Overcoming our illusions….and Easter

Overcoming our illusions….and Easter

As a child, as an artist, as a teacher, I have carried the same illusions around with me…those of loneliness and lack. I know they are illusions but they are mine to work with until I can undo them. When you are at the top of your profession it is easy to feel lonely. I was and I did. I was invited to join MENSA, and maybe I should have, but I thought it was just adding more to the illusion of specialness, which in itself comes from the ego illusion which fosters loneliness. As a result of these illusions I have often accepted “friendship” from people who were really NOT friends. Instead they viewed me as special and wanted to get something from me. When you have achieved some fame, people always want to “touch you,” as though it will rub off on them, and then they want you to treat THEM as though they were special! ACIM tells us that the “special relationship” is at the heart of the ego’s function which is to instill fear and lack. Ego’s cannibalize others in their quest to get something from others. Many of you FB friends are, I believe, really friends. Many of you can see my soul in my writing and postings and know me better than some people in my city who cannot see my soul and view me through only their projections. So, to you, I say: “Thank you. You have helped me in my journey.” I am working hard to forgive all of those false friends. Just so we are clear, a friend is someone who has joined with you in mind (spirit). They see you as a gift from God. They look on you from the bright side, even if you have done something they think is wrong. They have your back when you have forgotten who you are. If others say something negative about you, they will not join in. They enjoy being in your company, not because they want something from you, but just because they are your friend. They forgive on the fly. They do not hold grievances. They do not save up stamps to be used for another day! They give you that same love you remember receiving from your grandparents! 🙂 Friends help to end the illusion of separation, lack and loneliness. They would never plot against you or enter into some sort of cabal to do harm to you. They do not attack. If you have had harsh words, they forgive quickly or ask to talk to you about it. They know no conspiracies. In the end, it is Jesus’ lesson from the crucifixion that helps us forgive false friends. He advises us that when we are tempted to see ourselves as victimized that we use his model in the crucifixion. He did not see attack. Instead he associated himself with his spirit which cannot be attacked, cannot be betrayed, cannot suffer lack or deprivation. In his association with his spirit he changed crucifixion to resurrection, not by the resuscitation of a dead body, but by placing the altar to God where it belonged, not with the body but with spirit. From that place he could say “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus’ body became what it always was, NOTHING, nothing at all, for it never existed in truth. In his victory over illusion, he allowed the body to simply not exist. Having fulfilled his mission he exists within the Sonship as an active symbol of the love of God. We are his students.

The Light of Heaven

I am thankful that these thoughts I share with you, were shared with me by a great Teacher, Tara Singh, and though I have added my own expression and my learning to it, I wanted to give thanks to him. Namaste!

Suffer the little children…We are coming into a season where we idolize a babe in a manger, his parents poor, his circumstances low. There was not even a room left at the Motel 6 for him, so he and his parents stayed outside in little more than a cardboard box would be today. We are asked to look at this child as the unique Son of God and we expect each year to receive from this some answer to our personal and social questions about life. But what if EVERY child were thought to be the unique Son of God. The word “unique” keeps us at arms length from that child. It separates us from him and we never get those answers we long for. Let us see that child as every child. A Course in Miracles offers us a different vision of every child. Every child comes here for one of two reasons, depending on OUR mind. If our minds are wrong, every child comes here hiding from God out of guilt, assuming a physical body to escape the pursuing God s/he fears. If our minds are right, every child comes here as a fresh Light, the Light of Heaven, and would come here to share the facts of Heaven with us. The facts of Heaven are innocence and peace, guiltlessness and love. Every child brings the Father’s touch to the fearful world that hides from Truth. The child is Holy and brings Holiness to the fearful world. The child comes first to the parents who called to him and it is to them that he would first try to communicate the facts of Heaven. He wishes to instruct his parents in the Truth of things, to teach them God’s ways, Heaven’s ways. But the question is whether the parents are prepared and willing to learn from the child; or do they think of the child as “theirs,” as something they have a right to condition with the ways of the earth? Invariably that is what happens, isn’t it? The child comes fresh with the dew of Heaven and would teach his parents the holiness they have forgotten. They were children too and their parents beat the remembrance of heaven out of them, teaching them fear and suspicion, a terrible sense of lack and separation, a loneliness that nothing can dispel. They have forgotten the facts of Heaven, which are their facts too! So will they see the holiness of the child and be still? Will they learn from the child the things they have forgotten? Or will they see the child as needing their guidance in the fearful things of the world? The child comes from Heaven and you would make a citizen out of her and have her saluting flags! Is that not the abuse of holiness. Can we learn from our past mistakes now and see the Heavenliness of things, all things, but certainly children? There is a Knowledge of who we are down deep in us that we cannot completely forget, try as we may. It comes out of us in stories and myths and makes us unwilling to call the world home. Thank God!

When my daughter was about three years old, I spoke with her calmly and frankly and asked her if she remembered Heaven before she came to be my daughter in this body. Children will happily tell you if you ask in love. She said, “Well there I was in Heaven, minding my own business, when an angel came up to me and said, ‘Look down there. Joe and his wife are going to have a baby. Would you like to be it?’ I said, ‘Sure,’ and then I jumped and the next thing I knew I was a baby and they were holding me and saying ‘Look how cute the baby is.” She told this story in a manner of fact way that was very disarming. When her brother was about the same age, I saw him approach my daughter and say, “Tell me again about Heaven. I am beginning to forget!” And forget we almost do, so indoctrinated are we in the ways of the world. The world is the place WE made. Heaven is the universe that God created. It is the Home we long to remember fully. The key to awakening into that remembrance is the awareness of the awesome holiness of all things, and yes, certainly all children. Who will cherish the child as the messenger from Heaven? Who will dare to look at the terrible ego need involved when we see the child as “mine.” “This is something I made.” The fact of it is that children do not come “from” parents but rather “through” them. They are not ours to claim, nor are they ours to indoctrinate in the strange ways of the world. They come through the parents, accepting the vibration of them, agreeing to share that vibration with their own, and then they begin their own path of remembrance. If the parents were ready they could learn from the child. If they had made space for the child and counted it as holy from the first moment of their awareness of conception, then a great event could take place. Learning the ways of Heaven from the child would be as cool water to a scorched earth, torn from God’s Oneness by the mad thought of separation. The Light of the child would dispel the darkness of the world’s illusions with its little mad ways. Then we wouldn’t need to keep looking at Jesus in the manger every year, trying to remember all that we have forgotten. Every child is Jesus and every parent potentially Mary and Joseph. If we could see the holiness of children, it would come out of the remembrance of our holiness. Then, who could fail to cherish the child? Could there ever be child abuse? Could there ever be child abandonment? Could there ever be children in poverty? Obviously not!! We would remember ourselves as Children of God, all brothers, all parts of the One Spirit that God created like unto Himself. Every child would give us the chance to remember ourselves as God created us!!! What a gift!!! But WE think WE have to bring gifts to the child! Invariably, what do we bring but the things of this world? Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, the things valued by THIS world! We begin immediately to encapsulate the child into the world! Is this not a tragedy? Is this not the ultimate abuse? In three or four years the child will have forgotten Heaven and see only fear, loneliness and lack!! But if we had made a space for the holy child that was coming to us, could we not then protect them from the madness of the world? If for, say, the first five years we could keep the child in the fullness of Love’s Presence, not exposing her to the ideas of the world, the child might grow up without learning fear and reaction. But how often does this take place? We are so worn out, we just want to get a baby sitter and have a few drinks! We were not prepared for the child because we just thought she was “OURS.” And soon, she will be three years old and a citizen saluting flags and entering child beauty contests!! Is there any wonder then that we so idolize Jesus in the manger!!! Let just that ONE child be holy. All of the other children will be OURS and we will teach them to be just like us!!! Can we not now see the tragedy of the world we have made in our mad attack on God? Thank God it is a tragedy that will end for it is only a long dream. In Truth, nothing but God and His Creation exists! We will awaken from fear eventually in time. In Truth no separation from God ever occurred or could occur. In Truth no world exists! Only in Time does it appear otherwise and time is temporary just as the school bell eventually rings and children return home. The child awakens from the bad dream and sees that it was not real.

At this Christmas time, allow yourself to awaken to the awareness of Love’s Presence. Forgive and set aside all of the little blocks you have made to keep such Truth out of your vision! Love the little children; the child of the world and the child in you. We are all just used and abused kids! We too came here as emissaries of Heaven, bringing the Light of eternal Truth to a dark place in the mind that believes itself to be separated from God and on the run from him. We too tried to teach our parents the holiness of all things, and they just claimed us as “theirs,” and made us do as they said. We have been here so many times trying to light up this dark place!! We have need of our own holiness. Let the “holy” child bring this memory back to us to stay a while, long enough to awaken the world from its long dream!

