How A Course In Miracles could help in Israel

How A Course In Miracles could help in Israel

Israel continues to see itself as attacked and therefore it attacks back. But Hamas is firing rockets at them, you say! Now why is Hamas firing rockets at Israel? Because Israel has attacked them!! What? How did Israel attack them? It took their land away from them. That’s one huge thing. Now also the apartheid in Israel against the Palestinians is an attack. The imprisonment of Palestinians in Gaza is an attack. They are truly imprisoned there. They cannot leave Gaza and no one can come in. That is imprisonment. What do prisoners often do? They build escape tunnels! Would they fire rockets if they had them? You bet! I knew men who were prisoners of war in WWII. They tried to build escape tunnels. If they had possessed rockets they would have fired them at their captors!! Attack creates more attack!!! Now A Course In Miracles comes in with Divine Knowledge about the mind, and it says “If I defend myself I am attacked.” When one postures defensively he sees attack everywhere. Put another way, a posture of defensiveness manifests attack. I’ll give you a little example. I lived in Manhattan many years. Often I would walk down streets that were described to me as “dangerous” by my friends. I would just laugh and walk those streets anyway. I refused to take a defensive posture. All those years in New York I was never once mugged! Nobody even came up to me to try to mug me and I walked through really tough places! Later on I was a Social Worker in the worst slums of New York. I never once was attacked.

In the middle of this Israel-Palestine environment of attack and defensiveness the Course would say that someone must break the cycle. Someone must stop seeing the other guy as intrinsically other! Someone must see his so-called “enemy” as his brother. Someone must see that what is in the others interest is also in his! The cycle of defensiveness and attack must be broken but it cannot be broken by ego thought which sees everyone as separate and other. It will take right-mindedness to stop it.

Observations on a florid Song A collection of stories and aphorisms on enlightenment

Observations on a florid Song

A collection of stories and aphorisms on enlightenment

Joseph Shore

Contents

I. The Epic Truth

II. Aphorisms and Poems

III. Channeling

IV. The Stories

The Epic Truth

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.

In eternity where all is One,

A song was singing,

Unaware of itself as a song,

but aware of its content of love.

The song filled all that was or ever could be.

There was no place the song was not,

Nor was there any place which did not welcome it.

There was no place.

There was only the Song.

A note of the song heard itself

and thought of a descant to the melody

The descant became aware of itself

and wanted to listen to the Song.

The descant experienced the love in the Song it heard.

It filled itself with desire to hear.

More notes of the Song joined the descant as observers

And heard harmony to the Song.

Soon the Song was sung in harmony with many voices.

The descant said,

“Let us make form so that the Song can be remembered.”

Until this time there had been no difficulty in remembering the Song.

But other notes joined in the descant’s fear that the Song might be forgotten.

And fear began to remember the Song differently.

Soon the Song became embroidered with quick tempo changes, harmonic shifts,

Key changes, with such quantum rapidity that an ear was formed,

Then a brain, a mouth, a larynx, a body

And the Song forgot itself

But it could now hear.

It employed the body to search for the Song.

But no search satisfied it.

Soon the body forgot its purpose.

The Song which was fabric of its bones

Lay at rest in its tissues.

Having no purpose, the body began to think.

The Song which was only Love lay buried,

And the body thought of fear.

Fearful bodies created other fearful bodies

Each with a tiny memory of the Song

As a hologram within each cell.

There came a day when one body listened closely.

It heard first a tiny wisp of the Song,

Then a phrase, and then the whole Song.

It felt the Song in its bones and muscles,

Its brain and tissues,

And knew that it was the Song.

It told other bodies.

One by One they listened deep within and heard.

But the Song was complicated now,

Full of rapid key changes, tempo shifts, orchestral embroideries

The Song moved at quantum speed.

Bodies could not slow it down.

So they began to sing their own songs,

Some fearful but others prescient.

Great singers came into bodies and sang great songs.

Bodies began to remember more of the One Song.

It happened one day very quickly as a singer sang his song.

He listened deeply as he sang and observed his song closely.

He listened to his breath. He observed the tone until he saw his sound.

As his sound progressed he followed it,

First to his ear,

Then to his brain,

Then to his world.

He followed his sound to no place,

And there the One Song was singing,

Not complicated, not embroidered.

The slow, smooth melody began to unwind the fabric of his bones,

The sinews of his body,

For they were made of nothing but the melody made complicated.

As the body unwound there was no fear.

The slow, smooth Song spoke only of a Love that could not be different.

As complicated key and tempo changes resolved into the One Song,

Notes that had been trapped in the body rejoined the melody.

Note by note they flew from the body back into the Song.

As the last note approached the Song,

It tarried just a little as an observer.

Do I need to observe? It asked itself.

And as soon as it asked the question

It chose to rejoin the Song.

Singers, listen deep within,

And hear the Song that makes you sing.

Follow it and let it change you.

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 the whole Song

Find itself in you.

In quiet eternity does the One Song sing,

Unaware of itself as a Song, singing only Love,

 

II. Aphorisms and Poems

Spring

Garden

Flower

Bee

Sky

Water

Still

Me

Emptiness

God created stillness and said to his creation: “Let this be our place. Our Light will shine in this stillness. Our Song is all that will be heard.”

*

My mind is still. The night sky shines, crickets chirp, the cat lays peacefully asleep, and my mind is still. There is now in this stillness, and Peace. No thought of evil or good comes to mind. I am awake.

*

The Glory of God is all I need.
The Glory of God is my Home.
The Glory of God is my peace.
The Glory of God removes all illusions,
None can stand in The Glory of God.
The Glory of God is all I want.
The Glory of God is all I seek.
The Glory of God is the will of my spirit.
The Glory of God is the answer to my deepest question:
“Who am I?”
I am the Glory of God,
As rays from the sun,
I am His Glory.
I am The Glory of God.

*

Something brews in my heart this night of the full moon. The city lights shine brighter. The raccoons and coyotes are prowling with wild eyes. The cats are singing to their masters with an “agitato” in their melody. At midnight I am wide awake and still. Wondrous Moon, what secrets would you reveal to me tonight? Whose eyes look upon the gates of my heart and dream of entering?

*

The night air glistens with stillness. The birds have retired to their nests but the sounds of night fill the air with a symphony of equal beauty. In the distance Coyotes sing their haunting song. Can you hear the Melos? Owls make comment in staccato. The cicadas sing their hypnotic tune. The sounds of night are magnificent and the Melos is in them. Within this nocturnal fortissimo, my mind comes to stillness. No thought intrudes. And in this stillness I see You. Your immensity is on display in my heart. Your boundlessness approaches me with a waiting kiss. I have beheld your Glory. You, it has always been You, my Beloved, my Enchantress, my Eternal Magician. What new form will you take to hide your immensity? I will seek You until I find you, hiding in the form of your choice. I will find You and join with You in a coupling forgotten from the foundation of time. Ecstasy…and we are One.

*

You are the Beloved. I do not complete you and you do not complete me. We are complete within ourselves and we are One Self. And so the two have found themselves as One and in this discovery Love is remembered. Love is present within our midst, giving us both our identity. But you are still the Beloved. You call to me from regions I have not explored and urge my footsteps on. Up just a little higher I see you over the stars calling to me. The breath of the stars knows your name in innocent remembrance. The Cosmos dances to your step. Planets smile at you as you brush their paths. You must know that you have been in my mind for all eternity. I am almost there. I see you, arms outstretched to the moon, a child of the stars..and my heart. “Come to me.” Angels blush at the site of our union. At last I remember you!! ♥♥

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.

*

Tonight love fills the air. Your name was mentioned and that was all that was necessary to bring in Love’s Presence, like a cool, soothing breeze on a hot summer’s day. You name has brought Love’s remembrance to me. The many have become One. No little blot or stain can stand in Love’s Presence. All illusions flow gently down the stream of ages while the rocks whisper; “Only Love is real.”

*

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, and 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.

*

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.

*

When you get the message, you hang up the phone. When you really get that God is the only real part of you, then you connect with all those “I am” statements of Jesus. “Before Abraham was, I Am:” “The Father and I are One;” “I am the way, the truth and the life.” If you say that in the West, you will be considered either a heretic or a lunatic. Such statements are the hallmark of insanity in the West. But if you say them in the East, people will say: “You just found out? Why did it take you so long?”

*

Here is an exercise that can be more helpful than trying to believe in something. Find an environment that your mind really likes. For me it is nature. Go to that place (with your body). For me, I would go to a water fowl sanctuary at Burnaby Lake. Allow your environment to slow down the incessant chatter in your brain. In my setting, I simply hear the birds, watch the clouds, and closely observe. I observe the bees, the earthworms, the garden of flowers. Tuned observation begins to slow my brain thought. What thoughts come, I watch them pass. As I tune my observation there is less distance from me and the flowers, bees, worms, ducks and all the ten thousand things of the Tao. Then there comes a moment and time stops. I am no longer an observer. I am a part of the garden. I have let go of the observer and my mind is still. Now the bees are a part of me and I do not care if they land on me. The flowers are my arms with blossoms. The ducks are me with feathers. In this stillness there is sparkling newness and a choice to see my real body as the world. As much as we wish to stay in this consciousness forever, we do not as yet. We come back to an ego and we eat our food and pass our water. But each experience of “true reality” brings with it rewards that bring us back to cosmic consciousness again and again, and we change. We grow our brains. When Richard Buck, Canadian Psychologist had his experience of cosmic consciousness in 1872, he described it as an experience one might have once in a lifetime. Look what has happened since then. Cosmic Consciousness is an experience that people now have many times in life. I expect to have it with just a little help from my friends in nature. Find the environment you mind needs and discover stillness.

*

Believe no spiritual system. Be innocent of belief. Belief is the booby prize. Belief is always in another. It lacks the validity of personal experience. When you have experienced something, you know it. It has it own validity. You don’t need to believe in it. The danger inherent in all spiritual systems is that they use words, diagrams, pictures, which the teacher believes have inherent value in teaching you the system of thought. Subconsciously that encourages “belief” in the system. The poor learner thinks the words and pictures ARE the truth, and when the words run out, they are bereft, asking the teacher for more words and diagrams. In such a manner is confusion given to yearning hearts and peace does not appear on their brows.

*

Our quest for wisdom is a circle, not a straight line. We remember what we knew, and forget again so we can search for it. I was re-reading Ram Dass’ book BE HERE NOW which awakened everybody a little bit back in 1971. Amazed to recall such good times, I remembered what I knew. 🙂

*

That song I heard in my heart keeps asking me to follow it. I can hear the melody now. I think I will follow it.

*

When you believe something there are always words. When you know something the words disappear. Tomorrow I will spend much of the day in the beautiful rain at Burnaby Lake, and I will believe nothing.

*

The body is a symbol of the music it is trying to recall.

*

T’is the last rose of twilight

And my heart thinks of Thee.

Stillness comes in the twilight,

A mind stilled, but not by me.

T’is the magic that comes in the last rose,

And a mind that knows only of Thee

*

All despots are my brother.

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.

