box you. Anyway, you need to take a nap. Later on we’re all goin’ to go out for a drive. (Judy and Beulah clear the table and begin to wash the dishes. Beulah hands Joe a towel)
Joe: Mother can I go down to see grandmother and grandpa? (Their house was about 150 feet away connected by the garden)
Beulah: We’ll see about that later. You go take your nap. (Joe goes to his room and tries to nap but can’t. In a few minutes Warren calls out.)
Warren: Everybody get to the car. We’re all gonna take a Sunday drive. (Joe and Judy get into the back seat. Warren goes into the barn and brings out a burlap bag, opens the back car door and hands the bag to Joe-Boy) Here son, hold on to this bag for me. (Joe can tell the bag is full of kittens because they are meowing. Joe looks in the bag.)
Joe: Are we going to give the kittens away Daddy?
Warren: (chuckles under his breath) You just hold the bag. (They drive around the countryside for about 30 minutes before coming to a bridge over Dry Fork River. It is an old bridge with only one lane going over it. Warren drives the car to the middle of the bridge and turns over his shoulder to speak to Joe.) Hand me that bag son. I’ll show you how we get rid of cats around here. (Joe is rigid with fear. He hands the bag to Warren. The kittens are crying. Warren rolls down his window, suspends the bag out of the window and over the river. Warren drops the bag into the river and laughs. Beulah and Judy look to the front, motionless as though nothing is happening. They drive back home without saying a word. When the car stops in the drive way, Joe runs out of the car down through the garden to grandmother and grandpa Ritchie’s house. He runs inside the house.)
Joe: Grandmother, grandmother, he killed the kittens. He dropped them in the river. He drowned them. They’re all dead. He killed them. (Joe begins to cry)
Grandmother Ritchie: Who killed them?
Joe-Boy (in tears): Daddy did.
Grandmother Ritchie: That Warren. Come with me. We’ll tell grandpa. (They go out into the garden where George Ritchie is looking after his tomato plants. Lena Ritchie whispers into George’s ear)
Grandpa Ritchie: Joe-Boy, you walk with me through the garden. We’ll check on everything. (Lena Ritchie walks on up to the Shore house to speak to Beulah) Looky here Joe, everything is alive in the garden: the peas, the beans, the corn, the tomatoes. There’s life flowing through everything and through us. Some folks don’t understand about life. Come here Ginger. (He calls to his old dog) Now you take old Ginger here. He’s been with me a long time. He’s pert near as old as I am. We’re all part of the life of the garden Joe. (Joe begins to cry again)
Joe: But my kittens are gone. He killed them. (Grandpa Ritchie begins to sing a little song)
Grandpa Ritchie: Come on back with me to get my Jews harp. We’ll play a little tune. (They walk back together to the back porch and Grandpa Ritchie pulls out his Jews harp from a drawer. They sit down on the porch steps and he plays and sings.) You wanna stay over with us tonight? I’ll call Beulah and tell her. (Joe nods yes)
+++++++++++++++++++++
Look at all the conditioning thrown at little Joe. First, there is no respect for life. There is no sense of reverence for life. There is just stark cruelty being portrayed as “normal.” The drowning of the kittens is an act of sadism, especially since it was done in the context of a family outing. The discerning reader will see that there were antecedents to this cruelty. Warren was an abusive father. He projects anger and uses manipulation and physical threat to get his way. He is not at all concerned about physically hitting a four year old boy in the face! (“I’ll box you!”) The other members of the Shore family, Beulah and Judy are in denial. They have been successfully manipulated and they hold secrets about Warren’s abusiveness. Warren’s cruelty represents “wrong-minded perception,” while the grandparents represent “right-minded perception.” They try to offer an alternative world-view to little Joe. The two sets together are the battle ground now in little Joe’s mind. He sees his father as a monster and experiences fear. He does not know whether Warren might put him in a bag one day and throw him into the river. The child has lost his awareness of his light from heaven and has nothing to give. He just receives punishment, manipulation, sadism, limitation, lack, and despair, all in the name of child rearing! As good as it might make us feel to hate Warren, he too is lost. He was just handing down what he thought he received and we could trace this back and back and back. But look how grandpa Ritchie responds. He does not react! Instead he teaches Joe the truth about life! Do you see the wisdom of that? He does not say, “Joe-Boy, I’m going to go up there and beat the tar out of Warren.” If he had said that, who among you, dear readers, would not have cheered him on? “Way to go George. Beat the dickens out of Warren!” Instead he does the wise thing. He doesn’t react. He just tells the Truth, simply, beautifully, with art and love, and so he offers Joe-Boy a different reality. The kittens are gone, but Grandpa Ritchie shows Joe the Truth that remains, which is the one-ness of life. (“We are all part of the life of the garden, Joe.”) What wisdom is this coming from a simple farmer? So Grandpa Ritchie offers little Joe-boy a gift from heaven. Thank God for grandparents like George and Lena Ritchie.
In this story, little Joe has long since been conditioned to forget Heaven and the gift he brought with him to this planet. Children will remember if you don’t beat it out of them and they will give you exquisite descriptions of heaven. When my daughter was a toddler she described the process of her coming to earth. “There I was, minding my own business in heaven, and this angel comes up to me and says, ‘this couple is going to have a baby. Would you like to be it?’ So I said ‘sure.’ Then I jumped and the next thing I knew I was a baby and these people were saying, ‘Oh look at the baby.”
When my son was about five I heard him talking to his sister. “Tell me again about heaven. I am beginning to forget.”
What keeps us from raising children of God rather than conditioned children of the earth? Someone must break the cycle of abuse. Someone must see clearly. Someone must reverence life. Someone must see the light of the child and cherish it

