Thursday, November 19, 2009

Course Note #30: And so you want to write?

Last night I talked on the phone with a dear friend. She shared with me that she is feeling frustrated because she has several ideas for books to write, but then just spent the past two hours fooling around on the internet. She felt that she was not going forth with her endeavors due to fear.
I shared with her that I too have been feeling that I am letting things that I want to write fall by the wayside. While I agreed that we humans often don’t live up to our Divine potential due to fear, I suggested that thinking we have to do these things right now – maybe that’s coming from ego.
This morning I spent time with Spirit in gratitude, and then was urged to go on a walk with my dog. I do various forms of exercise on a weekly basis, but for some reason, it’s when I go on long walks that I receive amazing insights from my inner teacher.
Holy Spirit reminded me of the conversation with my friend last night, and then reminded me of a passage in NTI on resistance:

Within you there is great willingness to do all that I ask you to do. And within you there is a great resistance that guides you away from the practice I ask you to seek. Let us look at your resistance, that you may be aware of its ploys. Then you will be able to recognize it and to choose, not with resistance, but with your willingness.
                   Your resistance will distract you away from Me. It will give you thoughts that seem to need to be thought, problems to think through and solve. It will give you things to do that must be done if you are to be seen as worthy by the outside world… (Emphasis provided for my benefit by Holy Spirit. ;)

I spent ten years from start to published in the process of writing my book, “Oh My God. It’s Me!” It’s not that the book is so deep that it required all that time; rather it was during those years that I was learning to live what I was writing about. In retrospect it’s obvious how necessary those years were to not only the growth of the book, but to my inner growth as well.
I have many ideas that I want to write about, but don’t seem to find the time to sit down and write. Yet, when I’m in tune with Spirit, I am often inspired to sit down and write something I hadn’t even thought about writing, like right now!
That voice within our head that chatters incessantly about how we must be bigger, better, best is the voice of resistance. It is the Divine Presence within that whispers, “Be Still.”
I spent time in the stillness this morning and brought it with me on my walk, and then I received guidance that was directly related to the frustration my friend and I were feeling last night.
A few months ago I felt that I was given the title for my next book, and consequently the subject matter. This morning I thought about the fact that intellectually I know enough spiritual truth to write that book now; however, I have not yet integrated the subject on enough of an experiential level to write about it. At least for me, Holy Spirit requires that I live whatever I am writing or speaking about. That takes time because healing is a process of remembering who I am.
As I reflected on my conversation last night with my friend, I realized that over the years I have sometimes felt that urgency to get something done now because it’s not like I’m getting any younger! However, I’ve learned from experience that the more I can stay focused on the truth of who I am, if Spirit wants to express something through me, there’s little I can do to stop it. The more I stay focused on the things to do that must be done if I am to be seen as worthy by the outside world, the less I actually get done, and thus I stay stuck in frustration – struggling with my self.
What’s the answer? Once again I am prompted to NTI:
What are you to do when tempted by your own resistance? Notice it for what it is. do not let it disguise itself as something important. See it as resistance and call it by its name. Then give it to Me, backed by the strength of your willingness. Together, we will redirect your attention to the path you have set on.
So I recognize that what I’ve written here is advice from Holy Spirit to me, my friend and now you. Stay focused on the truth of who you are as God created you, and all that needs to be done through you, will be. Enjoy your Self today.
The passages on resistance are from:Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament, NTI Luke 11:14-28.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Course Note #29: Everyday Forgiveness