*

Blessed Jesus

Deliverer from all guilt and fear

Because you cancel out both,

Not by a bloody sacrifice

But because you believe in neither

And gently offer us your vision of the Love we have never left.

*

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!!!!!

*

Love is our natural inheritance. Fear is something we created by splitting everything into opposites. Fear is the fuel of the world. Religions and governments are based on it and promote it. Fear is insanity and my insane thoughts show me a meaningless world. Above all else I am determined to see clearly. I could see peace instead of a world of fear. God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.

*

Our urge is to split apart into good and bad, to fight the bad and urge others to be good. It doesn’t work. It is insanity. You cannot extinguish darkness by fighting it. It is not an entity. It is just lack of light. Light one little candle and the darkness goes.

*

I must go to Burnaby Lake, to the water fowl sanctuary, and walk in the rain. Wood Ducks are there, prettier than any painting, Mallards, Coots, Marsh Wrens, and the hope of seeing a Blue Heron. The beauty of these creatures and their oneness stills my mind and brings me to peace. Often I stay there as long as possible and wonder why I must go back to the apartment? Why can I not just stay there, in nature, live in the bushes and the trees? My real feeling of home is there…then I remember New York bagels with cream cheese and I become insane again.

*

One day I was thinking how much I missed seeing hummingbirds. It was just a thought. That same day I went down to my little creek to play with the trout. Out from the bushes flew a lovely hummingbird. He hovered in front of me for a minute or two just to let me see him, and then flew back to the bushes.

*

Maybe people would be kinder to animals if they recognized that their dog was God’s dog. Their cat was God’s cat. Their bird was God’s bird. Their fish was God’s fish. God’s cat lives with me. I call her “Blanche” but I know that God has his own name for her. I have asked her to tell me but she says, “Blanche will do for you.”

*

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.

*

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.

*

When friends and loved ones pass over, the grief is present. It cannot be denied. But it can be healed by remembering the loving things that person did. The love is the ony thing that was real anyway. The love is what continues.

*

What would I have to do to know, truly know God? The most direct approach would be to know myself, truly know myself. Then I would know God. But God’s purpose is shared by all things. If I could truly know my cat, I would know God. Only God is and we are the strokes of His paint brush.

*

Tara Singh was a wondrous teacher of A Course in Miracles. He has left his body now but his presence remains. Taraji taught A Course in Miracles in an Eastern way. He did not teach it as a thought system. He did not draw diagrams and charts and give them to his students as an intellectual system which they were told to “learn.” Instead he taught by unteaching. He was a luminous presence. His students did not learn what he taught. They learned who He is, just as parents do not really teach their children lessons. Children learn who their parents are! Taraji was awake! He did not want to add one more belief into the world.

*

A cabin sits on the shores of a small lake, surrounded by evergreen trees. There is a fire in the fireplace. A thunderstorm is brewing. Rain comes through the trees refreshing the forest, pelting the lake with its droplets. Yet stillness reigns in me as I share such 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.

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.

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.

*
A Course in Miracles straight up, no water or tonic…

OK, I have a confession to make. ACIM says “Seek not to change the world, but seek instead to change your mind about the world.” If we apply that we could also say “Seek not to change the Course but seek instead to change your mind about the Course.” I have been using my own terminology lately seeking to avoid the Christian terminology. Just in case I have confused any of you 😦 I am going to summarize the central myth of the Course using its own terms. The myth is designed to take you mind past the Adam and Eve myth and the crazy god who punishes every small infraction with Draconian judgment. ACIM is rewriting Genesis. The Course says that all reality is spirit. God is spirit and He created a universe of spirit (not this physical one we are in). This real, spiritual universe is called Heaven, and in it is God (also called the Father) and His extension of His Love. To use an analogy from our physical sun, as light from our sun radiates into space, so God’s Love radiates into His spiritual universe. He creates by emanating Himself. This emanation of God, extending Himself is called “The Son of God.” Everything God creates is just like Him, spirit, Love, Truth, Knowledge, eternal. God does not know any other qualities, like vengeance, punishment, forgiveness. Were He to know them it would make them real and eternal and this could never be. This Heaven is total Oneness. There is no place the Father stops and the Son begins. The continuous creation that the Father and Son do by extending themselves is the flow of Love. There are no individuals in Heaven. There is no consciousness. There is only the one Song of Love, unconscious of itself as a Song, singing only Love, and this is the Flow.

Next the Course tells us in this myth that something seemed to happen in eternity that is impossible. Into quiet eternity where all is One, there crept into the Mind of the Son, a tiny mad idea that He could somehow be different from His Father. Since this is an impossibility the Son should have laughed at the thought and it would have vanished. Instead the Son took the idea seriously. Since the idea was impossible, when the Son took it seriously His Mind fell into a little dream. In the dream His Christ Mind seemed to split off from the Oneness of Heaven and observe the Whole of Oneness. What a silly dream that anything could stand outside of Oneness and observe it. As soon as The Son fell into His dream of separation His Mind seemed to split off into a separate mind. None of this could ever truly happen. In this state of an “observer” the Son is now conscious for the first time and since this is a dream CONSCIOUSNESS is the dream. CONSCIOUSNESS is a dream. In that state the split off Son hears two voices come into his split off mind. One of them says, “This is not happening. You are as God created you. This is a dream. You can wake up now.” This voice is the truth that came with the Son into His dream. The Course calls this voice, “The Holy Spirit.” The other voice that comes to the Son’s split off, dreaming mind, says, “You have really done it this time. You have diminished Heaven. God gave you everything and you spit in His face and left Heaven. You have stolen from God. Do you think He is going to let you get away with that? He is going to hunt you down like the dog that you are and He is going to annihilate you. You have ‘sinned and the wages of sin is death.'” This voice, the Course calls, “The Ego.”

Now for some reason we don’t know, the Son chose to believe the voice of the ego and as he believes it, he believes himself to be guilty, sinful and afraid. The ego’s trinity, sin, guilt and fear, has now been accepted by the Son and he now sees himself to be those. Then the ego tells the Son, “don’t listen to that other voice (The Holy Spirit). He is God’s general who has been dispatched to bring you back for punishment. The ego tells him, “you had better hide from God real well because He will get you.” This is all a dream and the Son now makes his dream even more of a nightmare. He projects himself into a physical universe (Big Bang) which he dreamed up as a hiding place from God. But as he enters this universe he splits into zillions and zillions of pieces, gas, light, matter, galaxies, planets, life-forms, animals and (wait for it) human bodies. Each split off piece contains the whole within it like a hologram. The body was made as an attack on God, someplace where God could never find the deranged, insane son who thinks himself to be sinful, guilty, and terrified. Now this is where we find ourselves today, in a universe which is not real, in a body that is not real. But some pieces of the son have begun listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. We are beginning to wake up! We are beginning to intuit Oneness in a spiritual universe. This fake, physical universe and world cannot be real, or God is not. God does not even know about this world. If He knew it, it would have to be real and that it never could be. God does not know dreams. While the separated pieces of the son, or sonship, are hiding in bodies, the Holy Spirit is getting through to some. We begin to forgive our brothers and as we do, a little more memory of our true nature of spirit returns to us. The Holy Spirit will eventually bring together all the pieces of the splintered sonship. On our way back to our One Self, we forgive the world and we begin to see reflections of Heaven within it. We are waking from the dream. Our job in the dream is to be a light by offering forgiveness to our brothers. Jesus was the first to totally awaken from the dream and He has been placed in charge of the atonement. His voice and the Holy Spirit’s are One. Jesus did not die on the cross for our “sins.” Jesus died as a teaching lesson to show that the son of God cannot die, cannot be harmed, cannot be changed. The son of God is not a body!

When all the pieces of the sonship have been brought back together, God Himself will make the final move and lift us back into Heaven from which we have never in truth left. Now is the Father and Son in their universe of Oneness. Now is the flow of Love extended. Now is the One Song of Love heard throughout our true Home.

Now this is a myth and is intended to replace the crazy Genesis myth. It is intended to help you hear the Holy Spirit’s call to you now! His call will guide you and me back to the Oneness we are and ever must be.
Namaste my brothers.♥♥♥♥♥

Past Lives and Singing Opera

As my friends know, I am a practitioner of the spiritual system known as A Course In Miracles. What does it have to say about reincarnation and past lives? In the strict sense, since THIS life in the body is considered an illusion, why talk about other illusory lives? The Course doesn’t want us to be distracted by getting trapped In the illusory past. But, having said that, the Course is not really telling us to ignore the memory of a past life. It just wants us to remember that our path of atonement is NOW. It is NOW that we are learning or not learning the lessons we need to learn. Many of the top leaders in ACIM privately advise me that the Course hints at reincarnation in one sense because it says that trials are but lessons we failed to learn before and have been presented again for us to “choose again.” That certainly implies we have had more than one illusory life in which we have been presented with lessons we need to learn.

If you have read my book on Amazon called Good Dreams () you will know that I became an opera singer by a great gift of voice. I did not study long and hard in conservatory to develop a voice like most singers. I heard an internal voice tell me that I should leave seminary and go on the stage. Shortly thereafter I opened my mouth to see if I could sing and this voice came out of me which won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and propelled me into an operatic career. It was a miracle! Now the easy way to read this from the new age point of view would be to say that I had been an opera singer in other lifetimes and the talent just came back to me in this lifetime. I certainly do not remember all of my past illusory lifetimes, so I cannot positively rule out that theory, but I have other information that casts a different light on things.