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping and baby

What Happened to Me in Brazil 2014? Finally the Full Story

Most everyone who goes to see John of God in Abadiania, Goias, Brasil, is going there under some set up arranged by his Higher Self designed to take him up a notch in his development. There are extraordinary, creative forces in Abadiania that are capable of taking us up towards awakening through healing, vision quest, or other paranormal ways. Usually these forces work through a set of miraculous happenings that are perceived as “holy” or sacred. (My first two trips could be viewed that way.) But apparently, sometimes these forces work in a confrontational manner which is perceived, at least at first, to be hostile. That would characterize my third visit last year. I have taken my time to write about this last experience because I could only view it dualistically at first and this I did not consider helpful for others. I have had to look at the experience much more deeply to come to a non-dualistic perspective. Maintaining a perspective of duality forever as a final explanation means that both good and evil are eternal, that something real can indeed be threatened, that the ground of all Being is indeed shaky, and that eternal Love can change to eternal hate. I will not have anything to do with promulgating such a perspective.  However, if you have been following my Facebook postings, I have been dropping little hints about my non-dual conclusions: (1) The irrefutable conclusions of Quantum Physics that no external objective world exists, that we, as centers of consciousness, create our reality; (2) That the psycho-spiritual mechanics of our creation is projection. Whatever fear or unforgiveness that seems to be in my mind, will be projected outwards and I will see an external world that is hostile and attacking me; (3) That our Higher Self, Spirit Guides and Angels, work to give us learning dramas to show us what is holding back our journey up the ladder of awareness and awakening. Most often these learning events are beyond the awareness of our little “selves,” our egos.  When we find our self trapped in a dualistic view of what is happening, we have lost our connection to Truth. We have forgotten to take responsibility for our experience. We have forgotten that we can discover something important about our own needs within these experiences; (4) That our High Self often works with ETs (EBEs) in these learning experiences, and in doing so the ETs simply view themselves as helping us in our dramas, and in so doing, giving us a boost up in our development; (5) And finally that the ETs ask us to take responsibility for what we are creating when we experience them as objectively hostile.

Dr. Steven Greer, today’s leader in ETs and UFOs, has shown that when Vedic meditations are used to cleanse the mind, experiences of EBEs (Extraterrestrial biological entities) are always friendly, elevated and spiritually advanced. He has some amazing pictures of EBEs greeting his team. The view that some EBEs are objectively evil is a dualistic illusion!

 

I was not thinking about a return to John of God in late 2014. I was busy following specific instructions from my guides in creating huge, shamanic necklaces, stone for stone, item by item. They had a tremendous helping effect when I did clearings. They helped me to connect very quickly with higher dimensions and to hear my guides very clearly.  The only thing in my mind concerning John of God was a feeling that I should have gotten more out of the two experiences I had at Abadiania. I felt like something was holding me back from going up the spiral and I wanted to know what that was. Then I thought of going back to Abadiania again in 2014, taking along my newly created crystal necklaces and having John bless them while I was there.  I decided to go back to Abadiania and stay the month of December.

 

I arrived in Abadiania Monday, Dec the 8th, and immediately noticed that the vibration felt lower than last year. I thought perhaps that it was I who had changed and a little of the magic had worn off for me. I didn´t think too much more about it. I was definitely still jet lagged when I went to the Casa Wed. but it seemed like a good day, lots of people coming to seek healing. Dr. Augusto came out on the stage and did a few operations. But let me backtrack to Monday and Tuesday. I brought with me three very high vibrational Shamanic necklaces which hook me straight in to my guides. I need this extra speed interdimensional internet when I am doing clearings in the work of a medium. I brought them down because I thought it would be nice to have Joao bless them!!!

 

They are very strong, high vibrational mechanisms. The huge, main one, to which the other two are linked and programmed, is so big and so impressive that I don´t wear it. At best I would be showing off; at worst I would be frightening people who might think I was crazy. I kept it here in the closet. But I wore the other two around town and on the Casa campus, Mon. and Tuesday before our first meeting Wed. Usually people comment on how beautiful they are, but here I was getting some very strange remarks from people, like, `Very interesting necklace…very pagan looking.’ That type remark kept coming at me. I also began to get some mediumistic perception that the Casa spirits did not like my necklace. I wore one of the necklaces to Casa meetings, Wed. and Thurs. and again got a definite sense that the Casa spirits did not like them. As I went before Joao incorporated Wed. wearing my necklace, he almost scowled at me, and he prescribed no herbs for me. Thursday, I went back to the Casa for the afternoon meeting and did not go before Joao, but my sense continued that the Casa spirits did not like my necklace or me.

 

Thursday during Casa service I noticed that I could not connect with my guides nor dowse. This immediately caught my attention.  I was, at that point, in duality. Something seemed to be happening TO me and I seemed to be separate from it as a victim. It seemed that a dampening field had been set up to block my connection into spirit. It seemed that my high vibration was sensed as an intrusion, or a threat that could attack them. I went to bed Thurs. night and had some difficulty in getting to sleep. When I awakened Friday morning I knew that I had been attacked psychically. I awakened to find that I was not all there. My Etheric body had been taken but I knew how to pray to get it back. Someone had taken me a part and hung me out to dry. This was attempted murder, not some little attempt to scare me. They had also taken my energy. I got that back. They had installed a snooper bug so that they could hear everything I said to my guides. I dismantled that. I put on a necklace and gradually reconnected to my guides. I asked the Creator of All that is, my spirit guides and angels and all my healing team to contact the Casa spirits and convince them that I was not a threat to them, and to cease their attacks. I hoped that they got through to them. But I realized that I needed to be checked out by my senior colleague medium. It is hard to clear oneself and so much had been done to me. I tried to call my colleague in the States and the phone would not dial the numbers. I sensed that the Casa spirits were still blocking me and did not want me to contact my colleague. So I got one of the office girls to dial the number. That time it went through easily. I went over all of this with my colleague and she dowsed and got the same answers. There were a few acts of sabotage that I had not caught and so she finished putting me back together.

 

The next day I tried to call my colleague in the States but the call would not go through. The phone I used the previous night was completely dead. I got another phone and it called her but I could not hear anything. They really didn’t want me talking to her. I was deep into a dualistic experience. I could not see myself as responsible for the experience I was creating. I did not have the perspective that this was a lesson given to me for my own inquiry about what was holding me back.  My perception was that I was under attack by Reptilian and Grey ETs who wanted to get the codes in my necklace which were also in my Etheric body. I knew I had to get out of Abadiania and left as soon as I could.  But it ended up taking me several days to change my flight back to Vancouver. During those days I experienced intense psychic attacks. I did not experience them as lessons for my benefit. I did not physically see any Reptilian ETS. It was a clairsentient experience. But I suspect they were in a ship overhead because that is what they said earlier. About twenty years ago, an ET had incorporated into John and said, “Wherever John is there is a mothership overhead and scout ships are sent out.” Two years ago, a friend of mine got photos of two scout ships coming into the area behind the Casa.

 

I arrived back in Vancouver traumatized with a perception that I still had a psychic link to the Reptilians. At one point I seriously considered going to my doctor and telling her that I had experienced a psychotic break in Brazil.  But I did not. A deeper part of me guided my mind to look at the experience in a different way.  If “projection makes perception,” what was there in me that I had projected to give myself such a negative experience?  I looked at the terrifying experiences I had under the psychic attacks. They appeared to have something symbolic to communicate. They all referred to people and events which were keys in my life and which required many years for me to be able to forgive. But that was the point. I HAD forgiven them. They were not the reason for my projection or for my lesson regarding what was holding me back in my progress. Then I saw that all the psychic attacks (so called) were symbolic presentations to my mind of some key forgiveness I had withheld. I had never forgiven MYSELF for something I regarded as a key failure in my life and I had covered it up from myself. That repressed truth was that which was holding back my progress. Then I remembered what ACIM teaches us. “If we are using perception to justify our own mistakes–our anger, our impulses to attack, our lack of love in whatever form it may take–we will see a world of evil, destruction, malice, envy and despair. All this we must learn to forgive, not because we are being ‘good’ and ‘charitable,’ but because what we are seeing is not true. We have distorted the world by our twisted defenses, and are therefore seeing what is not there.” (ACIM, Preface)

The way in which I could forgive others, seeing them as role players in my drama, I could also use to forgive myself. I had a role to play in my life and I was (am) not the role any more than others were their roles. I could forgive “Joe” for what I held against him as unforgivable. Then I saw the beauty of what had taken place for my benefit. My Higher Self had created a role playing experience for me using the creative forces in Abadiania. It built the necklaces in such a way that they sent out a signal to whatever creative forces there are in Abadiania. If they were really ETs, the ETS gladly helped by taking their place in the drama I was creating. They used their psychic abilities to give me the experiences I needed to unlock the secrets I had hidden from myself. My Higher Self was making sure I got the answer to my serious question, what is holding me back? It had nothing to do with John of God. It was all about helping me!! I was given the virtual experiences I needed. If there were actual ETs involved, I thank them! I also thank all my other partners in learning during this experience!!!!  But wait just a minute. I went down there to discover what was keeping me back from going up the ladder of consciousness back to God. It was not simply lack of forgiveness for something I held against myself. The terrible world of attack that I projected was the result of my coming into contact with the repressed belief that I have–that you and all of us have–that I have in Truth broken off from God, stolen the crown jewels of Heaven, so to speak, and am now on the lamb from an angry god who wants to annihilate me! So I hide in a body where I think He cannot find me. I hide in an ego world I projected, all the time keeping out of my mind the original terror of the belief I have separated from God. That TERROR in Abadiania was the manifestation of my holding of the original terror of separation, from which I normally hide. My Higher Self was giving me a full answer to my question regarding what is holding me back? THIS BELIEF that I have indeed separated from God, now denied and repressed deep within the mind, was brought to the surface where I made it manifest in the world I created there in Abadiania!! None of it was REAL.