A human thought is the lowest form of intelligence.

Tara Singh, our beloved teacher of ACIM, said, “A human thought is the lowest form of intelligence.” Would you react to that or would you look at it? Taraji was talking about wiser things than thought. Nature knows such wisdom. Do not all the birds fly out of joy? Do not the fish swim out of ecstasy? Does not nature know a peace that can bring you to absolute stillness? So what about this opinion you have that man is the crowning summit of creation? Isn’t it self-serving nonsense? Do you really think that you are more intelligent than nature because your brain is bigger? Big deal! Size is not everything. My cat is far wiser than I. She knows stillness. She knows peace. She comes from wisdom’s gate. She is a cat of God straight from Heaven and she brings Heaven’s Light to the planet. Look at her sitting in my lap. Look at the wisdom and love. Am I superior to her because my brain is bigger? Absolutely not! That is utter insanity. When you go to nature and are inspired by the sight of a fawn, does not its ability to inspire you come from Eternal Truth, Eternal Laws? And so the sight of the fawn brings your superior brain to stillness, and in that stillness you move to an intelligence that is beyond the brain. It is timeless and belongs to eternity. The immensity of which we are apart does not know thought! Are we there? But if you become afraid of your true Self, your immensity, will you not fall back on thought? You will bring your Self back to the little ego self, wouldn’t you? And in that state you would proclaim yourself as the crowning achievement of creation! Thought never touches on Truth!

The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep. We don’t really like being called sheep! We are insulted by it. We think of sheep as being stupid, dirty creatures who exist to give us lamb chops and wool sweaters! But Jesus doesn’t see sheep that way. In a pastoral era, the sheep and the Shepherd were One. Sheep provided life and the Good Shepherd loved the sheep so much, they were one in mind. We see this all throughout the animal kingdom. A mother lion will lay down her life to protect her cubs, and in that act there is absolutely no sense of separation. What happens to the cubs happens to her! So let us not be so surprised that the Good Shepherd loves the sheep so much that he would die for them. The image is that the Good Shepherd will search for one lost sheep as long as is necessary to bring him back into the fold. Never a fear is there that any of the sheep could ever be lost. This is a new image Jesus brings. In the Old Testament book of Amos there is a beautiful story of an earthly shepherd who guards his sheep against the wolves. But every so often a wolf will grab a sheep and start to eat it. In Amos, the shepherd knows the sheep is lost but he goes into battle anyway, hitting at the wolf, tugging at the sheep already in the wolf’s mouth, so that he might save even an ear or a piece of the sheep. Jesus’ image takes the story up one further step. All of the sheep are safe. If any stray, certain it is that the Good Shepherd will find him and return him to the fold. Unfortunately, the Bible is written dualistically and the sheep are opposite the goats! ACIM corrects this error and lets us know there are only sheep! Some of the sheep may be insane and think they are goats, even act like goats, but they cannot in truth change from who they are. The Good Shepherd will bring them all into the fold. Jesus said:

“Hear me, my brothers, hear and join with me. God has ordained I cannot call in vain, and in His certainty I rest content. For you will hear, and you will choose again. And in this choice is everyone made free.

I thank You, Father, for these holy ones who are my brothers as they are Your Sons. My faith in them is Yours. I am as sure that they will come to me as You are sure of what they are, and will forever be. They will accept the gift I offer them, because You gave it me on their behalf. And as I would but do Your holy Will, so will they choose. And I give thanks for them. Salvation’s song will echo through the world with every choice they make. For we are one in purpose, and the end of hell is near.

In joyous welcome is my hand outstretched to every brother who would join with me in reaching past temptation, and who looks with fixed determination toward the light that shines beyond in perfect constancy. Give me my own, for they belong to You. And can You fail in what is but Your Will? I give You thanks for what my brothers are. And as each one elects to join with me, the song of thanks from earth to Heaven grows from tiny scattered threads of melody to one inclusive chorus from a world redeemed from hell, and giving thanks to You” (ACIM).