In New York I studied with a famous psychic and asked her if she would do past life readings for me. She said, “No. The lives you need to know about are going to come back to you later.” Her answer seemed to have the ring of truth to it, so I did not go in for the craze of hypnotic regression therapy to try to retrieve past lives. Anyway, I got too busy with a stage career to think about it. But about two years ago or so I was watching a movie on TV when my mind took me back to another time and place. It was not like a normal memory but was instead like a holographic replay. I saw and I was there experiencing at the same time. I have no real words to explain it except to say that it felt like reports of Near Death Experiences in which one reviews his whole life as a holographic experience. I suddenly saw and found myself in Frankfurt Germany around November 1938. I was a young Jewish shop keeper who sold books and records in a little store on Judenstrasse, Frankfurt Germany. I sold mostly books on Judaica but also esoteric books on Kabala and mysticism. On an early gramophone I played recordings of great opera singers and great cantors. I loved listening to the great singers of my day and the sounds would waft out into Judenstrasse and bring people into the shop. I was in my early 30’s, an orthodox Jew, and unmarried. It was a happy life at first. But then I remembered and relived November 9, 1938, the night that came to be known as Kristallnacht. The Brown Shirts came into my store. They grabbed the books and began throwing them out into the street. They broke my window and carried the gramophone out and all my records. They set fire to them in the streets. One of them hit me in the face and knocked me to the floor. Two others grabbed me by the arms and carried me through the streets to the city jail, along with hundreds of other Jews. We were kept there for at least a week in terrible conditions. I remembered and relived the panic that we all experienced in that jail, that we were all going to die there. But then, they came to take us out of jail and marched us to the railroad depot. There we were herded into cattle cars as tightly packed so that there was no air. We staggered and fell into each other as the train lurched along. After what seemed like many hours, the train stopped and the cars were opened. Only then did I notice that we were all men. The first thing I noticed was a large sign that read “Jedem das seine,” which translates loosely as “to each his own.” The words, “Arbeit macht frei” (“work makes you free”) were not used. I asked one of the Brown Shirts where we were and he said, “Das ist Buchenwald,” (“This is Buchenwald”). We were herded into dormitories which looked like old warehouses filled with dilapidated bunk beds. There were no women or children then. They came later. Buchenwald was a work camp. Nobody was gassed there. We were worked to death. Some men, women and children were used for medical experiments. I remembered and re-experienced all this in this kind of holographic presentation I was experiencing as I sat here at my computer with a movie showing on my TV. I don’t even remember what the movie was. My memories of the camp life speeded up and I re-experienced my health failure there. It was as though I could not breathe in that dirty dormitory. It stank of men’s body odor and had no outside ventilation. We were worked like animals. There were thousands of us there. Later I learned that after Kristallnacht 10,000 Jews were sent to Buchenwald. I was one of them. I cannot remember my name but I remember what I looked like. I was tall, about six feet, slender, with an early receding hairline, and of fairer complexion than many of my Ashkenazi friends. Why can’t I remember my name? Later women and children were brought. The children were separated and were used in medical experiments. The women lived in a separate dormitory from us but they worked alongside us. I remember working in a stone quarry. Others worked in munitions and equipment. My memory continued to my death caused by Congestive Heart and pulmonary failure. What I re-experienced next was the most remarkable of all. I remembered dying in that dormitory, leaving my body and floating up into the air. There were “presences” with us, angels who took us up into a very bright place. The difference between our lives in Buchenwald and that Light place was the amazing thing. This Light loved us and the angels acted like doctors, caring for us, remaking us as though we were in a hospital of sorts. This area of Light, which I would later learn to call a “bardo,” an interim Light space where people go right after death, was so peaceful and loving, we wept for joy. We still had a Light body of sorts which the angels were working on and so I say we “wept for joy” because I don’t know any other way of explaining it. As the angels cared for us, suddenly the light became much brighter and the angels came to a sort of “attention” in respect for the One who was coming. Then suddenly we saw HIM! Yeshua came to us! We were all Jews and we had denied him all our lives and called him names. He came to us to heal us. We wept harder in sadness and in joy. We saw Him then as our Moschiach whom we had denied. He cared for us so lovingly. He loved us. He stroked and patted us with loving tenderness as we wept. As I re-experienced this, my eyes filled with tears here in my apartment, such wonderful tears of remembrance of Him. Yeshua Ha Moschiach had come to us to heal us, to care for us. We knew Him then as our Moschiach (our Messiah). He was so grand! His appearance was so radiant and loving, beyond anything we had ever experienced. We wept at His feet!! He held no ill feelings towards us. He came to us out of His loving kindness. We were all given a choice. We could go on up into the Light, into higher areas or we could come back to earth as another person of our choice. Many of us chose to reincarnate again immediately. Most of us asked to be born into Christian homes. I asked Yeshua but one thing. Could I be enabled to sing like the great singers I listened to in my shop! He smiled and nodded. Then I was born as Joseph Shore into a good Baptist family, living in the country side of Missouri. But I carried the marks of my death into this life. I was born with heart and lung disease. I was an eager student in Sunday school and went to university to become a Christian theologian. For some curious reason I always loved studying the Old Testament. I went to seminary to get my master’s and doctorate in theology but found myself ill at ease there, as though I didn’t belong. I listened to great singers in my dormitory with my classmate who was an opera buff. As I listened to those great singers, they touched something in me very deep, something I couldn’t name at the time. I started listening to opera as I studied theology. Then one evening I heard a very familiar, loving voice say to me, “Your characters can be your sermons. The theatre call be your church. The audience can be your congregation. Now go put feet to your faith.” At a deep level I trusted this old, familiar voice. But my social self as a Baptist thought that hearing voices was crazy! Maybe Pentecostals hear voices but not us Baptists!!! So I struggled on in seminary another semester before I gave in to the internal voice. I left seminary, got a job, and when I was not working I was listening to opera. One day I opened my mouth to see if I could make a sound like the singers on the records and out came this operatic voice that I would have the rest of my life. My book, Good Dreams, tells the story of my career and my re-awakening to love. All through my career I heard this loving, familiar voice, direct me in all things.

The holographic memory stopped and I sat here at my desk in my Vancouver apartment trying to understand and make sense out of what I had just remembered and re-experienced. I told the story to several of my friends, some of whom were high teachers of ACIM, and they all encouraged me to just accept the memory I was given. It certainly made a lot of pieces in my puzzle come together. Jesus has been the dominant figure in my life. I know His voice! A lot of my friends in this life were Jews. My first wife was a Jew and I loved leading Seder at Passover and sitting at the head of the table for holidays. I loved going to Shul (synagogue)!! But I loved Yeshua the most. I love Him so! I still hear His voice speaking to me and I look forward to that time when I can see Him again. Until then I will continue to sing and teach others to sing and listen to great singing.

So you see, the easy explanation for my gift of singing as being the fruit of many incarnations as a great opera singer, was not correct! The real story is very different and much grander! I know that THIS lifetime is where I must do my lessons now, and I gladly do them, with gratefulness for the One who came to me in that Bardo and healed me, and sent me here to sing, as I asked. Blessed are you Yeshua Ha Moschiach. You are the Light and Love of the world, along, as you would say, with all of us, your brothers.

Amen!

The Course is Clear!

So by now, my dear ones, it should be clear that A Course in Miracles is clear in what it says. Only Love is and it is all encompassing. It has no opposite. Whatever seems to be an opposite is an illusion that we are making. God did not cause that plane crash so it is not real. God did not cause that forest fire so it is not real. After a while you would see that the only real thing in this world is Love, wherever you experience it. Our path home, back to Oneness, takes us through forgiveness of our brothers and sisters. Whatever you thought they did to you in this world, did not happen in reality, only in illusions. When finally you have forgiven the world, you will see a new vision of beauty, of Oneness so close to heaven’s gate, the step can be taken by a toddler. We are going home, into the flow of Love which is all that is real.

Stay in the Flow

It is essential now that we stay in the flow. As we do, we breathe in more fully our own One identity. Sometimes the flow feels like music. Sometimes it feels like beauty. Sometimes it has texture. Sometimes it is overwhelming but holds you securely within it. The flow is so much more than what we knew in this little ego life. Sometimes the flow feels like the ultimate lover. In this mode I call the flow, “The Beloved.” The flow is God’s creative Love. There is nothing real except the flow. The flow extends in stillness. God created stillness and said to his creation: “Let this be our place. Our Light will shine in this stillness. Our Song is all that will be heard. The flow will extend forever.”

We Must Stay in the Flow

We must stay in the flow, dear ones. There is no time now for indulgences; The time for “learning” is over. We must know ourselves and stay in the flow. At the center of every part of the sonship—flowers, rocks, trees, human beings—is the flow. That is the only part of you that is real, and even it is not a thing or substance. It is the flow of love. Now we must know the flow and stay in the flow!

What is the Christ? Do you want to know what is the Christ? You had better want to know! What is the Christ? It is that part of you that is real, that God made and you cannot change. It is the flow! The time for learning is over. Whatever indulgence takes you away from the flow must be discarded. It doesn’t matter if it is pork, sex or booze. If it is taking you out of the flow you must discard it now. There is urgency in this Now. We are collapsing time now as we leave behind all illusions and associate ourselves with the flow. We all see now that we must move somewhere, some say in “consciousness.” But consciousness is the observer and an illusion. It is impossible for some part of the flow to break off and observe it because the flow is whole. It is all there is. The flow is the whole extending itself. So what are we moving towards? THE FLOW! We are moving through consciousness, through awareness into the flow! We are leaving behind the silly little dream of being a single, solitary ego housed in a bag of skin. The beauty of the flow is ours. The immensity of the flow is ours. The vastness of the flow is ours. The wholiness of the flow is ours. The gentle beauty and grace of the flow is ours. And dear ones, if we call the flow “The Beloved,” then the Beloved and all things are One. In this condition of One-ness we will not project the opposite. We will cease the endless folly of first projecting problems and then solve them. We will not react when fearful people cling to the ego and resist knowing the flow. We have come this close to the Christ within that we will now say “Resist not evil but overcome evil with Good.” What is this GOOD? This GOOD is beyond the duality of good and evil. This GOOD is that which has no opposite! This GOOD is the flow! It is all-encompassing LOVE.

So now then, dear ones, do you know yourself? Have you answered the question which brought you here through countless incarnations? Do you know what is the Christ? Look ever so deeply in yourself, past ego, superego and Id; past the subconscious, the unconscious, the collective unconscious, past every illusion you have clung to so desperately, and in your Truth spot you will know the Christ, not as a person but as THE FLOW. In the flow is everything made plain. In the flow is relief from all you have suffered. In the flow there is God, the One who is all of you and you a part of Him. In the flow does time collapse into stillness! The One rejoices. God created stillness and said to his creation: “Let this be our place. Our Light will shine in this stillness. Our Song is all that will be heard.” Our Light will indeed continue to shine with God forever as we extend His love more and more in His spiritual universe. The fake physical universe we created has disappeared. We have approached Heaven’s gate, all our work complete. Now, do the gates open and the One Song of Love the Son sings to His Father rings through a spiritual universe. We have returned to where we never left. We travelled but in dreams while safely at Home.

As we move into the flow, we will forget the earth, even as we bless it for making such a lovely school for us, and remember heaven. The knowledge of it will come back like an old song you learned so long ago.

“Listen, and try to think if you remember what we will speak of now.

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

“The notes are nothing. Yet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you. You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen, and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and held more dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.

“Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not.

“This is the vision of the Son of God, whom you know well. Here is the sight of him who knows his Father. Here is the memory of what you are; a part of this, with all of it within, and joined to all as surely as all is joined in you. Accept the vision that can show you this, and not the body. You know the ancient song, and know it well. Nothing will ever be as dear to you as is this ancient hymn the Son of God sings to his Father still.

And now the blind can see, for that same song they sing in honour of their Creator gives praise to them as well. The blindness that they made will not withstand the memory of this song. And they will look upon the vision of the Son of God, remembering who he is they sing of. What is a miracle but this remembering? And who is there in whom this memory lies not? The light in one awakens it in all. And when you see it in your brother, you are remembering for everyone.” (ACIM T.24.I)

III. CHANNELED MESSAGES

In truth all of the aphorisms and most of the stories in this book were channeled but these messages came first. The Voice comes from the Truth which is hiding in me. I call that Voice Jesus. This Truth is hiding in every form.

“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.”