 

You can see now how important it was for me to take my time in discerning these lessons. If I had stopped with a dualistic interpretation I would have learned nothing and projected more illusion. ANY INTERPRETATION WHICH TELLS US TO FIGHT SOME EXTERNAL EVIL IS DUALISTIC ILLUSION!!!  If you have been abducted by ETs and all you learned was that you need to fight against the “evil” ETs, then you have learned nothing. Don’t be surprised if they take you again! They view themselves as assisting you in your drama and ask you why you are not taking responsibility for what you are creating? It is something within YOU that makes you perceive the ETs as evil. That is the point. Whatever is holding you back from climbing Jacob’s Ladder is within YOU!

Just so, I have nothing to say about John of God. Plenty is being said, for and against him. He is a lightning rod for perception. However, I have reached some conclusions about my last experience in Abadiania which may be helpful to others: Underlying all these conclusions is the one big fact that we hold in our minds the original tiny mad idea that we have separated from God and are now separate and on the lamb from Him. All perception stems from this mistake in thought. All perception is illusion!!!!!!

 

(1) Humans must begin to understand that their consciousness is “creating” the human/alien event they conceive of as dualistic. If they are not aware of this, their “creation” is quite likely to be negative and cast the ETs in “bad”/”evil” roles within their creation. The aliens simply see themselves as helping us by being a part of our drama that we are creating and giving us a jump up in evolution.

(2) ETs view their part in our creativity thusly: to read our minds, determine the goals we have set for ourselves in our mental creations, and our over-all spiritual evolution, and assist us with them by providing virtual characters and situations which are helpful with these over-all goals.
(3) ETs seen thusly, are energetic nodes of possible evolutionary jumps that transcend the dualistic description of good or evil.
(4) Where humans have not transcended dualistic frames of reference–good/evil, heavenly/demonic, helpful/hurtful, et al, –the human experience with ETs becomes locked into the mind with traditional repression/denial techniques, often requiring professional assistance to retrieve repressed data and discover a deeper, non-dualistic lesson.
(5) Human/ET encounters offer an enormous potential for Human growth.
(6) Dr. Steven Greer has shown that when the minds of human participants are substantially free of dualism through meditation, that the experiences then that follow with ETs is not only “good,” but reality enhancing for both humans and ETs.  First non dualistic contact has been made and it is very good!!!!
(7) If you have had what appears to you to be a negative abduction experience with ETs, look what is in your own mind. Why did you create that? What can you learn from the virtual events the ETs gave you? What major (Higher Self) issues are you working on that could have given you the need to create the experience as you did? Can you now see the “terror” (if you experienced that from the ETs) to be something symbolically representing what you have not forgiven within yourself and which you are projecting outward? Your ability to see past dualistic categories is essential to come to peace and inner development. A Course in Miracles is constructed in such a way that it does not bring to our mind the terror of the original mistake in thought too soon. It would engender too much fear!!! I can vouch for that!! Rather, by the usage of the Workbook for Students, it takes us by the hand and slowly introduces us to what we have done, and then shows us how to undo the thought, still the mind, and listen to the voice of the inner Teacher. This is a far better way! Namaste!

 

Joe at Johns-1a

Which Option Do You Choose?

If I were speaking to a room full of a hundred people interested in spirituality and I said this to them, how would they respond? How would you respond? So here is the speech.

Were I to tell you that you could choose one of these options which one would it be?

One option would be that you as an individual do not truly exist. Instead you are a part of the Mind of God, undifferentiated, you are a part of the Light of God. You are part of the Ocean of God’s Love. You are just as God, spirit, not physical and you are not an individual, distinct, unique, with plans and goals of your own. You are a part of God, which is all-encompassing Love and Light for all eternity.

The other option would be that you ARE an individual and you are unique with your own opportunities to prove yourself. You have a soul which will live forever as an individual, but while you are on Earth, you sing the song, “I did it MY way.” The universe is a real artifact separate from you and you as a unique individual get to go out and explore it! Go to shopping malls! Buy new jeans! Get a car. Buy a house. Marry a hot guy or girl!

These are the two options. Which one would you choose? (I have actually done this so I know what happens! smile emoticon ) Most people pick the second option and as a reason they say, “It sounds boring to just be a part of God’s Light for all eternity.” Some people say, with a defiant tone, “I AM an individual, UNIQUE, and I can be whatever I want to be. Who cares about God!!” There may be one or two people who will choose the first option!!

From the point of view of A Course in Miracles, this shows how our minds have accepted the idea of separation. The Course tells us that the Son of God made the same mistake! He fell into a little dream that somehow he could be different from His Father. This all happened in the mind. There was no world yet. But when the idea came to him, he forgot to laugh at it. He took it seriously and that is the first split of the mind from Oneness. The Son now thinks he is outside of Heaven observing God and into his mind there come two voices: the first one is loud and brash. “Look what you have done? You have left Heaven! God gave you everything and you have just spit in his face! You have stolen the crown jewels. You have SINNED against your Father and do you think he is going to let you get away with this!!! He is going to hunt you down like the dirty dog you are and he is going to annihilate you! So you better scram, get out of here as fast and as far as you can and hide!”

The second voice is calm and quiet. It says, “Nothing has in truth happened. You just fell into a little dream. You can wake up now.” The first loud voice we will call the “ego” and the second quiet voice we will call the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit counsels the sleeping Son just to wake up and find himself as he must forever be, a part of Heaven sharing the Mind of Christ with his father. For some reason we will never know, the Son chose to believe the ego and when he did he chose the emotions of the ego; fear, sin and guilt. So the Son runs out of his mind, so to speak, and dreams (though he thinks he creates it) a physical universe which he enters by the Big Bang. But after the Big Bang, the Son splits into zillions and zillions of pieces of stuff: star dust, matter, planets, star systems, and life forms, including you and me. The Son would have lost all memory of his true state were it not for the fact that the Holy Spirit came with him into this universe as a memory of truth. Now each life form thinks itself independent and separated just as the ego thought caused it. The Course tells us that the body was made as a place God could enter not! The dreaming Son, made insane by the lies of the ego, now fears himself to be an individual, separated from God, living out a life based on sin, fear and guilt. Part of the ego’s lies makes him believe he is forever separate, forever UNIQUE, forever his own person, that this physical universe is his home and that he is A BODY, not a mind or a spirit. The ego creates worlds of special people, unique people, good people, bad people and tells his “creation” that duality is just the way things ARE. “It’s a tough world out there. You gotta get yours! I got mine!” The ego’s thought system rules the world it made:

specialness, good and bad
uniqueness for the individual
the body as the altar of “truth”—shopping malls, modern life, the pop world, the good world, the bad world. Conflict, war, aggression, depression et al–these all come from the ego’s thought system of separation.

So you can see why most people take the second option!!! It is the fall-out from the Son’s original mistake (IN HIS DREAM ONLY; It could never happen in Truth). Nothing real can be threatened! The Son cannot truly be different from his father. He cannot be an individual and hide in a body! That’s just a bad dream!!!. The way to awakening from the dream is to treat each other as brothers, to look for what we have in common, without proclaiming our “uniqueness,” which is a real illusion; to forgive some individuals who you think have wronged you, because it has not really happened in God’s world. As we forgive, we cast away grievances we have held; we begin to show more Light from the inside. We begin to be the Light of the world. We see ourselves as spirit, not bodies, and we hear the call to go Home to our true reality. We get weary of being individuals. We just want peace and Love. We have been running from a god we created out of our ego minds. We begin to feel the tug of Home pulling at us, like we were little kids and had been away at camp for a month, but now we just want to hug our mom or dad and drink hot chocolate. We HAVE been in this dream a long time and we do yearn to go home. In the time it has taken you to read this, perhaps you will revise your choice of the two options. Maybe somebody will break through and say “YES, I want option number ONE. I want to go back into that ocean of Love that is my Home. I will gladly hand over this silly little idea of Joe Shore as a unique individual and rejoin Oneness!

NOW THE GREAT PART is that this has already happened in Truth. It all got resolved in an instant in eternity, but now that resolution is playing itself out through the billions of years of “Time.” So NOW, we can do what the Son forgot to do, LAUGH at the silly, mad idea, that any part of God could break off and observe the Whole, outside of which is nothing; LAUGH that any part of God could hide in a body! LAUGH at the thought that you could be an individual and find something more interesting to be than GOD!!! grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon grin emoticon

Joseph Shore's photo.