The practice of forgiveness has totally changed my life. It will change yours too. No other spiritual practice is more misunderstood than that of forgiveness. Forgiveness is choosing another way to look at the world, but it’s often thought to be about changing someone or condoning wrong behavior. We can fall into thinking, "I was hurt. I was betrayed. What he did was wrong, and I just can't forgive him. If I forgive, I am saying that what he did was not wrong."
A woman in her 60s told me that she has not spoken to her mother for many years because her mother had been so abusive in her childhood. I mentioned forgiveness. She vehemently replied, "If I forgive her she wins, and I lose!"
"No," I said, "if you don't forgive her, she wins and you lose." I later realized that when we harbor unforgiveness -- no one wins.
Someone else told me that she didn’t think that forgiveness worked because, “I’ve forgiven my husband and he hasn’t changed!”
“You don’t forgive him so that he’ll change,” I replied. “You forgive him so that you’ll change!” We both had a good laugh over that.
The most important understanding I have come to about forgiveness is that it doesn’t have to do with another person. It’s not about “them”. Forgiveness heals my mind.
In the early 90s when I first started studying and reading A Course in Miracles, I recall that one day I ruminated on thoughts about how it just didn’t seem to apply to all the issues in my life. As I sat there in frustration, I opened the book to this: You think that this course is not specific enough to your life, and maybe that’s because you’re not doing what it says.
After that I began to take seriously: “What does it say?” The Course tells us that forgiveness is our function here on earth. Consequently, we will have plenty of opportunities to practice it! I began to ask my inner teacher to teach me how to forgive, and over the years I have been guided to various ways to practice forgiveness.
No matter what I think is going on out there, Holy Spirit tells me that when I forgive, I will see it differently. In my early years with the Course, I couldn’t see how forgiveness could possibly solve my money, body and business problems. But as I practiced forgiveness, I learned that it is not about changing form.
Lesson 122 in the Course says, “Forgiveness offers everything I want. What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth? All this forgiveness offers you, and more.”
You might think that you want that winning lottery ticket, a perfect mate or whatever else. I have gotten many of those things that I thought I wanted, and fun as it may have been, still, it really didn’t facilitate what only forgiveness offers.
Forgiveness is the willingness to let go of the ego’s interpretation of events and choose Love’s interpretation. Forgiveness is the return of the mind to the awareness of God.
While meditation, prayer, reading or study is very helpful, transformation is facilitated through willingness to practice forgiveness everyday. Start with the grievance du jour.
If the "problem of the day" is that you’re experiencing lack of money, or fear about losing a job, how does forgiveness change that? Forgiveness is not about healing our bodies or our bank account it’s about returning our mind to peace. Simply be willing to see that any perception of lack or fear comes from unforgiveness. Remember what unforgiveness is: a mind unaware of the presence of God.
Forgiveness returns us to our right mind -- our true identity. In recognition of who I am in truth, I cannot experience lack or fear, I can only experience peace. We are not here to suffer, but to forgive ourselves for forgetting who we are. There is a way to look on everything that lets it be an opportunity to replace fear with Love. When we return our mind to the awareness of God it is impossible to feel fear or lack.
Forgiveness is not something you do once and then experience a healed life. It is a process and a practice. Our minds are filled with grievances, which is why we must practice every single day. Every day? Absolutely.
There’s a prayer in the Course that I call the “forgiveness prayer”. Let’s practice right now. Call to mind someone whom you are holding grievances toward (the one you just thought of will do). As you think of him or her be willing to be free:
I give you ___ to the Holy spirit as part of myself.
I know that you will be released,
unless I want to use you to imprison myself.
In the name of my freedom
I choose your release,
because I recognize that we will be released
Recently I felt very angry at someone who was trying to cause problems for my mother. I have never met this person, and most likely never will, but I had been exchanging heated emails with him in regard to the matter. Last week I gave a talk on this subject of forgiveness, and the next morning as I drove to work, I listened to the audio. Not long after I started listening, I came to this prayer that I just shared with you. Of course there are no such accidents, and Holy Spirit prompted me to take this person into prayer.
A couple hours later, spontaneously, I felt to send him a loving email apologizing for something that I had said. As I did this, I felt a deep sense of peace and union with him. Later, I told my mother about it and she asked if I had heard from him.
I replied that his response is irrelevant because I didn’t do it for him, I did it for me.
We exist in prisons of our own making. When we condemn others we are chained to them, jailing them and imprisoning ourselves. Forgiveness frees us from the vacillating roles of jailer and prisoner.
We have hurt people and people have hurt us. Perhaps we could begin to view those who have hurt or betrayed us, not as adversaries, not as mother, father, sister, brother – acquaintance, friend or lover, but as spiritual companions. We are all in this together so that we might teach one another the most important lessons one could ever learn, to let it go, to forgive. With this understanding you then become grateful for all who touch your life, even those who do so in a harmful way. He or she gives you yet another opportunity to understand and to experience the healing power of forgiveness – to experience that giving and receiving are truly the same.
Forgiveness is a choice, and one that cannot be based on emotions. If you don’t want to forgive someone because you feel angry and hurt, you will remain angry and hurt until you forgive. It’s the very practice of forgiveness that heals your painful emotions. The great news is that you don’t need to forgive by yourself, in fact, you can’t, but you do need the willingness to forgive. Forgiveness is not something I do, it’s something that’s done through me.
I think of the practice of forgiveness as a three stop process. The first step is awareness that I am harboring negative thoughts toward a person or condition, and that these thoughts are only hurting me. The second step is the willingness to be released from pain. Sometimes my prayer is as simple as: “Dear God, I don’t know how to forgive. In this situation I don’t even know if I want to, but I do know that I want to be free. Please help me.” The third step belongs to the Divine Presence. My part is to ask the Inner Presence to do for me what I cannot do for myself.
God needs me, and you. Divine Love needs our hands, our feet, our voice, and our will – to extend forgiveness into the world. We may think that we don’t contribute to the negativity in the world, but we do. Every time we turn our back on another, judge or condemn, we contribute to the dark energy in this world, even when it’s done in God’s name. God is not a god of condemnation, but God is love.
You need not ask God to forgive you, for that Presence has never condemned you. Ask instead that you may learn how to forgive. Therein lies your freedom, and your peace.

On 11/5/09 I gave a 55 min. talk on:
Everyday Forgivness

MP3 File