*

“I know you love me Joe. I know everything about you. I knew you before you were born. I know you when you sit down and when you rise up. You have never disappointed me. To me you are the perfect brother because you are just as God made you. Who could change you or what terrible thing could you do that would hurt God’s finest creation? All of His creations are His finest because we are all One in that Light which creates us. I thank you Joe for giving me your love and respect. I will never fail to guide you because I know no blemish, no shadow. My Father and I are One and you with us. Let this settle your mind. In perfect Oneness are we. In perfect heaven is our home. In perfect brotherhood is God’s love made manifest. Remember this heaven and forget your world. Nothing has happened to change God’s perfection and in that perfection we are One. Thank you Joe. “

*

“In perfect wholeness do you exist and yet your mind is fragmented, or so you think, for this is not really happening. Your body is not sick because it is not real. God did not make your sickness and therefore it does not exist. The ego created your body as a false temple for itself and it demands that you take its point of view seriously. It screams at you to believe in sin, guilt and death. The sickness of the body is its last gasp effort to make you believe in the body. You have done well to disbelieve. You asked us why you were permitted to live after the event you call your ‘last heart surgery.’ You were permitted to live because you have not quite learned your lessons yet. You are on the verge of being a happy learner but this has not come easy for you. You still believe you are a body or you would not be here now. And in truth you are not here now for this is your dream. How easily you could have awakened. The ego was terrified that you would. You remember the terror you felt going into the operating room. It amazed you. You didn’t know such terror lived in you. That was the terror of the ego which indeed fears death as its own extinction. You believed its terror and you awoke from surgery a sick man with a body demanding attention, shouting to the world its reality. Since then you have learned many lessons. You believe less in the body while tolerating the symptoms it constantly gives you. You have experienced yourself in the Mind of God. Choose my brother, the ego or God, for you know that you cannot have both.”

“Peace comes to those who still the mind and wait. Be still and know that I am God. Stillness is hard for you. Your mind races and by yourself you cannot still the mind. That is the meaning behind the Zen proverb ‘If you work on your mind with your mind how will you avoid an immense confusion?’ And yet I can still your mind as you wait upon me. These moments of clarity have come to you often as gifts in the presence of nature. I use nature to still your mind. Your inane sense of time stops and you become aware of all there is, flooding in upon you with gentleness and wonder. You would like for these moments to be expanded into clear waking consciousness. Be grateful instead for these moments. How long could the body exist in the Presence of God? Moments will have to do while you are in the body. Do you think it was just an accident that my ministry lasted only three years? My body could not continue to exist longer while I stayed in perfect oneness with the Father. The day is coming and is almost when the veils between the levels will be lifted and all sentient beings will be able to be aware of each other. This is the new heaven and earth the Bible speaks of. Ready yourself for it with gratitude for these moments of stillness and oneness that come to you as gifts from Spirit. Selah.”

“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.”

This one alone is a prayer and the voice is mine.

“Precious silence reigns while outside the snowflakes fall, adorning tall pines, rooftops and children’s heads. How I love Thee Father of Lights. The world which we made to condemn, I can hardly see. It is you that I see in the beauty. Your Light shines around every branch and glistens from every snowflake. You are in everything that I see because you are in me. Today this silence will enter me and I will allow it to change me. Father my brothers and sisters have climbed so long on Jacob’s ladder. So long have we slept, but now are dreaming the happy dream of awakening and returning into you. Bless this silence Father and send it to my brothers.”

Waiting for Spirit is like the best part of summer.

“The wait is satisfying and gentle like a cool breeze on a summer’s night. Waiting has never come easy for you Joe. Over the years you have learned enough to come to this place. It is as easy as sitting on the river bank with Grandpa Ritchie, with a quiet mind as the water flowed by, the tall grass and the cool shade of the tree, with just a nibble on your line and a sunfish on the other end. Those days brought you here to us and to the calling you have known for so long yet just recently recognized. What a good boy you were, not wanting to hurt the feelings of your religious family. They could not understand Joe-Boy, could they? They could not understand how you knew things and saw visions and yet you learned from the best in them and the worst in them. The worst has left some scars but they make no difference. The wisdom stays as pretty as your grandmother’s flowers. The world of Spirit loves you Joe. We are all here for you. We watch you daily as you struggle to learn as quietude comes over you and settles upon you. You often thought of living in a monastery but the world is the only place for you. You were my student Joe. You have always been my student. And didn’t I tell you to go into all the world and say good news? You were with me then. I know you remember. Lives have come and gone. Many guises have you worn in the world but you have always been my student. It is my love for my students which you now extend to yours, and so your memory of me deepens and comes closer to fullness. I love you Joe. I have always loved you.

Settle into the quiet. Spirit will flow. Messages will come. Lives will be healed and the land made fresh again. The songs you sing are all of me. I am the song that will not leave your heart. Love is Present Joe and we are One. “

AMEN

Dear Ones, I want to share the magic sight of the Beloved with you. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

I went to my holy place tonight. Two hours before sunset I went to the water fowl sanctuary at Burnaby Lake, a place that I have often written about in my blogs. This wonderful marsh is capable of bringing my mind to astonishment and peace. I am struggling for words to describe what I experienced tonight. As I entered the marsh lands I visited the gardens at the nature house, this garden that I know through the seasons. The Spring garden has now grown into a Summer garden with tall wild flowers of indigo, yellow, and red colors. The Honeysuckle still perfumes the garden. Bees, slugs, and hummingbirds do their work. The garden is alive and the presence of the Beloved is in all things, and enters me. As I am filled with the garden, my thoughts slow down, my mind stills, and tears come to my eyes for it is the Beloved that I see. The blackberries are thick on the vines, though they are not ripe yet. Marsh wrens and redwing blackbirds sit in the trees by the garden and give their little cries. As I go to the waterfowl sanctuary there is a fever of life going on. Mallards, wood ducks, tiels, pied-billed griebes, long-billed dowitchers, belted kingfishers, swim in circles, fish for food, nibble at grain thrown by children, young and old. The marsh is now thick with lily pads and the beautiful white lilies are still adorning the area. There is a rush of life. The full moon has energized the entire marsh. Ducks take off in flight from the water, their bell-beat of their wings sings the Melos of all things. They fly in circles, half a kilometer in diameter and then land back in the marsh in perfect precision. They are flying for fun!! They are drunk with the power of the full moon! The griebes, the dowitchers, the marsh wrens, the swallows are all drunk. The twilight comes, and the sleep drunk beavers reluctantly leave their lodges and glide through the lilies. There is but One here in this paradise. The BELOVED is showing herself in all the myriad forms of life, flowers, bees, birds, ducks, geese, kingfishers, so elegant they bring tears to my eyes and take my breath away. The baby ducklings I observed as hatchlings in the Spring have survived the eagles and crows and now swim with their mothers as beautiful young Mallards. Tiels, now unmated, swim in elegance among the wood ducks, and just when my heart can take no more, the Beloved shows me a tree in the distance and the most prized of sights in the marsh, the Blue Heron has come to show himself in elegance, splendor and beauty which takes the breath away and breaks my silence with tongues of angels coming out of my mouth, joining the sounds of the marsh. I AM THE BELOVED. I am not particular. I am part of this marsh and it a part of me. The twilight comes and empties its peace into the magic already on display. Peace and grandeur now mate in this place of wonder which is my heart as well. Tears cannot be stopped now, nor my tongues of angels. Fish come to the surface just to see me and I greet them with peace. The ducks and geese know me by heart, sight, and smell, for I am part of them. Oh, the Beloved, the Beloved, Thou who manifests all things for my heart. I and Thou are One and Oneness is all that inhabits this holy place. Consciousness is but a silly thing. This wondrous Oneness flows, uninhibited by consciousness. The flow is all there is, shaped as ducks, birds, flowers and me; there is nothing but the flow and this flow knows only a love that is so deep and impersonal that it obeys the moon and my heart. What need is there for words when there is the One, the Beloved. And in the top branch of the tallest true tree, the crowning joy and wonder of the marsh itself, the Blue Heron. Time has stopped but my heart is full and overflowing. In this place I am not a body. I am the Beloved. Wondrous Beauty and Timelessness have mated to form ME. I am the Beloved. I wait in this wonder until twilight has passed and the sun has set. Life is still full in the marsh. Ducks who would normally be in their beds, their bills tucked under their wings are still at play, scuffling with one another in a virtual frenzy of love’s presence. This is That!!! Love’s Presence has manifested as a marsh and as me. In the distance, an eagle flies across the lake to her nest in a far tree; a coyote sings its dour song and I know time has come for me to reluctantly leave this paradise for the night. Black Bears will be coming out soon, along with the minks and muskrats. The Beloved is such a shape shifter but Love is her only name and Oneness her garment. I have stilled the mind through tears of love for the Beloved, seen her naked in the twilight, her beautiful form more lovely than any woman I have known. No breasts are this lovely. No thighs this shapely; no legs this elegant. No thought of union this deep has entered the carnal mind. The Beloved and I are One and I am changed for it. The darkness has to pull me away from the marsh. I do not want to leave. How can I leave? How can I leave? I have seen through the Veil. I have seen that which we all seek for! I am that which we all wish to be! I am no longer a man, but the Beloved who gifts me with manhood and shows me my greatness in a beauty which cannot be spoken for it has no name. In tears I unlock the car door and so reluctantly become particular again. But it is all a ruse. I sit in top of a tree in the form of a Blue Heron. I pluck bits of grain as a long billed dowitcher, I nibble on lilies as a moon-struck beaver. I AM THAT I AM and there is nothing else. I AM THAT I AM. There is nothing else. There is nothing else. There is nothing else. My dear Ones, together with me in the Beloved, there is nothing else…but the FULL MOON in all its Glory!

*

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!

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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.”

*

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 eror 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.

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Raising A Child of God

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)
(Back to our present discussion)

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.

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Forgiven

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.

The Glory Cloud

The Glory cloud of God will fall on us. Be grateful that it will fall. Nothing in all your life has prepared you for anything like being under the Glory cloud of God. You will not be able to stand. The body cannot stand in the Glory of God. In the Glory cloud there is the weight of holiness and as much as our spirits belong there, the body does not! The body will groan, shout, and travail under the Glory cloud. But your spirit will never want to be any other place than in the Glory of God. We belong in the Glory cloud of God. We are the rays of His Glory. When the Glory cloud falls the spirit remembers its true home. We know then that we are not a body, but a spirit and a part of the Great Spirit of God. The holiness we feel under the Glory cloud is our holiness as well. But the body can only groan or bark like dogs. In the Glory cloud we speak the language of the Spirit. No human language can work in the Glory cloud.

Pray for the Glory of God to fall, as we awaken to Self, One with God. In the Glory cloud will all our lessons be reviewed. In the Glory cloud will we climb up the ladder. In the Glory cloud will we see Jesus. In the Glory cloud we will know our Home. Soon we will be done with the troubles of the world. Soon we will just be what we are. We are the Glory cloud of God

The Terror of Love

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).

The book, 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

*

This is my present to the world today, “The Love of God.” This is the answer to everything you have been seeking, the answer to all your heartache and unfulfillment, The Love of God is here in your midst today. Angels stand before you trying to turn your gaze upwards even as you are mired in your earthly or hellish situation. No one is outside of the will of God because there IS nothing outside the will of God. God is Love and then we stop speaking. May closed hearts be opened today. May injured hearts be healed today. May past wounds be forgiven today. May the Love of God be in your mind today!! Today is June 23, 2012. May this be a beginning of a new day in your life as it is in mine!!!!!