Gratefulness

Gratefulness is one of the gifts of awareness. It is given to those who know silence and encounter the Holy Instant. Gratefulness remakes our perception. Where once we saw a sinful world, gratefulness shows us the children of God, lost as in a dream, perhaps, but sons of God nonetheless. Gratefulness remakes us from the inside out. In gratefulness we would find the ability to let loose old grievances we have held. How long we have held them and clung to them as though they were precious gifts, but now the tears of awareness come and show us the hurt that confused our minds. We can let go now. Every grievance we held against others was an attack on God, as surely as though we were storming the Kingdom with the deeds of war. Thank God, none of our attacks on God, can change Him. The Love that He is cannot be threatened. It cannot be avoided either, for there is no place in Truth where this Love is not. It is all-encompassing just as His will is all-encompassing and will be done. His Will is that you be just as you were created by Him. Made of His Love, sharing Himself to make you, you are a chip off the old block. You and I are the Love of God. That is all we are! Everything else is a little dream we fell into and stayed there but an instant. And now, in this Holy Instant, we have remembered who we are and must forever be. We are the Love and Light of God. When we have all remembered, the world will vanish as the illusion we made as a place that God could enter not, and we will find ourselves, not as bodies, but as rays of Light in the corona of God’s Presence. But for this moment, languor a while in gratefulness that your fears were wrong, that the world is not a terrible place where tortured and wounded creatures come to die. Bathe a while in this gratefulness and be remade.

Father we are coming Home. So long have we been lost in this dream of separateness. So long have we clung to little dreams of sin, fear and guilt. We are as your little children Father, your little toddlers who wandered into a fearful land and grew up almost forgetting you, almost forgetting who we are. But we could not forget your Love for we are made of it, and we had to see it sometime. We are coming up your steps Father as fast as our little toddler feet can carry us, longing now only for your embrace and our eternal Home.

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None but the lonely heart

None but the lonely heart

By Joseph Shore

(This story is fictional in form but factual in Truth. It is constructed from actual events I have experienced and actual situations I have encountered while working in deliverance and healing. Any resemblance to any historical person is purely coincidental)

It was about 4:00AM when I received that call that you never hope to get.  I was half-asleep when I answered the phone but was propelled to full alertness as I listened to the voice of one of my eighteen year old students hysterically pleading with me for help. Her mother had just committed suicide in a most graphic way. She had jumped off the Second Narrows Bridge that connects Vancouver with North Vancouver and plummeted hundreds of feet to the inlet below. I tried to calm Giada over the phone. Her parents were divorced and her father was currently in Europe. The grandparents had passed away and she was an only child. She was all alone. She told me that she was in her house and that the police were there. I told her that I would get in my car and be right over.  Giada lived in West Vancouver, normally about a 45 minute drive for me. But at this hour I drove my big Cadillac like a madman and reached her house in 20 minutes.  The police questioned me and wanted to know why I was there. About that time Giada came running out of the house and hugged me for dear life. She explained that I was her teacher and she had asked me to come.  I took her inside and tried to find a private place away from the police where we could talk. I made her some tea and sat her down in a comfortable chair. She was still semi-hysterical and I needed to calm her down more to be able to talk to her.  She continued to cry and just wanted me to hug her. I hugged her and just held on. In a few minutes she was more able to speak. I asked if her father had been contacted yet in Europe. She said that no one had been able to find him. He was on a private yacht with one of his clients.  I asked her to tell me whatever she wanted to say about her mother. I knew the family. I knew the divorce had been very hard on Giada since she was an only child. Her mother was Dr. Eva Morin, a clinical psychologist, who had been married to a man, Edward Johnson, a Canadian investor.  It was not a loving marriage. The two were apart more than they were together and they had little in common. Johnson was the kind of man who saw what he wanted and got it. He had met Eva at a socialite party in West Vancouver and fell in love with her. He courted her extravagantly with cruises, fine dining, and extravagant gifts. You might think that a clinical psychologist would know all the tricks but Eva needed loving attention. She allowed herself to fall in love with him and soon they were married. Giada came the next year.  Dr. Morin was a fine clinical psychologist but she had enormous personal problems stemming from an austere childhood devoid of love. She was born in Milan into a wealthy Italian family deeply rooted in European politics. Her father was a very important man and seemed to be narcissistically devoted to his political career. Eva had been totally unwanted. Her father wanted an abortion but the mother refused. Her father reacted by simply not admitting Eva existed. He never spoke to her or touched her. It was as though she didn’t exist.  When Eva was four she painted a picture that she wanted to give to him. She walked into his study to give him the picture but he was in a meeting and did not even acknowledge her. With a small wave of his hand, he had his body guard remove Eva from the room. Her mother was not much better to turn to. Her mother was an alcoholic and a socialite who had neither interest, sobriety, nor time for Eva. Eva grew up alone and unloved. She never had a hug or a kiss as a child; never had a birthday party or sleepover. She was neglected and severely emotionally abused. Is it any wonder that she became a clinical psychologist? She wanted to cure herself! Unfortunately, her wounding was so deep she had never found the courage to work on it with another therapist. Her colleagues would volunteer but she would push them away. She held all her wounding inside and tried to cover it up by helping others. It was a technique which was not working for her.  Her marriage to Johnson failed for many reasons, not the least of which was that she had never learned to love. She did not know what love really was. The early infatuation that she called “falling in love” did not last long and she found herself as lonely in her marriage as she had been as a child. She and Johnson held the marriage together until Giada was sixteen and then they divorced. Eva threw herself into her work as the only technique she knew for dealing with her deep problems. It was not working.

Giada was my private student in singing and she confided in me about all the problems in the house. I acted as a counselor to her, a role I often took with students and friends. I had been trained in pastoral counseling when I was a minister and I had also been a social worker in New York City where I counseled abused and neglected children as well as their abusive parents.  Counseling is a role that had come with me through life.

First, I made sure that Giada had a friend who could stay with her until her father could be located. Giada was 18 and would surely inherit the house, but what would her life be like all alone unless her father came back into her life?

The police finally left and Giada began to calm down a little bit. “It was all his fault, you know?”  I thought she was referring to her father. “No, not him,” she said. “It was all Richard’s fault.”

“Who is Richard,” I asked, wondering if we needed to make a call to another involved party.

“He was my mother’s patient,” Giada said. “And mom loved him.”

Here was a development that Giada had never mentioned to me. “Would you like to tell me what you know,” I asked.

“Of course I am going to tell. I have to tell somebody.”

“OK,” I said. Would you like a glass of water?”

“No,” she said. “I don’t need anything. I am just so glad you are here. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“That’s OK,” I said. “I am glad to be here for you.”

“My mom told me she had fallen in love with one of her patients,” Giada began. “Mom didn’t usually talk about her work with me. We were not really close. I mean, we were pretty much enemies in my teens, until maybe this year. She thawed a little bit.”

“OK, so she thawed a little bit?” I responded.

Giada continued: “I always knew mom was fucked up really bad from her childhood. Her dad never loved her. He wouldn’t even treat her as really there. And I know her mom was no prize either. Poor mom grew up without hugs or kisses, without any emotional support. I always knew she had this hole inside of her. She needed love so badly. I don’t know if she ever really loved daddy, but I sure know that daddy did not love or respect her. It made me feel really badly for them. And there I was caught in the middle and they would take their stuff out on me. It was so unfair. But I didn’t want them to get a divorce and I sure didn’t want mom to kill herself,” Giada said, crying.

After she calmed down, I asked her, “What role do you think Richard played in your mom’s problems?”

“Mom told me that Richard came to her to work on problems just like hers! He had not been loved as a child. When he was little, his parents would not even get a babysitter if they wanted to go out. They would just lock Richard in the closet! ‘Now be good! Mommy and daddy will be back in just a few minutes.’  Shit like that. Mom said his dad was a real piece of work. He thought he was an inventor and was always building things in the back yard. One time he even built a big sail boat and bought a trailer for it. One day he called the family together and said, ‘We are going to take a little sail on the ocean in our new boat. Everybody get in the truck!’ They drove to the ocean, off-loaded the boat and everybody got in. Richard’s dad did not know how to sail. Nobody did. His dad just thought he could figure it out on the ocean. They sailed for three or four hours and a big storm came up with huge waves and rain. Richard’s dad yelled at the family to all get under the tarp that was on deck.  They continued going into the storm and Richard raised his head out from under the tarp and said, ‘Are we all going to die now dad?’ Somehow they managed to get back to port.  Shit like that. Mom said Richard did not know what love was and he wanted to find out.”

“And so was their therapy successful,” I asked.

