Enlightenment, little by Little

In the ceaseless chatter of the brain there is the constant urge to project the opposite. There is a thought of love and the brain projects an opposite. There is a thought of happiness. The brain projects an opposite. What would it be like if we learned to stop projecting the opposite? It would mean that the mind has stilled and stilled the brain as well. Only Love’s Presence would be sensed in everything. The student workbook exercises in ACIM are a very good way to help us with this problem. As long as we project the opposite, this world of separation will remain strong, and we will have to work hard to keep our peace. The lessons of the workbook help us to become aware of our thoughts so that when the urge arises to see something negative, the mind brings up a lesson: “The Light has come. I have forgiven the world.” When I am tempted to see myself as some low image, the mind brings back, “I am as God created me.” When I am tempted to believe in “magic” the mind brings to me, “I am under no laws but God’s.” Gradually we are learning right mindedness, and dispelling separation. Gradually you have more periods of Peace than you do of anxiety. We always thought that Enlightenment was something that came all at once, after long periods of study, yoga, meditation. We made such people who did these things to acquire Enlightenment “special.” WE wanted to be them but we didn’t want to have to live an ascetic life!!!! And we thought that once you were enlightened you stayed that way, or maybe would just disappear one day into the heart of God. It never occurred to us that little bits and pieces of enlightenment come to us all the time as we forgive one another, refuse to engage in attack thoughts or hold on to grudges. We were just waiting for that moment when we would be able to walk six inches above the ground, or on water. Then, we would know, or so we thought! But we were still dissatisfied. Enlightenment was our GOAL and so we were unhappy with the life we had. That is one of the clues that tells us our quest–any quest–is an ego trick. The ego wants to have its cake and eat it too! But any enlightenment that maintains a dualism, an I-Thou relationship is not worth a plugged nickel.

In the summer of 2014, with the help of partner, Burnaby Lake, my right mindedness opened me up into a six week period of enlightenment. I shared it this way:

“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 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 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.
“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 travelled 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.”
“I thought that, for me, the most difficult part of staying in right-mindedness, and continuing my experience of the Love of God in my daily life would be to control reactions. Reactions can send you right back to wrong mindedness. But I have found that the Love of God actually gently protects me from reactions. I mean, there is just so much space and timelessness! I stood in a long line at the IGA today, without any temptation to lose patience. I just listened to the people’s thoughts and feelings as I waited. That’s another thing about the real Love of God…It is not evangelistic! I had no urge to try to persuade people! The Love of God honors our sleeping brothers! It is like Tara Singh said, “Some of our brothers are deeply asleep. That’s alright. Let them sleep. They will awaken.” The Love of God knows no pressure.
“Today I awakened from sleep rather early for me. I thought, ‘Jesus why am I up so early.’ I soon found out there was work he wanted me to do. This is life in the Spirit. We listen to an inner Voice that always speaks for truth, and we happily do as the Voice tells us. We have learned over the years, that those who obey the inner Voice will know the Love of God! May you know it today!! Peace.

That was my sharing with you. For six weeks the Christ Mind was almost totally me. It was the culmination of my life. Eventually, though, I faded back into Joe Shore, more loving, of course, and with higher gifting, but Joe Shore nonetheless.”

My first reaction to its lifting was gratefulness that I had it for 6 whole weeks. But then I had to question, “Why did it leave after six weeks?” I began to feel guilty that I was not something enough for it to stay. And I knew that some people would say, “If it only lasted six weeks, it could not have been real.” Such judgments always come from the ego. One can just hear some people thinking, “If it had come to ME I would have kept it!!!” In truth, these periods of Reality do break in on us. Many people will tell you their experiences if they feel free to do so. We learn Right Mindedness little by little. We climb the ladder of consciousness one step at a time WITH our brothers. No one can climb the ladder alone because no one IS alone. We come as One Mind to the top of the ladder. Then the ladder disappears and all that is left is God and His One Son in Oneness. Consciousness has disappeared as a tiny mad idea. There is only the One, all-inclusive Love of God.