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.

*

Miracles are our natural inheritance and when we receive them our natural urge is to release that vibration into the world. All minds are connected and no one is alone in experiencing his thoughts. Just so, the miracle in one mind affects the minds of everyone. “A Course in Miracles” is a book, but my life and yours is the space for “our” book of miracles to be written. I don’t want just to believe in a book. I want to experience the miracles God has to give to me daily. Each miracle is a page in my book, which is yours also. The Love of God. The Love of God is all there is. These social identities we have made, our egos, are illusions. They are not eternal. When the Love of God comes upon you, you will laugh at the little self you thought was you, and also appreciate it for all the lessons it gave you. You can just let the Love of God wash over it now. You can forgive the world all the terrible things you held against it. You can forgive your brother all the mistakes you held against him. The Love of God has come. Your insane thoughts about the world cannot stand now. The Love of God has come to wipe away all illusions and give you a fresh new vision of a world so bright, so gleaming, that it reflects Heaven. And could heaven be far from this vision? Only a tiny step remains from this vision to the Gates of Heaven. Now do you hear the voices of angels sing the song that praises God and you along with Him, for you are a part of Him and share His holiness? The Love of God has come and brought you before angels, wiping away your mistaken view of the world. And would you not lift your brother up with you unto the Gates of Heaven? Share this vibration today with the world and with your brothers. The Love of God has come and asks for an eternal home in your heart and mine.

*

A stillness has come to me which is unlike anything I have experienced before. The Love of God has come into my mind to take up abode. I am not alone, nor lonely, nor do I ever feel bored. I am actively experiencing the Love of God in my mind. I need no TV. The thought of it is humorous. I need nothing. I eat my meals while looking happily out my window at the beautiful clouds and mountains. I walk to the grocery store, talk to the street beggars with a smile and love in my heart while I pull out the change in my pocket and give it to them. I come back home and look at the clouds and the mountains and am more than content. Songs play in my mind of peace and the love of God. I write on Facebook, email friends, and pet the cat. What more need there be? I am still inside and need no entertainment. I know that I am a part of God and share his holiness and glory. I am at the gates of heaven. This is a stillness which I have not had before. This is not the stillness from nature, as beautiful as that is. This is the Love of God which has taken up abode in my heart and I want for nothing more; not fame, nor riches, not wife, nor position. I have found peace and happiness within the Love of God. And I am not alone here in my mind. You are here too. We are all one Mind and we are almost home. We are the Glory of God.

The Glory of God is all I need.
The Glory of God is my Home.
The Glory of God is my peace.
The Glory of God removes all illusions;
None can stand in The Glory of God.
The Glory of God is all I want.
The Glory of God is all I seek.
The Glory of God is the will of my spirit.
The Glory of God is the answer to my deepest question:
“Who am I?”
I am the Glory of God,
As rays from the sun,
I am His Glory.
I am The Glory of God.

The Glory cloud of God will fall on us. Be grateful that it will fall. Nothing in all your life has prepared you for anything like being under the Glory cloud of God. You will not be able to stand. The body cannot stand in the Glory of God. In the Glory cloud there is the weight of holiness and as much as our spirits belong there, the body does not! The body will groan, shout, and travail under the Glory cloud. But your spirit will never want to be any other place than in the Glory of God. We belong in the Glory cloud of God. We are the rays of His Glory. When the Glory cloud falls the spirit remembers its true home. We know then that we are not a body, but a spirit and a part of the Great Spirit of God. The holiness we feel under the Glory cloud is our holiness as well. But the body can only groan or bark like dogs. In the Glory cloud we speak the language of the Spirit. No human language can work in the Glory cloud.

Pray for the Glory of God to fall, as we awaken to Self, One with God. In the Glory cloud will all our lessons be reviewed. In the Glory cloud will we climb up the ladder. In the Glory cloud will we see Jesus. In the Glory cloud we will know our Home. Soon we will be done with the troubles of the world. Soon we will just be what we are. We are the Glory cloud of God.

*

My newness is secure.

The changes in me by the Love of God will not vanish.

Today I found I had patience. The old me could never find patience.

I stood in line today at the dollar store, contented to wait.

There is a timelessness about this Love which imparts itself to me.

I waited in line and felt the people in front of me, their thoughts, their feelings.

As I came to the check out lady I could feel that she needed a lift.

She felt so low, so used, and so tired.

She just needed to feel that someone cared for her.

I gave her that. Her face lit with a smile. The Love of God is so easy to pass on to others.

The old me, sadly, would have been too self-centered to care about her.

I walked to the pizza shop. The man making pizzas was tired and low. I told him how good his pizzas were and how much better they were than the delivery pizzas. His spirit lifted. He smiled and made me a beautiful pizza.

Back in my car, my Cadillac that I enjoy so much, I drove to Deer Lake at sunset just to catch the vision of twilight on the waters. There is a timelessness to my days now. I know time is passing but I do not feel it. This Love that has captured me knows no time.

I see in my mind the many mistakes I have made in my life but they look now like kind partners in a learning endeavor. What I have learned from them has paved my way to this Loving place and I look on them only with gratefulness. There were some deep mistakes that I made. Temporarily they brought about separation, but they are blessed now. For those who hate me for them, I have confidence in the Love of God to work in their lives.

The Love of God is greater far, than tongue or pen can ever tell. It goes beyond the brightest star, and reaches to the lowest hell. The Love of God, how rich and pure; how measureless and strong. It shall forever more endure, the saints and angels’ sweet song.

*

Today, having heard the stories of my purported enlightenment,

All of my desires appeared, like the Farengi from Star Trek, cautiously creeping out into the Light.

“Master, the Light is so bright. Could you turn it down?”

“No,” I said, you will have to get used to it.”

“Master, we have some things to ask you…may we?

Master don’t you really need a new job?”

“No,” I replied

One by one they presented their entreaties:

“Don’t you really need then, a new degree, some new award from a prestigious institution?

Don’t you need a wife?

Don’t you need someone for companionship?

Don’t you need more friends?

Don’t you need more money?

Don’t you need a new car?

Don’t you need a nice new university appointment as Professor?

Don’t you need to sing again?

Don’t you need the Limelight again, Master? (Oh not that there is anything wrong with this Light Master, but Oh, it is so bright, isn’t it?)

Don’t you need to be young again, Master?

We have all come to offer you our services, at a fair and agreeable price, of course.

Can we do business, Master?”

I let them stew in their own juice a while as they twitched and grimaced, then I answered them:

“The Love of God is all I need and it is with me now and I am with it. Many of the things you have presented me would be very nice, but I don’t need them. I am content. You offer me things from the past, trinkets which seem to offer joy, but disappoint instead. I will just stay here in this Light, which you find so uncomfortable. You had better go now, for Farengi cannot exist long in this Light. The Light will dissolve you.”

Nervous and gasping, twitching and whelping, they ran back for cover into the darkness from which they came. But I had to bless them. They had brought to me all the desires of my past and could not understand why I did not need them now. As they crept back into the darkness, I called out to them:

“The Glory of God is all I want.

“The Glory of God is all I need.

“I AM the Glory of God.”

I imagine this little conversation with my desires will happen quite often. No matter. The Love of God has come and brought timelessness with it.

I eat my food and pass my water. I pet the cat and watch the clouds, gather in the twilight and welcome the night.

I teach my students and just stay in this Love which I never, ever, want to leave. It is my Home. It is my Highest Self. I am where I belong, and I am far from alone. You are here with me, and you, and you, and you, and you. “We are all here, Father. The Mind which you created as One has come Home to you. And you know we never really left. We traveled only in dreams while safely in your embrace. Our Love, Our Light will shine forever with You. And the Love you have for your Son is returned back to you as pure as it was when you created Him. Our song, in praise to You, is all that will be heard.”

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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 other’s 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.

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What Would You Give For Inner Peace?

What would you give for inner peace? Would it be worth something to you? Would you know how to value it? What is inner peace? Do you even know? Where would you look for it? Would you recognize it? These are all very important questions unless one just wants to wallow. The true problem of man that keeps inner peace away from him is his unwillingness to change. Things may get so bad that you think you can agree that change needs to happen, so you will go to a guru and start a new program and pay lots of money for it. But if the guru asks you to define the change you want, you will probably be unable to tell him. You don’t know. So a couple starts out with some good intentions by going to a guru for change. They may even see him for some time, but somewhere along the way the unwillingness enters in and no change take place. They become disillusioned and fall back into their old conditioning, pleading their helplessness. Their thoughts are meaningless. Meaningless thoughts create a meaningless world and a meaningless world engenders fear. Now we can use the “God” word and say as does ACIM that God did not create a meaningless world. But that will still leave us a long way from finding inner peace. So the first thing we must do to come together for a sharing of A Course in Miracles, is to commit to moving past unwillingness. We must admit that there may be truths we don’t know. There may be lies we have believed which condition us and disallow inner peace. We would have to start there. The Course would then take us by the hand and help us to question our conditioning, our belief system. We would have to be sufficiently interested to know if there is anything worthwhile in our beliefs, especially the beliefs which we have about ourselves! The Course says that I am as God created me. Do you know yourself as God created you, apart from some belief you learned in catechism or Sunday school? You will have to find out if you are interested in finding inner peace. No teacher can tell you. No university can give you that information. No parent can tell you. You will have to look honestly inside and examine your conditioning. It may be that not many people are interested in that. It could be that the majority of people are just content to keep their anxiety, or go to a bar, have some drinks and sink down to a subhuman level where one can ignore everything of concern. But then you sober up the next morning and have to go to work and you are faced again with a boring life of routines and meaningless endeavors. The Course says that your tolerance for pain is not endless. Sometime you are going to have to break down and look up. You are going to have to find a way out of the inner pain you live with. A sharing of A Course in Miracles is a good way to start. Listen respectfully to what the Course says. Give it the respect due to a proper search for your true meaning. Then, if you don’t feel it is your path, nobody is going to force you to continue. That is the level many of us are comfortable with: “You can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do!” You are absolutely right, but there is a limit to your tolerance for pain and meaninglessness. Many people have longed for death as the great ending of pain. The only problem is that nothing changes at death. You just drop the body. You are left as a mind full of pain and confusion. No one can kill you and end your pain! So the Course comes into this meaningless world and helps you to look at the beliefs that undergird your meaningless life. It starts out very simply with one lesson a day which will begin a process of self-examination. You don’t have to understand the lesson. You won’t be able to. You just do it and it will do the work for you in the beginning. After a while you would come to a more basic level of discrimination in thought and you would see that there are two levels involved, perception, based on beliefs, and Knowledge found in God’s World. There is God’s spiritual universe which is governed by Truth and Universal Laws that are unchangeable and there is the level of man’s thought which we call the “world.” That level only knows opinions, not facts. It knows perception, not Truth. The level of thought we call the world would be as a dream state or nightmare compared to God’s universe of Truth. Somehow you need to get to God’s level. You need to find out that you are as God created you. In order to find that, you need a miracle in your change of perception. It is, after all, A Course in Miracles. A miracle is a sudden pause in your ordinary line of thought. Your thoughts have been created by your beliefs and they meander through your mind with meaninglessness. But the Miracles, which the Course says are directed by Jesus, introduce you to a “pause,” a “gap” in that flow. In that pause there is newness, a sparkling stillness which contains the possibility to see things differently than you did before. As you are introduced to these miracle pauses you would soon see that your mind is really a battleground. There is a voice in your head that you usually listen to. It speaks about all your conditioning and would talk about your limitations as a body, your lack. But there is another softer voice that you have ignored so long you can just barely hear it, and it speaks for you as God created you. The Course calls it the Holy Spirit or the Voice of Jesus. In the pause provided by the miracle, you have the opportunity to agree with the Holy Spirit’s assessment of your situation. So the Course is all about giving you choices you overlooked before. It doesn’t force you to do a thing! It doesn’t have clergymen to bang on your door. It doesn’t have preachers to manipulate you for your money. It just gives you the Thoughts of God! The Course contains the Thoughts of God! It just gives you eternal, unchanging Truth for you to hold up in front of your beliefs. When you see that, you will get some grasp of who you are, how important you are to God! The Course calls you the “son of God.” And you always thought that you were a lowly worm not worthy to take the scraps from the table of God! How much change in thought you will have to undergo! You will see how Holy you are because you share God’s Holiness. It has nothing to do with religiosity, how much makeup you wear or whether you go to the movies! It is about the unchangeable nature of who you are in truth, not what your parents or teachers or friends told you. Religious people are always afraid to look inside themselves fearing they will see monsters, just as Calvin described man as being totally depraved at the center of his being! It is a lie! You are as God created you and nothing can change you because your nature is based on God’s Holiness. His son must be like Him in truth. Do you see apples growing on thorn bushes, or peaches on potato vines? God’s creations are like Him; Spirit, not flesh, possessing all the qualities of God Himself. What could you do to destroy that? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! This will come as a big surprise to you who think you are a sinner, a lowly worm. You would have to find out about this, and A Course in Miracles takes you gently by the hand and ever so kindly introduces you to the nature of God which you share!