“Yeah, to a big extent, mom said. Richard began to make real progress. He was really beginning to open up. He started doing nice things for people. He said that he had hated his neighbor for years and didn’t like feeling that way anymore. So he knocked on his neighbor’s door and asked him if there was anything he could do for him! The guy thought it was a stupid joke so he said, ‘Sure. You wanna help me? You can wash my car.’ So Richard did. He washed the guy’s car. His neighbor was so stunned he thought Richard had gone nuts. But it made Richard feel really good. He would volunteer to help out in soup kitchens for the homeless. He was always bringing flowers to mom. NOBODY had ever brought her flowers. I think the roles got changed. Richard had really found something and he was giving it to mom.  She didn’t know what was happening. Richard was doing therapy on her. She would find little ways to get him to come over. Once she turned off the water and broke a pipe so she could ask Richard if he knew anything about plumbing. He came right over and fixed the pipe and mom asked him to stay for dinner. Richard really liked mom and he thought her therapy was really helping him. But mom liked Richard a lot more. She loved him. She was receiving more love from Richard than she had ever received before.”

“So what was the problem,” I asked.

“Well, my mom is 62. She had me really late. Richard was 30. I don’t think it ever occurred to Richard that my mom really loved him. He certainly could not imagine being in love with a 62 year old woman. But my mom was changing inside. She was a lot nicer to me and we actually started being friends. She stopped thinking of herself as being old. She really started to live for the first time because of the love she was getting through Richard. It was more like the love was there when Richard came and she just absorbed it like a dry sponge. I mean, she actually was happy in the morning and that had never happened.  She would hum little tunes around the house and work in her garden. She would play with the cat and she never paid any attention to him before! It was like she was really changing! Then she asked me one night, ‘What would you think of having Richard for a step dad?’ I said ‘WHAAAA?’ Then she stepped back and said, ‘Oh well, it was just a hypothetical question.’ But it was pretty obvious that she was in love with him. I didn’t see anything wrong with that. Mom deserved love after all she had been through. And I didn’t see anything wrong with a 62 year old woman loving a 30 year old man! Like, it happens, right?”

“It can happen,” I said.

“Right. Well mom was really happy. Richard would come over to dinner and tell us all about the people he had just helped and how good it made him feel. Mom would just sit there beaming at him and thanking him for sharing. She began to do loving things for Richard too. She knew his brothers and sisters were also really fucked up so she volunteered to counsel them for free! It made her feel good to do that and she brought that home to me. We began to have really wonderful talks. She spologized for not being a better mother to me, and she began to cry. She never cried before. I cried too and we just sat there in front of the fireplace crying together. God how I loved my mom right then,” Giada said as she began to cry again. She was sobbing, almost uncontrollably. I asked her if it were OK if I hugged her. She nodded yes and I hugged her in my arms as though she were a child.  When she had calmed I asked her, “Where did the problem come in for your mom and Richard?”

“Richard began to sense that mom loved him. At least that’s what mom said. At first he was just surprised and startled but then he began to feel uncomfortable. He started to cancel his therapy appointments for funny reasons, like his car kept having trouble just before an appointment or he would come down with a cold and just not want to come. Mom is a good therapist and I am sure she saw what was going on but she wanted Richard. She loved him as best as she knew how to love. You can’t criticize that. She could visualize a great relationship with Richard but Richard was hung up on the age thing. If mom had been 30 years old I am sure they would have gotten married and been really happy. But she wasn’t thirty and she was looking at love in a wholly different way than Richard. He was still looking for young chicks with big boobs who liked to screw, even though he was learning about another love by helping people. Richard hadn’t put the big picture together yet. Mom got sort of desperate. She would break something in the house and ask Richard if he could fix it. Richard would say he was too busy. She would ask him over to dinner and he would say he already had plans. And all this time my mom was still being faithful to her pledge to counsel Richard’s family for free. She never once tried to use that to try to manipulate Richard. She just suffered. Gradually she started to change back to the old sad mom. She wasn’t happy anymore in the morning. We wouldn’t talk at night. We started to fight. She would criticize me for my choices in boyfriends, what I wore, or the way my room looked. One night she was laying into me and I just starting crying very hard. I just blurted out, ‘Why don’t you go talk to Richard and tell him how you feel about him?’ She stopped still and just looked straight ahead for a minute and then left my room and walked out of the house. I heard the garage door open and her car pull out, and that is the last I ever saw of my mom.”

Giada was now sobbing harder than ever.  I comforted her as best I could.

The police came back and questioned me again in my involvement with the family. I asked them directly if the body had been recovered yet and if they had any information about what took place after Eva left her house. They answered that yes the body had been recovered and was in the city morgue awaiting identification. I asked them if that had to be done by Giada. They replied that usually a relative would need to make the ID but since Dr. Morin was well known clinically, one of her colleagues could do it. I prevailed upon them to call the counseling center where Eva worked and request that one of her colleagues indentify the body and release it to a local mortuary. Apparently, after Dr. Morin had left the house she drove to the apartment of Richard Langley where she roused him from sleep, demanding a meeting with him. According to Langley she blurted out that she loved him deeply and wanted to be with him the rest of her life. His reaction was one of shock and disgust. He said something like, “You woke me up in the middle of the night to dump shit like this on me?” He had no compassion for her and certainly could not envision marrying her. He told her to get the hell out of his apartment and go sleep it off!! Apparently, that was more than she could take. She drove her car to the Second Narrows Bridge, parked it and jumped.  When she did not return home Giada called the police. They had traced the car parked on the bridge to Dr. Morin and had come to the Morin house to investigate. Shortly thereafter a witness had called in a report of seeing a woman answering to the description of Dr. Morin jumping off the bridge. It was about this time that Giada called me and I arrived on the scene.

Now there were some practical things that I had to do. I asked Giada if she knew where her mother kept her check book and bank records. She took me to her mom’s dresser drawer where bank records were found.  I showed them to the police. Apparently Eva had been thinking of suicide earlier because she had made her banking accounts into joint accounts with Giada. The house and all its possessions had been signed over to joint ownership with Giada. There was no will. Giada was the sole owner of the estate and we could now plan for a funeral service. The checking account had over $300,000 in it and other accounts held much more. Giada could just write a check for the funeral. I explained all this to her. It was now 6:00AM but she could not sleep. We sat up together. At 10:00AM one of Eva’s colleagues, Dr. Lawrence Fogel, identified the body and we asked for it to be released to Park Lawn Mortuary in West Vancouver.  Giada’s father had been located in Morocco but declined any interest in returning to Vancouver! There I was, with an eighteen year old girl, planning a funeral for her mother. The family’s friends and Eva’s colleagues were notified and a simple funeral was conducted two days later. I road with Giada in the  limo to the funeral, burial and back to her house. The family doctor had prescribed sleeping medication for Giada but I also stayed over with her. She was just about to take her meds when she asked me, “Did I kill my mother? After all she just did what I told her to do.” Her face was full of pain and the tears were welling up again.

“No. It was not your fault. Your mother had been thinking about ending her life a long time. The cause of her pain was in her early life and she had carried around those past hurts her whole life.”

She began to cry. “Is my mother in hell now? I mean, we were never religious but I always heard that suicides go to hell.”  She burst into inconsolable tears. I thought to myself, “Dear God what am I to say to her now?” My inner voice said, “Stay in your compassion for her and you will be guided in what to say.”  I put my hand out to see if she wanted touch. She grabbed it with a desperate grip. “Do you want me to hug you,” I asked?  She nodded yes and I hugged her like a loving father does with a frightened child. Then I told her of people I have known who died and came back to tell of a life after death. One of the people was Sandra Rogers, a nurse, who had tried to kill herself. She was surprised to find herself out of her body as a spirit in another dimension of spirit. Instead of being condemned she was surrounded by Divine Beings who helped her to see her life fully. She came back to life and became a very loving, wiser person.

“But my mom is not coming back,” she said.

“I know. But it may give you comfort to know that people who kill themselves out of pain and confusion are not met in the afterlife with judgment. We can pray for your mother’s spirit to find peace. Would you like us to do that?”