Our “special” Lie we believe

Our “special” Lie we believe

In ACIM we term it a “special” relationship whenever we look for love, truth, knowledge outside of ourselves. We look for it in a “special” person, a “special” place, a “special” job, etc. Inevitably that illusion crashes and we are left in the illusion of pain. There is nothing outside of ourselves. The Love we crave is in us, not another. But it takes a “Holy Instant” to see this. We so cling to the lie of “specialness.” We just do not want to lay it down, and so we go from one relationship to the next, one job to the next, one city to the next, always looking for that “special” something outside of us. It cannot exist. That means if I am feeling alone, betrayed, or loveless, it is not because of someone else. These are illusions of pain which I bring on to myself by searching externally for a “special” something that will please me forever. Only awakening to Love’s Presence can do that. The Holy relationship replaces the special one. In the Holy relationship do I experience love that is shared with you because we are One. There is no one special. Look at the implications of that Truth for the world. There is no chosen people (Israel or the USA) There are no “exceptional people” (the USA). Conversely, there are no special “evil people” that we must fight! You see how easy the concept of specialness creeps into the ego of nations. Wars are fought over our specialness! And so Jesus gives us a new Lord’s Prayer in the Course.

“Forgive us our illusions, Father, and help us to accept our true relationship with You, in which there are no illusions, and where none can ever enter. Our holiness is Yours. What can there be in us that needs forgiveness when Yours is perfect? The sleep of forgetfulness is only the unwillingness to remember Your forgiveness and Your Love. Let us not wander into temptation, for the temptation of the Son of God is not Your Will. And let us receive only what You have given, and accept but this into the minds which You created and which You love. Amen.”

There is nothing outside of you

There is nothing outside of you. You hold the memory of the world in your mind and project it outward every day. The world you see is but a reflection of your mind. This would present you with hopelessness were it not for the power of forgiveness in which you replace your sorry memory of the world with the Vision Christ brings. Seen through the eyes of forgiveness, the world you remembered and projected becomes filled with light. The only condition for Vision is complete forgiveness of everyone and everything. No hidden blot of special darkness is allowed. No special hatreds can be left in secret. Is this such a price to pay for Vision? As forgiveness happens, you begin to see a little light around the edges of your dreary world. When forgiveness is complete, the shining real world presents itself to you as a reflection of Heaven, so near that the distance to God is but a tiny step. Gone is your memory of the world you projected. Miss it not, for its memory is a happy loss. Now are you free to remember Heaven, your ancient Home, and surprised you will be to see yourself greet you at Heaven’s gate, for you have never left in truth. All of your journeys through time have been but dreams. In gratefulness do you surrender your little rebellious dream of individuality and enter into the Oneness that you have always been. Every loving thought you have had is perfectly remembered. Is this not enough? Now does Christ look on His Father afresh and sing the ancient hymn in praise of Heaven. Now do the lights of Heaven burn with their ancient brightness and within it you are a part.
My brothers, do not fail to hear me in this hour. For now is the time to forget the world and remember Heaven. Remember and awaken!

The “littleness” you hold for yourself

The “littleness” you hold for yourself is also the force that keeps you unfulfilled. It keeps greed alive, a sense of inferiority and guilt alive in you. Insecurity and unfulfillment, deprivation and lack, all come from the littleness that you think you are. One person who has seen his vastness, her immensity, can never know unfulfillment again. Knowing your immensity will also give to you your virtue, your eternal Goodness that is beyond duality. That one person can bring the Kingdom of God to earth!!!

A lot of people say, “I can’t understand A Course in Miracles. It is too difficult to me.”

A lot of people say, “I can’t understand A Course in Miracles. It is too difficult to me.” Then I could step forward and say, “ACIM gives us the Thoughts of God.” Then you would surely say, “Prove it.” But when you approach it like that there is very little I can say to you. You can will yourself to read the Course from cover to cover. You can get out your yellow pads and make notes along the way. You can finish your project and what will you be left with? An OPINION on A Course in Miracles. And your opinion means nothing. Nothing will give you nothing. Then I could say to you, “The Course is not to be believed. It is not a new theology, a new dogma. It is an undoing.” It helps you to undo the mistakes you made in perception. What does it take to undo? It takes first a little willingness to agree that just perhaps things are not the way you think they are. Beyond that it takes “the ears to hear.” Jesus constantly said, “Let him who has the ears to hear, hear.” How would you give yourself the ears to hear? You would be determined to go beyond your unwillingness to change. Krishnamurti said, “the real problem of man is his unwillingness to change.” If you would give yourself the ears to hear you would have to go beyond the unwillingness to change.” That by itself seems too big of a move, so the Course takes you by the hand and gives you daily lessons that help you to go beyond the unwillingness to change. As you go through the lessons you will soon see that your mind is changing. There is more space, more light. You will soon see that the text is very easy to read. And every line has within it the ability to bring you to the truth. If you have the ears to hear it would bring you to the truth. And then you will not ask me to prove anything. You will know.