We invite you to find the willingness to share A Course In Miracles and take a big step towards finding inner peace. If someone gave you a Rembrandt painting worth millions of dollars, you would proudly display it in your home. You would bring friends over to admire it. You would reverence it as a treasure. How is it that you cannot find that reverence for the Eternal Self that God created as you?

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Thought never touches on truth. Stillness of the mind is required to move past your unreal thoughts into truth. The truth of who you are is in that stillness.. Then you will see that you can in fact have REAL thoughts which you share with God. Those thoughts are of extending Love. Only those thoughts can you share with God, and sharing God’s thoughts will awaken you. That is a fact. It’s not an opinion. It is an eternal truth. We will awaken from the dream of meaningless thought engendering a meaningless world.

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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?

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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 there.” “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.”

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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.

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Who is a healer but one who has joined with other minds in wholeness. He looks upon the world as forgiven and sees it as it does not see itself. He has awakened yet lives in the world. What would he do to heal it? He would not look for modalities to heal, however advanced they might seem. Were he to do so, he would have to look upon the world as a terrible place where the sick and wounded come to die. He would look upon illusion and make it real so he might heal it. Can a healed healer know such madness? The healed healer need do nothing but stand in his wholeness before a world that believes in sickness and death. His healed mind affects the whole Sonship, for he is not alone in experiencing his wholeness. Then would his wholeness spark awakening in others with whom he would join in mind. Can the mad illusion of separation stand in such a holy place where minds have joined? What need can there be of healing when the healer has come?

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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. 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.”

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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 One-ness with all things, even a grain of sand on the beach.

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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.

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It’s a wonderful life

It is the Christmas season again and we are all watching the movies that touch us this time of year. Every year millions of people watch George Capra’s Christmas masterpiece, it’s a Wonderful Life, with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore. Every year George Bailey finds out the hard way that he has a wonderful life. We seem him grow up with big dreams to travel the world and see far off places, to become an architect and design new buildings. George is full of great dreams that mean so much to him. Every year we see him as he has to give up those dreams to help other people in his job at the tiny Savings and Loan. Every year we see him fight against Potter to keep the city decent.

Right now we could change the names and circumstances and see millions of people in this same picture. It is only a fortunate few that get to see their dreams come true. Like George Bailey, millions of people see their dreams dissolve as they have to carry some burden or perform some service they never before considered. But this is not why we like this movie.

George marries everybody’s sweet heart from that era, Donna Reed, has a gaggle of kids and a loving family life. But that is not why we love the movie. Through no fault of his own, $8,000 of the Building and Loan gets misplaced. The bank examiner catches the error and George is faced with bankruptcy and prison. He thinks his family would be better off without him and is intending to jump off a bridge when his guardian angel saves him. He tells Clarence, his guardian angel that the world would be better had he never been born. Clarence grants him his wish and shows him a world where he never existed. The changes he sees startle and confuse him. Clarence tells him, “You see George; you really had a wonderful life. One man’s life affects so many others.” George goes home to face the sheriff and has a miracle of new perception. All of a sudden his wife Mary means the world to him, as do his children and his life in Bedford Falls. His friends come from all over town to contribute money to make up for the missing $8,000. Even the bank examiner chips in. Clarence reminds him that no man is a failure who has friends.

Why do we like this movie so much we see it every year? We can all identify with George so deeply. We too have had dreams that we have seen crushed. We too have felt at some point that our life is a failure. What we have NOT had is the dénouement! We haven’t gotten to see our lives from Love’s perspective. We haven’t received a “life review” in the company of Beings of Light. Why do you think interest in near death experiences has grown by leaps and bounds in the past forty years? People want to see the bigger picture. We want to see what our lives really mean in the big picture. We view those people who have died and come back as the fortunate few who have seen past the veil and looked into Love’s eyes and found their Higher Selves. Ironically, statistics show that the more you know about the near death experience, the less chance there is that you will have one. I think I have read about all the books that have been written about the NDE, so I don’t stand a chance of having one. Like most people we have to live out the first part of George Bailey’s life without the dénouement! We have to struggle for faith and believe in miracles until we receive a true miracle of change of perception and can see the Love that is present in all things. The miracle allows us to step out of our past and experience Love’s Presence. In Love’s presence there is no bigger picture. We are One with all things. We are the picture and there has never been anything real in it except Love. The pain we struggle with, we can see as mere illusions, blockages that we have erected to the awareness of Love’s Presence. At this time of the year we see Love in the babe in the manger, but do not forget it is there in his mother and father, the donkey, the hay and the straw, the wise men and shepherds, and you and me. That’s the big picture. You see, all those noble dreams that you had and went unfulfilled, did no harm to you. You are still only Love and that is enough, because it is all there is! And in the world, you are the difference love makes. It really is a wonderful life.

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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.

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Chicken Little

The Story of us all

As told by an old rooster named Joseph Shore

Once upon a time, heaven sent a child to earth, full of the Knowledge of Heaven. The child was as fresh as the dawn and brought Heaven’s gift of Love to the world. The child seemed to come into the mother’s womb and be born in a body. She still carried Heaven’s gift with her and knew only to give it to her mother and father. Something very strange happened to the child as she appeared to be born. Her mother and father did not recognize her as a gift from Heaven. They did not know they could learn anything from the child because they, themselves, did not know what they did not know. Instead of welcoming the gift of Heaven, reverencing her, making space for her, they told her she was a chicken! “Welcome to our home, Chicken little,” they said. “We are all chickens here. We will teach you how chickens are to behave. We will teach you how to survive in a world of chickens. You will do what we say and believe what we believe. You are our property now. You belong to us. You will serve our family.” The child was innocent, pure, helpless and did not know fear. She was obedient to her parents and soon learned their chicken beliefs. She played with other “chickens” in the yard and dreamed of things she would do one day when she was a full grown chicken. As she learned from her chicken parents she learned things that were not of heaven but of chickens. She learned fear, especially fear of an old man with mustache and goatee, dressed in white, holding a cane and a sign that said “KFC.” This image filled her with this new emotion called “fear” more than any other. With fear came other new emotions, hostility, attack, anxiety, helplessness, limitation. Her parents assured her that all chickens had these emotions. On Sundays they took her to a special building called the Chicken Church and there she learned that the Chicken World was created by a great, giant chicken in the sky named Jawah the Chicken. She learned that Jawah was always watching chickens to see if they were being good chickens, obeying their parents. She learned that Jawah hated bad chickens who disobeyed their parents or thought differently. If she were not good, one day Jawah would snatch her up and send her to the deep fat fryer with all the other bad chickens. But then she was taught that Jawah really did care about chickens…sort of! He had one chicken son himself who he sent to earth to teach the other chickens. The son’s name was Jebba and he soon saw that the chickens were very evil. They were so evil Jawah would have to fry them all. This caused Jebba to be very sad, so he told Jawah that he would go to the fryer in place of all the other chickens, just to satisfy and please Jawah. And so he was fried! Now he made a deal with Jawah that all the other chickens could be spared his nasty fate if they would just accept Jebba as their personal chicken and give 10% of their chicken feed to the Chicken Church. Chicken Little wanted to be a good chicken and she was very afraid of the fryer so she believed in Jebba just like all the other chickens. She lived her chicken life, scratched in her chicken yard, met a nice rooster and decided to lay eggs, much to the rooster’s happiness. And she lived her life believing she was Chicken Little, having forgotten her true, and only real identity as heaven’s gift. After she was an old hen, she finally died and sluffed off her imaginary feathers and discovered she was something she had forgotten long ago. She remembered a time when she knew only heaven’s love and the desire to give it to others. She remembered a time before she learned fear.

Now just in case you think this is a silly tale (or ‘tail’), it perfectly describes what happens to every child who comes to this planet and seems to be born in a body. The parents do not recognize the child as a gift from heaven from whom they are to learn love. They think the child is their property and of the earth. Instead of reverencing the child and giving her space, they begin to indoctrinate her with their strange beliefs, the beliefs of the world rather than Heaven’s Knowledge. The child learns fear and limitation. The child forgets her Heavenly identity and just grows up like all other children, with fear suspicion, limitation and citizenship! By the time she is three years old she is saluting flags and being entered into beauty contests. She becomes conformed and forgets who she really is. Is this not insane? Is this planet not insane? In this insanity she begins to search for something she knows she has lost. If she is determined she will come into contact with a real teacher and she will begin that long road to unravel the insanity of her conditioning. That is what A Course In Miracles does for all the Chicken Little’s out there. It begins to help you gently to undo all the insane beliefs you accepted as a child in the name of conformity. Then you won’t believe in Jawah and Jebba anymore! The Course will lead you gently by the hand back to the truth of yourself which you have forgotten. It helps you to remember, “I am not a chicken. I am just as God created me, and this God who created me knows only Love. He created me just like himself, so I am only Love! I am not a body of any sort, neither with feathers or flesh! I am a spirit like God who created me. I am not limited. I will not be afraid. I will not be conformed to any chicken law or any law of man. I will obey only the laws of Heaven, eternal laws that are changeless. And if you try to fry me, I will just be feathers in your mouth. I cannot be fried. I cannot be harmed in any way. I am not a body.” Then remembrance of Heaven comes.