Giada nodded yes. I closed my eyes and extended my mind into Spirit, inquiring of my guides about the soul of Dr. Eva Morin who had just passed over. Giada knew about my work in Spirit. We had discussed it in the course of our time in lessons.  The message I got was, “inquire again when she asks you.” This was sort of a cryptic message but I tried to stay true to it. I advised Giada that it would be good for her to sleep now. “In your sleep you can pray for your mom.” I really did not know what that meant. She took the sleeping meds and within an hour had managed to go to sleep. I sat up. I did not feel it was right for me to sleep.  After about three hours I was just beginning to nod off when I heard Giada’s voice say, “Mom? Mom?” I quickly came to her bed side. Giada was sitting up looking at the ceiling. “There was a woman here all shining and dressed in white. I thought she was mom but the woman said she was an angel. She asked us to pray for mom. Will you help me?” That was my cue. I extended my mind into Spirit once again and this time I was met by golden orbs of Light who I knew to be angels. They said, “Look there. She is down there.”  I looked down from the spirit dimension I had gone into and saw a dark layer that we call the Astral level.  There I saw her mother’s soul wrapped in layers of a dark substance. I asked two of the angels to take me there and in that instant we were there. She was surrounded by malicious spirits who enjoyed the state she was in. But at the sight of the golden orbs with me they fled. She was in a fetal position, rocking back and forth, saying something over and over again. I asked the angels to let me hear what she was saying. Over and over again, she repeated the words, “Nothing good will ever happen for me ever again.” I was filled with such pain, the angels had to sustain me. “Help her,” I shouted to them. They conveyed to me telepathically,” Call in the missionary angels to help.” I did not know who they were at that time, but I had faith and called for them. Instantly that spirit space was filled with the most amazing Light Beings I have ever seen. It was their job to rescue lost souls from the hell minds had made. In the deepest part of hell, no souls are alone. These angels are there, trying to turn their gaze upwards to the Light. As I stood in their presence I also had hold of Giada’s hand. “Pray for your mom right now,” I screamed. These divine Beings moved into that Astral layer as though it were not there. They unwrapped Eva’s soul from that bondage. As they did Eva’s eyes opened and all the Light of Heaven moved into her soul, washing out all of that pain and illusion. A great smile came to her face. Down below Giada screamed, “I love you mom. GO, GO, GO. You will find what you have always been looking for.”  Those amazing Beings took her under each arm and ascended with her. Giada saw her too as she ascended and we both gave thanks. As I came back to Giada’s bedside, all her tears were gone. There was just the same bright smile that I had seen on Eva’s face.  “My mother is in heaven,” she exclaimed. Words failed me. I just cried tears of gratefulness, for in the darkest hour for both Giada and her mom, Love had come at last to show its presence. All pain had been wiped away as easily as a breeze disperses a little cloud. Love truly is all that is real. Everything which is of fear and pain is an illusion which confused minds have miscreated. Love truly is present. It is our natural inheritance. The pain and confusion we miscreate on earth cannot harm us in truth. Only Love is real and nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists in truth. We are truly as God created us. No cloud of illusion can be left to obscure the truth of God’s creation.

In the days that followed this great event of ascendance Giada came to peace within herself. Her father returned from Morocco and begged for her forgiveness. The angels had touched him as well. They eventually sold the big house and moved into a smaller house in the interior of British Columbia. Giada has entered Nursing School and her father works at home.

Amazing are the works of peace and blessed are they who know Love’s Presence.

Jerome Hines and My Story

This is part of my story of being a young opera singer in New York.

In the fall of 1975 I made the big move to New York. Tulsa had cradled me and brought me along, but now was the time to head on up to the big time. As in everything else, I was helped by my unseen “Friend.” Things just seemed to fall into place. Lynn Fann, the same friend who introduced me to opera in seminary, had introduced me to his friends in New York who shared an apartment on the upper West side of Manhattan near Columbia University. By the time I was ready to move to New York, one of them was ready to vacate, leaving a vacancy for me. The terrible job of searching for an apartment in New York was spared me. It was an acceptable area, on the border of safety. I loved being right next to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I spent many days meandering through the beautiful chapels much the way I had meandered through the garden during childhood. It seemed that everything was being arranged for me, including the proximity of this wonderful cathedral.

One of the first things I did in New York was to arrange for an audition with Jerome Hines of the Metropolitan Opera, that operatic basso par excellence who had provided me with the model voice during my seminary years. In theological seminary, a fellow student, Lynn Fann, had introduced me to opera. I had never really heard it before. In Carthage we knew about the “Grand Ole Opery” but that was about it. I listened to all of the great singers of the second golden age of singing with Lynn. Something in their sound made me sit up and pay attention, especially the singing of the great bass, Jerome Hines, partly because he was also a Christian who would sing at the Salvation Army on skid-row in New York when he wasn’t singing at the Met. His voice and his life became a model for me. Now in 1975 I was going to get to sing for him. My old teacher from college, Ted Harris, had been instrumental. Ted told me that Hines’ opera company was going to be auditioning for a baritone to take the place of Met baritone, Calvin Marsh, for a production of Hines’ opera on the life of Jesus, I Am The Way, to be staged in April 1976 in Columbus Ohio. Ted arranged for me to talk to the stage director, Derek de Cambra, a spunky, enthusiastic fellow with a British accent who had a love for beautiful singing. I was to go over to New Jersey to audition directly for Hines himself. I was finally going to meet the wonderful singer whose voice excited me so much in seminary. In those days I was not really nervous. I was excited and ready to go. My voice could do anything and I could pound on it for hours, if necessary, and it would still be fine for the next outing. I prepared my benchmark arias that had won the Met auditions for me and took a train, then a bus, to the New Jersey audition site. It was a small room to sing in. Hines was seated only a few feet from me. Still, I went eagerly to the task and sang Macbeth’s last act aria, “Pieta, rispetto, amore,” which had won for me the Midwestern Finals of the Met Auditions, interpolating a long, sustained, high A flat at the end. Hines was visibly impressed and began talking about his recording of Macbeth with Leonard Warren. He was warm and cordial but every bit the opera star that I expected him to be. He talked several minutes about great baritones he had known and how favorably my voice compared. I could not have asked for a more favorable review from one I idolized so. I got the part and began preparing the role. The baritone I was replacing, Calvin Marsh, was a Met baritone with a huge voice, beautiful color, commanding range, and a veteran. He was a tough act to follow. My voice was much different than his, darker, almost a bass-baritone compared to his, yet more lyrical because of youth. My old college teacher, Ted Harris, was to sing the bass part of the villain, Eliakim, one of the chief priests (a fictitious character), who conspires with Judas to capture Jesus. I was going to get to see two dreams come true, to sing with my teacher and my idol. In the spring of 1976, after performances of “Tonio” in I Pagliacci in Tucson with the Arizona Opera, and a cross-country concert tour for Columbia Artist’s Community Concerts, I headed for Columbus Ohio, my ego beginning to inflate from the heady rushes of early successes. I still heard the inner Voice, but I did not remember “who” or “what” it was, and I certainly was not cultivating a habit of reliance on it for guidance. At times I would do what it said, and at times I wouldn’t. Each time I obeyed, I was amazed at the eerie way in which things fell together for my benefit.

For example, In 1975 I had made the finals of the highly prestigious WGN-Illinois Opera Guild Auditions of the Air in Chicago but had not won. The Voice told me in strong “words” that if I entered again in 1976 I could win them. I entered and easily passed the first two rounds. The auditions director, Dick Jones of WGN Radio, Chicago, really liked my voice and thought my singing had improved over the previous year. Some time later I was notified that I was to sing in the finals at the Chicago Lyric Opera House. There was only a small problem. I was in the middle of a cross-country concert tour with a trio, performing from town to town. I discussed my feelings about the audition with my colleagues, Roger and Debbie Lucas, and they were supportive in anything I chose to do. The Voice was very strong that I had to find a way to go to the finals, and that I would win. The trio’s schedule just worked out that we had a day’s travel, no concert, on the day of the finals. After our performance in Pueblo Colorado I caught a flight to Chicago, got into the hotel about 4:00AM for five hours sleep and showed up at the stage door of the Chicago Lyric Opera House at 11:00AM, ready to sing. I sang my first aria, “Cortigiani vil razza dannata” from Verdi’s Rigoletto, and was pleased with the way it went. But for the next round, the judges got to pick an aria from my prepared repertoire. I “knew” that if they picked the prologue to I Pagliacci, I should be one of the two winners chosen. The Voice told me that I would be the second winner. The judges chose the prologue. I sang it with full gusto, including a resounding high A flat, and left the stage feeling good. I could not stay for the end of the auditions. I had to run to the airport immediately to catch a plane to Traverse City Michigan to rejoin my concert trio for a performance that night. When I arrived in Traverse City, I called back to Chicago and found that I had been named the second winner.

Wouldn’t you think that experiences such as these should have been enough to teach me to listen to that inner Voice and always obey it? Apparently they weren’t, because I didn’t. I still thought my rational intellect was the most important part of me to listen to, and I liked the heady rush of the ego as I saw my name up in lights, doing things my way, with my voice. I soon began believing all my publicity and was convinced that I belonged in the Tsar’s court in old St. Petersburg and that by divine right, of course.

By the time I arrived in Columbus Ohio in April 1976 to begin rehearsals for I Am The Way, I was full of it, and I don’t mean the way, the truth, and the life, but a substance with a lot more unpleasant odor to it! I had just gone up to my hotel room and unpacked when the telephone rang. It was one of the other cast members who wanted to come up and say hello. I felt mildly irritated at being disturbed but magnanimously allowed him to come up to the room. He was a very down to earth fellow; full of something I had once known, not too long ago, sincerity and thanksgiving. He was singing the tiny part of “Thomas”, and when I say tiny, I mean tiny. He literally had only a couple of lines to sing in the whole show! His face beamed with joy as he described his pilgrimage from the Deep South, at his own expense, just to sing his two lines. By the time he finished visiting with me I had begun to feel very ashamed of myself for the egotism I had allowed to grow inside me, replacing my gratitude to God for the voice I was given. I was making my own ego world-view of specialness, rather that viewing my voice as a gift to give to others. I prayed. I apologized and asked for renewed innocence. The Voice was right there. It had gone nowhere. Only I had changed. The Voice said, “Just keep on going the way you are going now and I will have you sing for Presidents and Kings.” It was a startling message! By this time, I was supposed to go down to the lobby to meet the Director. I grabbed my score and headed for the elevator. No sooner had I reached the elevator than did the doors open. Inside it stood Jimmy Carter. He extended his hand saying, “I just wanted to shake hands.” We rode down to the lobby together in silence. You have to understand that in April of 1976, Jimmy Carter, running for the Democratic nomination for President, was still a long-shot. Nobody thought he would get the nomination and nobody dreamed he would be elected President of the United States. As we exited the elevator, I watched him go, and said another quiet “thank you” to God for his faithfulness, and for the internal Voice which always spoke for truth, on my behalf. I knew Jimmy Carter was going to be President of the United States. And maybe if, just if, I did what the Voice said, kept on going the way I was going, then I might even get to sing for him!