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Love is all there is to talk about

Love is all there is to talk about. It is the only thought that we can share with God. It is the only thought that goes beyond thought and connects us to Reality, which is all-encompassing Love with no opposite. In our dualistic world of infinitely important persons (sic!) “love” is usually attachment. It means that I see something in you that I really want or need and you see something in me that you really want or need, so we attach to one another and feed off each other! Real Love is not personal just as God is not personal, the real God, that is, not the Biblical Jehovah who is a man-child of a person, choosing a few special people and cursing all the rest, throwing temper tantrums like destroying the world, then repenting of it saying, “Oops. I shouldn’t have done that. Here’s a rainbow for you to show I won’t do that again.” Even the “love” mentioned in the New Testament (as in 1 Corin. 13) is still dualistic because the Bible cannot see beyond dualism. There is always an “I–Thou” relationship, never a joining. In true love, the lovers are One. They are One Love in two illusory bodies and they light the way for the true reunion that must happen; the bringing together of each piece, each broken shard of the One Son of God who is seen splintered here in this illusory universe, having forgotten he is Spirit, believing he is a body, subject to time and feeling lack. He tries to connect to other bodies who also have forgotten they are Spirit and experience lack. This is attachment, the broken son of God’s substitution for the all encompassing Love he truly is. Attachment doesn’t satisfy and if people marry with it they get tired of marriage and divorce.

So how do we find this real “Love?” First we would need to acknowledge, as does ACIM, that this Love is our natural inheritance and our true Self, that we are a part of God’s radiant loving light, from which we can never be separated. We have erected barriers to the awareness of Love’s Presence. The biggest barrier we erected is the WORLD!! ACIM says that the dreaming Son dreamed up this world as a place God could enter not! The body is his ultimate citadel against God! But this illusory world can be de-constructed. Every time I look on another and see that what is in his best interest is also in mine, a little light has come to us. I begin to find that if I refuse to make opinions about you that more light comes. As that light comes I begin to feel Love when I am in your presence, a Love which comes to both of us. In that moment my barriers are down and Love’s Presence comes into my remembrance. It joins you and I as One Spirit in two illusory bodies. The bodies are silly things. The Love is all important. This Love we share with God and remember for all our brothers. Love is all there is to talk about!

We are that

Life here is pretty much designed to require all our concentrated awareness. Life’s lessons are not usually easily learned. For this reason esoteric thought has usually been viewed as suspect, as though one were cheating on a test or seeing what is happening behind the screen of perception. (“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”) Like the great and powerful wizard of Oz, if we could see behind the screen the great and powerful Jehovah would appear just as silly to us. We are pulling the wool over our own eyes. We are making it up down here as we go along! But underneath this dream world of our perception is a divine ground and we are in truth that ground. In spite of this dream world, there is that which is never born and never dies, that which changes not. We are that changeless ground. In spite of religion’s spooky stories of sin and judgment there is that which cannot be threatened, and we are that.

Many Lives, Many Worlds

Professor Fred Alan Wolf, quantum physicist said:

“As fantastic as it sounds, the new physics called quantum mechanics posits that there exists, side by side with this world, another world, a parallel universe, a duplicate copy that is somehow slightly different yet the same. And not just two parallel worlds, but three, four or even more! In each of these universes, you, I and all the others who live, have lived, will live, and will ever have lived, are alive! (Wolf 1985).”

Apparently, when we dreamed THIS universe, we also dreamed others! We appear to live simultaneous lives in these alternate worlds, yet we are the same spirit learning lessons designed to awaken us. The knowledge of this should relieve some of the angst we have in living THIS life. High Sense Perception, ESP, Spiritual abilities can make us aware of, even let us peek into, these alternate lives. In the alternate life I saw for myself, I was living in a high rise apartment. My wife and I were both music teachers; she taught piano and I voice. We were well off financially. I had the things that I think I need now, yet in that alternate life I was less spiritually developed than I am now and I had a deep desire to know more. Whatever it is that we THINK we need in this life, what we really need is NOT THAT. Our need is always to KNOW who we are.

Someday Joe-Boy will take us fishin’

“Someday Joe-boy will take us fishin’,” Lena Ritchie said to her husband, George. It was four o’clock in the morning and grandmother had put a nice breakfast on the table for us. We needed a good start of the day for our fishing trip. I had slept over at their house so we could get a good early start down to Oklahoma, to the Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. I was eight years old.

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 our 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.

Fishing with my grandparents was the purest form of Love I learned as a child. Most days you could not have gotten me out of bed at 3:30AM if you lit a fire cracker under my bed, but knowing we were going fishing, I eagerly went to bed with my grandparents and the chickens around dark and jumped out of bed when I heard the alarm at 3:30AM. Grandmother would fix breakfast while grandpa and I loaded the car with our fishing tackle.