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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 youself 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.

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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.

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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.

*

We have a dilemma! It used to be that we would take the vow not to harm any sentient being. That was a good vow and still is! So you don’t eat your neighbor or any other animal! You eat fruits and vegetables, nuts and berries and grains! But now we have found out the fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries and grains ARE sentient. Experiments have been done. They all like music and grow better when you play music for them. They grow towards the speakers where the music is playing and they taste better! That is sentience! Flowers smell better when you talk to them and pet them! That’s right! Gently pet your flowers while you talk to them. Now we see that EVERYTHING is sentient!! WE are everything and everything is us. There is only one divine Mind here manifesting as different things. Now what do we do?

*

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?

*

The True Story of the Ego

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 one-ness. 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 ego-ness. 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 insides 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!

IV.THE STORIES

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 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.

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, 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.

What is there to remember in 9/11?

If we truly know Love as our identity we could never hate a brother regardless of what he did to us. We would be projecting the opposite and making it real. Forgiveness is simply letting go, letting it pass by because in truth it isn’t real. Consider it a… tiny mad idea that can be let go. You see now who the real perpetrator of 9/ll was: FEAR and instead of responding to the illusion of fear with Love, we have spread fear throughout an entire world. Only the Ego would want this, not Love. And so we see who controls the world. The Ego does and loves the story of fear. Our response to those who suffered on 9/11 is clear. Compassion must be expressed to all beings in pain. As we go through life seeking enlightenment, compassion is our walk. As compassion brings love to wounded hearts, then is it time to remember that we are not bodies. Our bodies may be injured or killed, but our true Self cannot be hurt, injured or put to death. We connect with that true Self even as we express compassion for those in pain.

Mindlessness

I was re-reading Alan Watts the other day and remembering all of the wonderful awakenings his books brought to me in the 60’s and 70’s. I had to ask myself, “Why does no one read Alan Watts any more?” As soon as I asked the question the answer came to me. Nobody has the attention or the interest to read books like these anymore. We are so mindless that we cannot be attentive. It is not just the kids that have ADHD. The whole Western world has it. We are so mindless we know nothing but boredom. We content our mindless minds with cable television which has 200 channels of nothing but mindlessness. We bargain with ourselves which mindless channel we will settle on. The same is true of music. Pop culture has taken over the whole world, and the first commandment of pop culture is “Thou shalt not look past the surface.” We used to say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but now the cover is all we look at. Is it any wonder that the high art forms are dying for lack of interest! Who wants to go to the opera when they can see Lady Gaga! We are mindless creatures who have totally forgotten that we are minds! Somebody has to wake up! The Buddha said, “I am awake.” Today, if someone said that, no one would notice or care! Something must awaken us from our mindlessness! We can take some comfort in the fact that this is not the first time the manifest world has fallen apart. The ancient Hindus were wise enough to see that the world passed through phases called Kalpas. The good news is that after things fall apart we will awaken again. The bad news is that a kalpa lasts four million three hundred and twenty thousand years! The Hindus looked at the big picture! They also wrote the wisest and oldest wisdom books in human history. Don’t expect anyone today to be interested in reading the Vedas! We can’t even read Alan Watts! If all this sounds so blue, the answer is the same as it was four million three hundred twenty thousand years ago: “Eat your food and pass your water. But also, be still. Meditate. Use whatever tool you need to bring your mindless mind to stillness, whether it is an electric cattle prod or A Course in Miracles. Find yourself for God sakes! The kalpa of mindlessness is over!

Star Wars

Our Modern Myth

The mythic description of good and evil for our time is found in Star Wars. George Lukas captured the attention of an era not simply by the cinematography and special effects but because his story is a “re-mythologization” of the most ancient of conflicts, good verses evil. It is the central story of every time, and our time, like others past, sees it played out in daily life with cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys, republicans and democrats, within our midst. Look carefully at the myth however. More it has to tell you than which side of the “force” is stronger or better. In fact, if an unprejudiced eye from some galaxy “far, far away” should look at these two sides, good and evil, as we see them in the Jedi and the Sith, little difference might he see. Both sides seek to control their agendas by mastering control of a mystical, psychic force in the universe. Point of view is the main difference between them. We might say that evil has a very wrinkled skin, very bad teeth—evil Mr. Tooth Decay is—and talks in a low crackly voice, while good is small and green with funny ears. Their operations seem to be the same. “Kill the Sith we must,” says Yoda. But who could dislike a cute, cuddly Muppet like Master Yoda. Watching this cute little Muppet jump incredible heights using the “force” while battling the evil Sith Lord with a light saber, who could avoid cheering for the sweet little guy. Even if we side with the point of view of good, we notice that good is never strong enough to overcome evil. A “strong, masterful” good can only hope to perpetuate the battle. Some difference in syntax might there be. If at the end of our sentences our verbs we put, more like good will we be. Could this a “real” difference be? Our unprejudiced observer might also notice that there are no “holy wars.” Each side believes it is “right.” The Sith feel empowered by the hypocrisy of the Jedi while the noble Jedi are convinced they are the guardians of the universe. But like the Knights Templar before them, they too take up their swords ignorant of the knowledge that he who lives by the sword—light saber or otherwise—dies by the sword. There are no Quakers among the Jedi. They are the psychic policemen of their galaxy, the kung fu masters of a force greater than Chi.

The Sith are convinced in the individual’s “right” to experience his own passions. The “life coaches” of their galaxy were they; the “pop psychologists” of their time. Watch them on Opra we could.

The Jedi are convinced that their good is ultimately altruistic and will prevail in the end. But there is no Absolute reference. There is no God for either the Jedi or the Sith.

Does this story sound modern? Modern it is, and ancient too. Both the Jedi and the Sith use power to control. Neither has read The Lord of the Rings nor seen Gotterdammerung!

We get so caught up in cheering for one side (and who will be honest and say he hasn’t thought of cheering for the Sith) that we do not see that this is a false dualism. Think for a moment, if remember ALL of Star Wars you can. What is the only truly powerful force in this mythic saga? It is love. Love is all that is powerful. It is Luke’s love for his father that makes him reach out to Darth Vader. It is Vader’s memory of his love for his son that brings about his redemption.

Good is not stronger than evil, but love is. Never a doubt there is that love will defeat it.

With all the selling of light sabers and memorabilia might easily we forget the lesson here to be learned. The lesson is not that we should learn more martial arts, master our psychic powers better, or go on holy wars, but that we should become aware of love’s presence. Only a moment of love’s presence will be changing. Today the world is polarized and war is imminent or in progress. We choose sides and dehumanize the other side as “evil” while they do the same thing to us. There is a war on “Terror” and the enemy is us. A Course in Miracles says “You have but two emotions,(love and fear) and one you made(fear) and one was GIVEN you (love). Each is a WAY OF SEEING, and different worlds arise from their different visions. See through the vision that is GIVEN you, for through Christ’s vision, He beholds Himself. And seeing what HE is, He knows His Father. Beyond your darkest dreams, He sees God’s guiltless Son within you, shining in perfect radiance, which is undimmed by your dreams. And this YOU will see as you look with Him, for His vision is His gift of love to you, given Him of the Father FOR you.” The Course also says, “Seek not to change the world. Seek instead to change your mind about the world.” The world we see arises from our minds. It is our minds that need to be changed. What would happen to the world if you would but look on your brother who you consider evil and chose not to react to him as such, but instead saw him as the son of God lost in his illusions? That would mean you have stopped projecting the opposite. That would mean the war on terror has vanished. In the illusory world of us against them, good verses evil there is no victor. You can’t kill them all!!!

And if all this seems too cosmic for you, then start with love’s presence wherever you can become aware of it, in the love of a dog, the smile of a child, or the presence of a friend. In that experience you do not project the opposite. That little “start” is like awakening.

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.

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.

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!

Love and your cat

Cats are masters of their environment. They have total knowledge and command of their world at a level we can only begin to understand. If the great movement today in human consciousness is to experience “connectivity,” then cats are far ahead of us. I had an outdoor cat who was eaten by a Coyote. The day before that happened he was aware of his coming death and went to each of us to give us a loving goodbye. It was remarkable. He bore the Coyote no ill thoughts, nor did he try to avoid it. He was at peace with the timing for his departure and thought only of us. Cats are at one with their environment. In addition to their highly advanced sensory organs, they have an additional organ in the back of their mouths called Jacobson’s organ which allows them to smell and sense tiny particles in the air beyond the nose’s capability. The next time you see your cat with its mouth open, almost panting with a funny look on her face, she is using Jacobson’s organ to define some tiny particles in her environment. Cats, perhaps because of their connectivity, are bringers of unconditional love. To know your cat is to know that only Love is real. There is no opposite. The only apparent opposite is fear, which is an illusion, not a real opposite. You learn God’s Love through your cat…and if you could TRULY know your cat, you would know God. Of course, if you could TRULY know yourself you would know God. Cats as avatars of Love stand in the gap for us and lead us to that self-knowledge. Love your cat. Your cat loves you. Love yourself. This love you are. And you and your cat are one.

Cosmic Consciousness and singing

There are moments when I am filled with love for all things. At such times as these I know I am not a body. I am a spirit and I am free for I am just as God created me. I sense connection to all things. I sense Love’s Presence in the very air that I breathe and I know that I am part of God, as surely as I know that we are all part of Him. I feel imbued with a spirit which has always been my guide though I ignored it at times. I feel the flow of music through me as surely as divine electricity and I know the music sings in praise of our oneness and God’s essence. These beloved moments of cosmic consciousness come and go with me as beloved visitors from a Holy Place in thanks and in praise of art. I sit in a garden and I know that I am one with the flowers, the bees and the earth. I see the fish in the water and know they are part of me. The beavers and the eagles, the ducks, the humming birds, the river and life, we are all together as one spirit. I am caught up and sense connection to God. And out of it all flows song. SING fellow singers. Touch the hearts of angels and of God. Touch the hearts of people and awaken in your spirit to the wonder and Love that you are!! Nothing else is worth your time to contemplate. No past troubles. No wounds. SING and break down the barriers erected to keep out the awareness of Love’s Presence.

The Preacher

Once there was a preacher, full of learning and convinced of his mission to change others. He preached long and hard to his church. Little by little the people left. Finally there were no people left to preach to. Undeterred, the preacher went outside to preach to the animals. They also left. He preached to the rocks and they came up out of the ground and rolled away. He preached to the earth and soon the earth left. The preacher found himself alone in outer darkness. Undeterred he continued to preach. After many millennia passed, a tiny angel the size of a moth came into the preacher’s darkness. “we have let you preach hoping you would learn, but you haven’t,” said the angel. “We sent you to the earth, not to change it, but to bear witness to its beauty and yours as well.”