During rehearsals of I Am The Way, I met many wonderful people who were going to stay with me throughout the years as close personal friends. The rehearsal period itself was rewarding because, in addition to the good staging by Derek De Cambra, Hines himself did some of the dramatic coaching, working with the singers on subtle acting points, “camera angles”, Chris Lachonas, a veteran, called them. This stayed with me my whole career as I tried to use a style of acting that was as suitable for television as it was for the stage. The music of I Am The Way, all composed by Hines himself–an extraordinary feat for a singer, not trained in composition–shows a little of every role he ever sang. The scene called “The Woman at the Well” shows a lot of the playfulness of the Bohemian characters in Puccini’s opera La Boheme, which Jerry sang many, many times. In fact during the bleak years at the Met when Rudolf Bing was trying to force him out, Jerry was cut down to one performance a season of “Colline” in La Boheme. Still, he stuck it out and had a renaissance long after Bing had retired. The scene called “The Last Supper” showed a lot of Wagner influence, especially Parsifal, in which Jerry sang the role of “Gurnemanz.” I did not view this negatively. It seemed inescapable to me that if an opera singer were to compose an opera himself, it would inevitably show the influence of everything he had sung. And the music he composed was beautiful, full of sweeping melodies and beautifully constructed scenes. What gave it an impact was Jerome Hines himself! There was that enormous, richer than rich, bass voice with incomparable grandeur, being used in the role of Jesus. What more could anyone ask for? In 1976, Hines was 55 years old and his voice was still at the peak of his powers. He sailed through the performance with ease and assurance. I used every second as an opportunity to listen, observe, and learn, how he made an entrance, how he related to the other characters on stage, most of all, how he sounded! In one scene called, “At Bethany,” my character, “Simon Peter”, sits right beside Jesus as he sings the Lord’s Prayer. Looking up at Jerome Hines, hearing that enormous voice so close to my ear, I gave thanks to God for His incredible ways. And then the performance was over and the company packed up to go back to New York, the singers back to their other careers. I went to the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York to sing with the Symphony and prepare for my first Rigoletto in the fall of 1976 for the Houston Grand Opera. As a young singer, I had no rational reason to believe I could sing this, the greatest of Italian baritone roles, but the Voice said that I could do it and I had agreed when I got a letter from the General Manager asking me to do the part. The letter came “out of the blue,” and I knew, even then, that this was something I was destined to do.

The Hines Company performed I Am The Way only once a year. The following year, 1977, Calvin Marsh returned to the role of Simon Peter, leaving me without a role. Not to be outdone, I suggested to Jerry that I play the role of the heavy, “Eliakim,” the chief priest who conspires with Judas. Jerry had always had difficulty casting it because of the way it was composed. As I was told the story, originally, the role had no aria. But when Jerry approached the great basso, Ezio Flagello, to sing the role, Flagello refused unless an aria were written for the character. Ever the one-upsman, Hines said, “All right. I’ll compose you an aria, but it’s going to be so hard you won’t be able to sing it.” The result was Eliakim’s long aria which is loud and very high for any bass, ending on a long, sustained high F sharp, not territory that basses like to hang around in, even a great bass like Flagello. He never sang the part again, and Jerry went through bass after bass trying to find someone who could sing it. I suggested that I could sing it. Even though I was a baritone rather than a bass, I had enough richness in the voice that I could carry its heavy insinuations. Learning my own one-upsmanship I said, “but you have to transpose the aria up one half step for me.” Hines laughed and agreed, so off I went to Birmingham to sing Eliakim, following in other years to different cities. In Cleveland in 1978, I was rehearsing the big aria with Hines himself at the piano, accompanying. After I finished, Hines was silent for quite a long while. Finally he said, “I wish we could have recorded that. I’ve never heard anyone sing my music the way you do.” It was the most wonderful tribute I could have been given by this man whose singing meant so much to me, and whom I had come to love so dearly. Some years were difficult though. Two years later, November 1980 in Edmonton, Alberta I had a dangerously close dovetail of engagements. I ended a string of performances of “Germont” in Verdi’s La Traviata with the Arizona Opera, the evening before dress rehearsal for I Am The Way. The Director was confident of my ability to do the role without rehearsal by this point, so I flew from the desert of Phoenix right after the last performance of La Traviata to the Nov. cold of Edmonton! I was exhausted and slept until 4:30 in the afternoon with the dress rehearsal at 8:00PM. Still, I felt ready to go, and during one scene I interpolated a high B flat! For the non-singers reading this, a high B flat is the pinnacle note for a tenor, and is virtually never attempted by a baritone. Once, the Met’s star baritone, Sherrill Milnes, had recorded a high B flat, but I don’t recall him ever singing one on stage. Why did I do it? Because I could! It was that much ego, nothing deeper. Hines was in the audience for the rehearsal and he let me know what a good note it was. I was happy, justified in my specialness. But the next night was performance. There would be no day off for rest as was usually the case, and I desperately needed a day off for rest. Edmonton in the winter is colder than anything I had ever experienced! It is so cold that the water particles in the air freeze into ice crystals which can cut your lungs when you breathe! I had known cold in Missouri but nothing like this, and I was coming straight from balmy Phoenix. My body was in shock and tired. That night after rehearsal I slept very poorly. I was too tired to sleep and wished that I had brought along the singer’s friend, “restoril”, to induce a good night’s sleep. But I hadn’t. I lay tossing and turning all night, finally drifting off to light sleep early towards dawn, only to be awakened early by the maid who did not want to believe the “do not disturb sign” posted on the door. Furious at her for disturbing my specialness, I screamed at her from the bed to get out and tried to go back to sleep, all to no avail. I was up. After two pots of coffee I began to vocalize a little and did not like what I felt. That afternoon was no better. Still, the show must go on, and my voice had never really failed me before…except on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera when I had muffed a high A flat. Still, I was seasoned now, and I had not cracked on a note in public in the six years since. Staying with my typical performance schedule, I found the nearest steak and potatoes around 4:30 PM and began to tank up for the evening performance. That evening I sang the difficult aria OK but the voice still seemed off, stiff and thick. More importantly, my tenacious clinging to ego specialness had cut off my ability to hear the internal Voice that guided me in everything. The time in the scene came where I had interpolated the high B flat the night before. Should I do it again, in performance? As soon as the question flashed through my mind, I heard the internal Voice say “No.” Oh well, I would do it anyway! I went up for the special high note, hit it…and it cracked! Not to be outdone, I tried to regain it and it cracked again!! The curtain mercifully descended and I made my way, like a scalded dog, as quickly as possible through the labyrinths of back stage corridors, eyes to the floor, to my dressing room. I was mortified, disgraced. I, Joseph Shore, one of the greatest baritones in the world, had cracked on stage! Standing in the hall, barring my refuge into my dressing room was Hines, in costume as Jesus, making his way to the stage, enormous grin on his face, laughter ready to commence at any moment. He began to chuckle, “That just makes you human,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. But remember from now on, when you crack a note, get off of it and let it go. I remember when Set Svanholm, at the Met, cracked on the high B flat at the end of ‘Celeste Aida.’ He cracked and tried to get it back and cracked again, just like you did.” Somehow it did not make me feel better. I brooded. How I brooded. I spent the night in the dressing room trying to avoid all conversation. My specialness had been wounded and I was not eager to address any re-shaping of my image. Years later, Hines said to me, “You know, I was glad to hear you crack on that high B flat because it proved to me you were human. You always sang like someone who wasn’t human.” I took it as a compliment. But for fourteen years he never let me forget that I had cracked on a high B flat. I never let myself forget it either!

I did Eliakim again the next year in Allentown Pennsylvania, and it went extremely well, but then I stopped singing I Am the Way. I told myself that I was tired of singing the villain. But wasn’t it really because I had cracked on a high note and injured my feelings of specialness? In the intervening years, I missed my friends terribly. I missed Jerry. I missed I Am The Way. During the years of 1982-1990, a lot of water went under the bridge professionally, new roles at new opera houses, but there was some lesson I was not learning. Things were not going the way they were supposed to go. The performances got better and better artistically, but the engagements were getting fewer and fewer. I thought I knew what the world was supposed to be like, but I didn’t! Then in 1994 I found myself near death. The internal Voice returned with great strength. I had a four-month-long life review as I waited, near death, 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 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 just 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. Even though I could not be there, we had had our farewell.