“Someday Joe-boy will take us fishin’ George,” Grandmother repeated. “You betcha,” said grandpa as he reached for his coffee. They drank the most terrible coffee: Folgers, or Maxwell House, percolated in what is now an ancient contraption. They drank it black and I drank it with them. Maybe eight years old was just a little young for coffee, but I drank it! Grandmother packed a lunch for us and put plenty of that coffee in thermos bottles for us and off we went. It was so exciting to start off on our journey while it was still dark, the crickets still chirping, and the neighborhood still asleep. We drove the old highway to Joplin to a bait shop where we got our minnows, worms, and catfish bait. The best thing I knew about Joplin as a boy was that it wasn’t far from Grand Lake! Grandpa liked to drive old highway 60 through the big town of Seneca Missouri on route to Grand Lake. Grandmother and I might be nodding off but grandpa would loudly announce, “We’re now in Sen-ee-kee,” and we would pop to, knowing that the lake was near. Outside of Seneca there was a fork in the road and we would have to decide if we were going to go to Twin Bridges fishing dock or on down the lake to Ice Box Bluff or Blue Bluff. This day we made the turn as grandpa said, “Let’s go to Ice Box.” It was grandpa’s favorite dock and the owner was a friend of my grandparents, but then many dock owners were their friends. It was the first dock I fished when they brought me to the lake a year before. It was like heaven to a kid. All the grownups there didn’t act like grownups. They were all fishin,’ acting like kids!

Eighteen years later, I had graduated from college, spent two years in graduate school for theology, and was on my way to a new career as an opera singer. But before I left for the Santa Fe Opera and a new career that would take me away from them, I said to my grandparents, “It’s time I take you fishing.” They were both startled, like they couldn’t quite believe the day had come, but they quickly agreed. I was driving an old Rambler that had the “b” and the “l” knocked out of the front grill so that it read “Ram—er.” It shimmied if you went past 55 but off we went in it one clear day about 4:00 AM. Grandmother sat in the back and grandpa sat up front. I took the same route grandpa had always taken, into Joplin, to the bait store, down through Seneca. We came to the fork in the road and I said, “Let’s go to Ice Box.” Off we went. I don’t remember how many fish we caught but there was something wonderful about the completion of Love in that outing together. As I drove back home, I accidentally pushed the speed up past 60 and the old “Ram—er” began to shimmy. Grandmother said, “Boy the old thing shimmies doesn’t it?” I slowed back down to 55 and we made it back home. That was the last time we went fishin’ together. I moved on up to the big city, up to NEW YORK CITY, and became an opery sanger, but my love for Lena and George Ritchie has stayed in my heart strong! They loved me…and I loved them back. The fish were just part of the story.

I am not a medium for nothing! This story about my grandparents was prompted by my inner conversations with them in spirit. They are both still in spirit and together. Grandmother said, “We know how much you want us to meet you when you pass over, so we have been staying here for you.” Grandpa smiles. Grandmother chuckles and says, “Boy, we’ve been having to put off the angels that keep coming and want us to go back down.” Grandpa grins. “We’ll be here to meet you. Don’t you worry.” Grandpa says, “I’ve been trying to tell you not to use so much of that nose spay. It’s not good for you. But you cain’t hear me.” I am taken up in Love’s Presence with these little conversations in spirit. Believe me, there is not much separating us from our loved ones who have passed over. Grandmother chuckles, “Boy howdy, let me tell you Joe-boy, it is goin’ to take you a little while to adjust when you come over here. We were not prepared at all for it.” She laughs big.

Tonight I needed to go get something to eat. Instead of hopping in my car, I knew I should walk over to the shopping center and to Subway. Walking is not easy for me now and would never be my first choice, except tonight. I just wanted to wall slowly. Conversations with George and Lena continued in my mind as I walked, and the Love poured out. The girl at Subway recognized me and I flirted with her a little bit. That’s one of the nice things about being my age. You can flirt with the girls and nobody is offended. As I walked back to my apartment my whole life gently passed before my eyes. Somehow, there was something sweet about walking slowly with my cane and seeing the gentle irony that I used to be a dashing figure on the stage, running around as Macbeth or some other great character. What a figure I cut. Now my pace is slow and I need my cane, but it is alright. Nothing is amiss. I am no longer very famous and all my money is gone, but somehow, in a very sweet way, I am happy. I am thankful for my life and I have learned many lessons. I wanted this to be my last lifetime on this planet, but you know, if I have to come back a hundred more times, that is alright too. It is all alright.