“What should I have done,” asked the Preacher.

The angel smiled and lit the darkness, “You should have eaten your food, passed your water and bore witness to the wonder of the world. Nothing more was required of you.”

“Will you give me another chance,” asked the Preacher.” The angel smiled.

“Can you learn silence? Can you learn simplicity? Can you refrain from trying to change others? Can you be less impressed with your own thoughts.”

“I can try,” said the preacher. The angel began to erase the darkness in which the preacher had been imprisoned. The darkness had been created by the Preacher’s thoughts, words, and pride of learning. Instead of the darkness the world appeared again, and instead of the Preacher, there fluttered only a moth.

What grandeur lies in human hearts connected

What grandeur lies in human hearts connected, a student and a teacher, a child and an old woman? Memory of who we are almost reveals itself as we look in gratitude to those who shared love’s presence with us along life’s way, and in so doing, changed us. The faces and the deeds of their kindnesses flood our mind. We re-live them. We see them in our mind and each time, the love is as present as the first, the gratitude as deep. Their love is passed on to us. This is the way we grow and raise consciousness. Only the reverberations of love’s presence change the mind and raise consciousness. But raise up just a bit, love just a bit; be grateful just a bit and the Ego will become terrified. It may even make the body sick, demanding you consider it real and occupy your mind with so much unreality that you forget the gratitude and the crystal clear presence of love’s holy presence. It is so easy to get lost when there is no food, the bills aren’t paid, and the wolf knocks at the door. What if the wolf is a war?

Do me a favor. Take a moment and remember some wonderful teacher, a brother or sister on life’s path who really blessed your life and changed you. If they are alive, call or email them to say thanks. If they have already passed over, reach out in Spirit, address them by name; ask the angels to carry your gratitude to them with a real big THANK YOU. I called my first voice teacher today, living in a nursing home. I just wanted to love on him and say, “Thank You. You changed my life. I will always love you.” I have made a lot of these calls in the past few years.“Stay in the circle of gratitude and extend love.”

Love is the music in which you live.

Love is the music in which you live. This music continues with you when you leave the body. The Mind of God, in which you travel, is filled with music. The angels sing the songs that have been given to them. In the celestial spheres the grass and flowers sing. The fish in the River of Life sing. Is it any wonder that you sing? Is it any wonder that music fills the world? Is it any wonder that your song can touch hearts deeply and bring back to them a hint of melody from the One Song that praises our Oneness? Sing! Let the music flow out of you like living water out of God’s fountain. Let the music change you as you feel it leave your heart and go to others. The music will help you to lay down the ego and know yourself for who you really are, Child of God, One with his Father, seated in heaven safely still while dreaming of Earth. The music comes from the love of which we are natural inheritors. And in the music there is a stillness in which you can choose again how you will see, with eyes made of Love or fear.

We are all One Entity-Quantum Re-think

A grove of trees function as one entity. Their root systems intertwine and they share information and nourishment. They only LOOK like separate trees from the surface. There are experiments now which indicate that trees and flowers are not just sensitive but sentient. When Mozart is played in an orchard or a vineyard, the fruit grow towards the speakers, and the fruit is tastier. Plants, flowers grow better when Mozart is played to them AND when you pet them gently and speak to them. The petted flowers grew much bigger and prettier. It is a Quantum world. Re-think. Like the grove of trees, WE (all sentient beings) look separate on the surface, but below the surface we are linked together in Quantum connectivity. Like the grove of trees, we are one organism

Take a kid fishing but be kind to the fish

I never met a better human being than my grandfather, George Ritchie. For most of his life grandpa had been a tenant farmer, plowing land near the Spring River, river-bottom area. Rivers and gardens were the models for his life. When grandpa retired from farming he purchased the land and house of my childhood and planted his garden. In the night he worked part time at Hercules Powder Plant, gun powder, that is, not facial! In the day time he worked in his garden. Usually he had two tag-a-long companions; an old mutt dog named Ginger for his color, and me, Joe-Boy. When we weren’t in the garden we were usually fishin’. Grandpa may have claimed to fish to put dinner on the table, but that was just the ruse. He fished to be near the river. We seldom caught very many fish on our river expeditions. Everyone we caught was “a nice one.” We never caught a “bad” fish. I liked that. For me, much of the excitement came from our journeys through the tall river-grass and grandpa’s stories about copperhead snakes. Grandpa had discovered the “Ozark kung fu” of killing copperheads. He had learned it, like his other skills, out of necessity. After World War II, Hercules Powder Plant refused to allow their night watchmen to carry guns, fearing the risk of explosion was greater than the risk of burglary. So grandpa was allowed to carry only a three foot long “Billy club.” Since his nightly patrols took him through heavy cover, he frequently encountered copperheads which he would rhythmically dispatch with a stroke of his club. You could call it “Ozark kung fu.” He had plenty of opportunity to hone his skills on our farm as well. Grandmother was a strict believer in the literal interpretation of Genesis and was sure that every snake ought to be ritually killed for righteousness sake. More than a few times, a cry could be heard in the neighborhood, “George, there’s a snake. Kill it!” It was grandmother’s one weakness. Grandpa could not refuse her. He became a master of snakes.

Once we safely negotiated the tall river grass, we baited our hooks with a variety of arcane, home-made mixtures, cast our lines, sat, became quiet, and grandpa and I flowed with the river. Usually we would catch a few perch, a mud-cat or a carp, and head back home to the garden.

When I was about seven years old, grandmother and grandpa introduced me to the wonders of Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in nearby Oklahoma. For years they had been going there to the promised land of fishing, bringing back huge catches of crappie, blue-gill, catfish, and white bass, all for table fare. Having survived the great depression, they were determined never to go hungry again. A huge freezer chest of frozen fish from Grand Lake made it seem unlikely. And yet, like the river adventures, the important thing was really to go to the lake and be there. At Grand Lake, no convenience was denied a fisherman. Large in-door, heated fishing docks, with theatre seats for comfort, were situated over key areas for crappie and other pan fish. Cedar trees were suspended from the docks to entice the cover-minded crappies to huddle there in schools, unaware of the fate which awaited them. It was a grand invention for a Grand Lake. Grandmother and grandpa introduced me to these holy haunts with a fervor reserved otherwise only for the garden. I soon learned to jig, as well as fish with live bait. The crappie never had a chance.

We traversed the entire 1200 miles of shore line of Grand Lake in our crusades for crappie. Holy memories are indelibly imprinted in my mind of our favorite docks. Grandpa liked Ice Box Bluff, but it was a little Spartan for grandmother. The theatre seats were not as plush and “comfy” as some other docks. But it was at Ice Box that grandpa fought the leviathan carp! Grandpa and I loved to fish for carp. They grew big and they gave a great fight. They also required imagination to catch because they had only a small, soft, sucker mouth, and were picky eaters. They had no real teeth but they had a sweet tooth, preferring baits made with lots of syrup, honey, coca cola, and Wheeties. I fixed a homemade carp bait that was a lot like banana bread so that if the carp didn’t bite we could eat the bait! Carp fishin’ was fun. Ever concerned about practicality, grandmother had even figured out a way to make them edible. Most people used to say, “Clean a carp on a pine board. Throw the carp away and eat the board!” But grandmother had found that if she cooked them for days in a pressure cooker she could make fish cakes out of them that tasted remarkably like salmon cakes. The grandmother of invention had given us a new reason to stalk the wily carp.

Grandpa took no prisoners. He used a forty-five pound test cotton line that looked sort of like a clothes line. In addition to the small treble hook which was concealed within the dough ball of homemade sweets, he suspended a large grappling hook to snag the carp under the chin in case the small hook missed. It was serious business! We usually caught carp weighing between four and seven pounds. But one day at Ice Box Bluff, grandpa set the hook into a big one. You can tell when the hook is first set how big the fish is. This one didn’t give. “For heavenly days,” grandpa exclaimed. It was the closest he got to swearing. “What have I got here?” The carp fought long and valiantly but eventually could not contend with the clothes line rope, and grandpa pulled in his biggest Carp, weighing 13 pounds. It looked like it weighed 100 pounds and grandpa was just as proud of it as if it had. We ate it, of course. It provided fish cakes for a month!

The Valhalla of fishing docks was Teague’s Dock, surnamed “Old Lady Teague’s” by grandpa because it had been purchased from our friend, Leonard Pane, the area auctioneer, by a woman named “Teague” who possessed a redoubtable appearance, complete with multiple pounds of pancake makeup. With this curious visage she greeted the fishermen that came to her dock. Nobody liked her, including grandpa. But the dock had its own drawing power. It was plush to the hilt. Padded, comfortable theatre seats encircled the extremely large fishing well in the middle of a well heated dock. Snack bars and a bait shop were handy within the dock, and it was situated over one of the best locations in Grand Lake for crappie, catfish, bass, and of course, carp. I once saw a man catch and land a forty pound carp on an eight pound test line! I was awed as if watching the real life filming of one of those National Geographic presentations where monsters of the deep are shown to an audience all agape! But the sneakiest fishin’ took place when the crappies were nesting. The mother crappie sat on the nest guarding her eggs, while the daddy crappie patrolled the perimeter, striking at any object which came into his territory. We soon discovered that if we threw in a jig near the nest that we could catch the daddies like nobody’s business! Needless to say, I felt very guilty about this and have sought to atone for it ever since. The day’s limit by Oklahoma law was 37 crappie per day, per fisherman! Most of the other fish had no limits! We often caught our limit, returning home as proud as if we had found the Holy Grail. Now I wish we had let most of them go. I haven’t kept a fish I caught since then. Like the flowers that belonged alive in the garden, the fish belonged alive in the lake.

It is no small thing that Genesis talks about the “Garden of Eden.” That ancient writer knew perfectly well what an apt image the garden sets up in our minds, ancient, connecting, and wonderful. Grandpa loved to stroll through the garden to “visit” with all the wonderful things growing there. Ginger and I took in all of his love for the earth and the Creator of all life. But Ginger had an easier time of it in one important way. He didn’t have to be distracted by the competitive world-view being peddled on Sundays by the variety of Baptist preachers that sought to “instruct” us in the ways of their strange universe. Many of them did not act like Jesus in the Bible. They seemed to be so mad at everybody and everything. Finally I made a personal discovery that I should believe in the God that Jesus showed me. One of my helpers in this discovery was Rev. Ray Stone, pastor of the First Baptist Church when I was a small boy. Brother Ray stood out from the rest of the preachers of my childhood. He was full of Love and Light. He was a “gardener!”

“Just be so in love with Jesus,” he would say, time and time again, in trying to warn of the pitfalls to come in life. You know, I was and still am!

God created a Garden and I knew what a garden was like! He created a river, and I knew what a river was like. God wanted us with Him. God was like Jesus and grandmother Ritchie! I’ll take that God. He can stroll with us through the garden as we visit the plants. He can go to the river with us, and we will flow together!

And so we say “Amen” But just for now.

Copyright © 2012 Joseph Shore

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Camerata Publications

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