Around this same time, I got an unexpected phone call one day from my old friend, Derek de Cambra, Jerry Hines’s stage director for I Am The Way. He said that the company was doing I Am The Way in Benton Harbor, Michigan next year, 1995, and would I do the role of Eliakim again. The Voice shouted “yes,” and I immediately agreed. I was so happy to be back in I Am The Way. Jerry had done a wonderful job in keeping his voice all these years. He would be 74 years old in 1995! What a miracle to keep his voice! Few singers had accomplished that. No basses, to my knowledge. I was happy, truly happy to be back in I Am The Way. The Holy Spirit was that Voice which always spoke for truth and He must have something there for me to do, something for me to learn, some service for me to render to others, I thought. I could not know more at that point. I began to restudy the role of Eliakim and sing it back into my voice. The last time I had sung it had been the fateful performance in Edmonton! That was out of my mind now like a bad joke. I saw the silliness of the ego’s distorted view of things. I just wanted to go back to old friends! This time I took with me a young voice student who had heard all of my stories of the great singers of the previous era, called the Second Golden Age of Singing. I was passing on my love of singing and my love for Jerome Hines to another generation.

When I arrived in Benton Harbor it was indeed like a reunion with long lost friends. How I loved them. How they helped me to remember the Light. Jerome looked like a sight for sore eyes. Even his slight infirmities of age could not make him look old to me. But he was not singing in rehearsals and I could tell he was worried about his voice. He and I got together for an afternoon of vocalizing the way we had done in earlier years. They were wonderful times for me, learning experiences, as I observed this supremely great singer go through the vocal calisthenics necessary to sing grand opera. But this time Hines’ voice was not working. The whole cast knew it and we were all worried. Jerry had been in trouble before vocally and always made it through the performance. One time in Cleveland we finished a final dress rehearsal about 2:00AM. Jerry wanted to go out to an all night restaurant near the lake. It was mid winter and freezing cold in Cleveland. But what Jerry wants, Jerry gets, so off the whole crew went. I noticed that Jerry was not even wearing a coat, and I said, “Jerry, what’s the matter with you? Put a coat on!” “Ah, let your body breeeeeathe,” He vocalized in Hinse-ian tones. “I don’t need a coat!” We went to the restaurant and had a feast, whooped it up in grand fashion. The next morning Jerry called the conductor to his hotel room in a panic that his voice didn’t feel good for the show the next night. He even looked at his own vocal cords with a homemade device and saw that they were pink and swollen. Ever inventive, Jerry had taken two dental mirrors and welded them together with just the right curvature so that he could look at his own vocal cords! Panic ensued within the Directoral staff, but we all, Jerry included, managed to pull the show out of the fire.

This time in Benton Harbor was different. There was something seriously wrong with Jerry Hines’ voice. We made it to the final dress rehearsal. I had already counseled myself to end the “infamous” scene on a lower pitch than the interpolated high B flat! I would sing a high F instead, which is plenty high and would give me no trouble. I would not entertain any notions of interpolating ego notes. I had learned my lesson! Hines watched the rehearsal from out in front. At the end of my scene He came up to me and said, “Good job, Joe, but I was really a little disappointed that you didn’t take the high B flat!” I couldn’t believe my ears. He wasn’t joking. He was serious! I made a joke of it and said, “Well, I don’t know, I’ll have to ask HIM,” pointing upwards. “It’s HIS voice. I’m just the caretaker of it. I’d have to get the OK from HIM.” Jerry smiled and went back to observe the coming scene. We made it to opening night. Hines limped through the performance, sounding ill. The rest of the cast did a fine job. I ended my scene on the high F. All went well. We had one day of rest and then a Sunday matinee at 2:00PM. Matinees are difficult for all singers. We are accustomed to preparing our voices for an 8:00PM curtain, not 2:00PM! I hated matinees. In my earlier days of incessant bravado I had plunged into them full voice, thinking nothing of it. In the fall of 1979 I had performed the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth with the Arizona Opera Company. We finished the dress rehearsal about 2:00AM, and like Hines, I wanted to go out and get something to eat. I ate a huge plate of rare prime rib. By the time I arrived back at the house where I was staying, my gluttony was telling the tale. I threw up everything and continued to throw up for an hour. I got to sleep about 5:00AM., got up at 7:30AM, went to the theatre at 8:30AM and performed a “matinee” at 9:30AM of Macbeth for school children. It was one of the best performances I ever gave! But I still hated “matinees.”

This time was different. Hines was in real trouble. On his day off he had gone to a doctor to have ultra sound therapy performed on his larynx, but it was to no avail. He seemed totally laryngitic. There was no understudy. Jerry would have to go on or we would have to cancel the performance, which meant financial disaster. Jerry went on. He barely made it through his first big scene of “The Woman at the Well.” My scene as Eliakim was next. I sailed through the aria better than ever, holding a long sustained high G towards the end, finally ending on an optional low F sharp. The infamous scene was next, but I was not nervous, I had already decided not to interpolate the high B flat. I had sung the high F the previous performance and it had been more than sufficient. As Mary Magdalene sang her long monologue, I sat back in my throne-chair and played with the character, Eliakim. Finally the end of her aria arrived. I had two beats before I was to sing the infamous words which ended the scene, “Is the whole world gone mad!” Usually those two beats fly at you like the wind and you have just enough time to take your breath and sing the notes. But this time, time itself seemed to slow down. Those two beats became an eternity. What was I to do with all this luxury of time? The Voice said, “Take the high B flat.” I could not believe it. There was plenty of time for an argument. “What? I’m not doing that again, no way.” The Voice was very clear, “Take the high B flat.” Something I had learned made it easy for me to agree. I went up for the high B flat. It was not only there, it was there in spades! I held it forever. This time there would be no scalded dog, hiding his head as he crept through the halls to his dressing room. Slowly and happily I walked off stage as my colleagues said things singers say to one another after a good job: “Wow, what a note!” “Holy cow, what did you eat? I want some of it.” On my triumphant way down the hall I passed Jerry’s dressing room. The door was open. He sat disconsolate at his make-up table. I could see that he was worried and afraid of the next scene coming up. It was the “At Bethany” scene and he had to sing the Lord’s Prayer which had always given him trouble, even in good voice. I walked into his room. He smiled faintly and said, “So the B flat worked tonight?” Without thinking I said, “I sang that high B flat for you so that you would know that if I can sing a high B flat, without cracking, you can make it through this next scene!” His face dropped and showed his true feelings of insecurity. “But how am I going to make it through it?” He said. “Dear God,” I thought, “what am I supposed to say to this man, my hero and mentor?” The words came tumbling out my mouth without any thought, “Just go out there, breathe deeply and don’t push!” Those words seemed to rally him. “All right,” he said, and headed for the stage. During the scene, the Voice told me to position myself in the wings, unnoticed by the audience, but in such a way that I had clear view of the stage. The Voice said that I was to pray for Jerry to be given strength. I did, and I saw that it was helping him get through the scene. Finally he made it to the big aria, Jesus’ Lord’s Prayer. Hines did what I said. He breathed deeply, taking many more breaths than he needed, and he didn’t push! He made it through. As the curtain descended, a happy Hines almost collapsed into the arms of his colleagues as they congratulated him. “I just did what Joe Shore told me,” he said, “And it got me through.”

For the rest of the opera, since my character does not appear with Jesus, I stood in the wings and prayed for Jerome. He gained in strength. During the difficult “Last Supper” scene, the Director came into the wings with a look of worry on his face, “He’s struggling,” He said. “Don’t worry,” I said with a smile. “He’s going to make it through just fine,” And he did. I knew why I was supposed to go to Benton Harbor. It was my love for Jerome Hines that was the lesson. That love is the love Jesus would have us learn. It is the same love I received from my grandparents and parents. It is the love that God gives us as His own. Receive it. It is there, waiting for us to grasp it in every learning experience, and every experience is a learning experience. Had I learned my lesson earlier, had I not gotten off course, I am sure I would have gotten to sing for Jimmy Carter! Nevertheless, I sang for Congressmen, Senators, Governors, the Russian Diplomatic Mission to the UN, and Consuls to several countries.

Months later, the Voice told me to call Jerome and let him know that I not only wanted to perform the role of “Simon Peter” again, but that I was supposed to. I knew Jerry would understand. I made the call. It just so happened that the Hines Company was going to be doing I Am The Way in June 1996 in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, but the role of “Peter” was already taken by one of Jerry’s students from OMTI (Opera Music Theatre International). “Put me on standby,” I said, “You never know. This guy may not be able to do it.” He agreed. A short time later, the Director called me with the news that Mark Delavan could not do the part and it was mine. Twenty years had passed since I sang the role of “Peter,” but I knew it. Jerry was in fine voice. This time, my character sat at the Last Supper table with Jesus. As I looked at Jerry I knew that the love I have for him is the message of Jesus, that we should love one-another even as He loved us; and “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” The circle was complete.

hines and i, 1995 i am the way