George and Lena Ritchie

Joe at 9

A change has come over me

A change has come over me as I have prepared this whole year to re-visit John of God. I live now in the presence of God. I still walk through this world but I sense only God’s Presence. I had a vision a few months ago in which I found myself at the top of all dimensions, in a space that was not a space, and I was right next to the Ocean of God. The only thing that separated me was the thinnest film, no thicker than a soap bubble. I knew that I could walk through it and into that ocean any time I wanted to. That thin soap bubble represents the tiny little illusion that we have made with the tiny mad idea that we could break off from God and observe the Whole. It was an absurd idea. It has not changed God one bit, nor could this Ocean of Love ever be “angry” at us. There is nothing but eternal Love in that Ocean which is our true and only home. But our tiny mad idea has created this soap bubble of separation, which is an illusion as mad as the tiny mad idea itself. We are in that Ocean right now, you and I, and you, and you, and you over there, you the skeptic, and you the unbeliever, you the Catholic, you the Baptist, you the Hindu, Buddhist, you the Islamic, you who are angry and you who know something of Love. We are all there as one, not as EGO’s, thank God, or we would have to suffer evil and good for eternity, but as spirit, ONE Spirit. ACIM calls this One Spirit, the Son of God. Jesus is a part of that Son, but so are you and I and every sensory byte of information in this illusory universe. Let go of all your little hates today and just see the Love that is in all things. Stay up in the Love and sooner than you imagine, the universe will disappear and we will find ourselves in the Ocean of God. That Ocean is unconscious eternal Love and it is an Ocean which has no shore, nor an end. Don’t be afraid to give up the little conscious “you.” Every loving thought, every loving deed you have done, has been perfectly remembered in the Mind of God. None of your unloving thoughts and deeds have been remembered because they were all unreal. Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”

Will You Choose For Love Or Fear?

This confusion of mind that befuddles people is the biggest weapon in the Ego’s arsenal. There is really only one choice in life. Will you choose for Love or for fear? All other choices are based on that primal choice. If you choose fear you will be driven towards the dark side and trapped in this world of duality. Fear is not real. If you choose it, you will be stuck in illusions. Love is the only reality. It has no opposite because it is all encompassing. Love comes from God and God is Love without opposite. God does not know vengeance, punishment, or curses. The god of the Bible is not God! The god in the Bible is a psychological projection of the Ego. He makes snap decisions and then repents of them. He destroys the world by a flood because he says people are wicked. Having done so, he says, “Oops, I shouldn’t have done that. Here’s a nice rainbow for you to show I won’t do it again.” But we can’t trust him. He is the only god to have nuked his own people. He nukes Sodom and Gomorrah because they were just sooo wicked in his perception!! Talk about the original homophobe! But whatever they were doing did they deserve to be nuked for it!!!! The god of the Bible is an impish male ego with maturation problems. It is no wonder Jesus told his people, “You are of your father, a demon.” Jesus’ knowledge of God was not that God was a person as in the Hebrew Bible, but that God was a Wholeness, the Pleroma of Love’s Presence. He says in John’s lovely Gnostic Gospel, “I emanated out of the Father and I am going back into Him.” So the “Father” was not a person. The Hebrew God Yahweh had a body, a face and a butt. He told Moses, “No one can see my face and live, but stand behind the rock and as I pass by I will let you see my backside.” BACKSIDE???? Sounds like a butt to me!!! This personal god knew nothing of unconditional love. His love is attachment because he is a person. “If you do as I command, I will bless you. If you fail to do my commands, I will curse you.” That is a great picture of conditional love. But it is not a very nice picture. The Bible has been the great tool of the Ego for 2500 years, confusing the minds of all those who read it. Neither Judaism nor Christianity understand the God Jesus knew which is only all-encompassing Love. As confusing as it is, you still will have to choose for Love or for Fear. Different worlds arise from both; from Love arises the spiritual world of God; from Fear arises a dualistic world of constant struggle, wars and rumors of wars, and the constant question: “Where is God?” Choose well my friends….(hint: In the end, Love wins♥)

Python God