Thursday, April 26, 2012

Course Note #148: Healing Misperceptions

In my Sunday teachings the last few weeks, I’ve been inspired to stroll through the pages of two journals I am currently keeping.  I am finding this helpful because it reveals just how practical spiritual teachings can be.

In the audio that follows this writing, I share quite a bit more about relationships and healing than I shared here, so you find that helpful as well.
This week I was guided into spiritual practice that I have not used in awhile.  Some of the stories in the mind this week that involved relationships, were such that doing the mantra practice was not effective.  In years past, frequently I used a prayer from A Course in Miracles that I credit to facilitating much healing in me, and thus my relationships. 

We cannot heal ourselves by ourselves.  By giving our mind to Love within we experience healing.  I was prompted to use a few prayers from the Course this past week, and the practice made a major difference for me in being able to let go of the dramas playing out in my mind. 
If you are feeling pain, guilt or any such feelings, you may want to join me: 

I desire this holy instant for myself

that I may share it with my brother ______,
whom I love.

It is not possible that I can have it without her,
or he without me.
Yet it is wholly possible for us to share it Now.

And so I choose this instant as the one to offer
to the Holy Spirit,
that Love’s blessing may descend on us,
and keep us Both in peace.
                                                                                 (ACIM T-18.V.7)

            In the previous blog: “Focus on the one true thing” I shared another healing prayer that I call the “forgiveness prayer”.  In it, there is this line: “I know that you will be released, unless I want to use you to imprison myself. 
As I shared this in the talk, what became highlighted for me was this:  …unless I want to use you…
In the Course there is a great teaching that says that your brothers were not created to enable you to hurt yourself through them.  We do this – we use other people to hurt ourselves. 
So often we make up stories about what other people have done to us, not even realizing that it is going on in our own mind.  Recently someone told me about something I supposedly had done to her, and I was shocked because it did not even happen!  Later I thought about why she would want to tell herself such stories about me, and believe them, especially when they didn’t even happen. 

It’s because we want to use other people to hurt ourselves.  We must be honest and admit that we want to feel unfairly treated.  We want to feel guilty and attacked and betrayed.  We truly are doing this to ourselves.

We recognize the truth again contained in lesson 39:

My unloving, anxious, fearful thoughts about ______are keeping me in hell.
My freedom lies in joining my mind with Love.

Through years of working with the lessons and prayers in the Course, I found that through my willingness to give my mind and my relationships over to Love, slowly I begin to heal the wounds of the past.  

I talk to many people about all kinds of relationships, and there can be so much pain in them as we bump up against one another with shadows from the past.  All relationships give us the opportunity to look deeper within, and thus to peal off another layer of the proverbial onion. 

Inner healing may or might not lead to a change in all relationships in form.  I received guidance recently that I was to let go of attachment to how certain relationships should look in form, meaning that I can heal on a deeper level but this may not lead to hunky-dory relationships. 

Many people are carrying a lot of pain regarding relationships with people who have passed on.  We can still heal because relationships are really going on in our mind.  Forgiveness is not about another person; it’s not about changing the past, rather, it’s about healing our perceptions of the past.  Such healing is an inside job and does not require the presence of another person.  It requires willingness and Love.


            As I move on in the journal, quote #143 from RDA’s 7steps journal stood out for me:*
            “A desire is an enticing thought, one we are easily drawn into.  However, all thinking feeds thinking.  Therefore, desire…no matter how pleasing or enticing it may seem…is a path into more thinking and away from the open emptiness that is Self.” 
            We think of a desire, an enticing thought, as something nice, something we would like to have or to be.  What came up for me as I worked with this quote was in regard to the thought-stories I have been listening to of late with the theme of guilt, anger, and feeling unfairly treated.  Holy Spirit showed me that these thoughts of guilt, anger and resentment are also enticing thoughts, otherwise, I would quickly and easily let them go.

Contemplate that.  How easily are we drawn into listening to stories that support the false self?  I wrote in my journal: Why do I still entertain the desire to not know thy Self?

            In our willingness to listen to these guilt stories, the fault-finding stories, we entertain the desire to not know thy Self.  RDA’s quote goes on to say:

“Notice when thinking is engaged by desire, and let the desire go.  This lets go of the path of thinking.”

            I was prompted this past week to return to certain healing prayers in the Course to help me to let go of these enticing thoughts, other times the mantra is most helpful for this.
            We have forgotten who we are, our true identity.  And so, we believe the stories about me, my body, my relationships, my world…that support the lie that I am separated from God-Source-Love.  We like these stories – they are enticing. 

            But now…many of us have decided that we don’t want to live in these stories any more, and that’s why we do this spiritual practice.  It’s time to leave the “house of fantasy”* and return to our true home, Self.
            I need not try to fix myself; I need only focus my attention on the true Self, within.

            Another quote that I found helpful, is also from RDA’s journal, quote #11:
            “If I give attention to a story or concept as true or meaningful, I must want to give attention to it.  If there were no interest, attention would not go there, just as it does not go to many things in my field of perception.  And so if my attention is going there, I must look carefully and question, “Do I want this?  Do I want attention here?  Is this what would take as real or do I prefer to know the truly real?” 
            “Such question enables me to willfully and with recognized desire (wanting), gently refocus attention on the Self-inquiry and Self-attention that leads to the knowledge of Self.”

            As I ask these questions, my teacher becomes my own awareness.  Where is my attention? What am I focusing on?  Do I want this?

            This reminded me of a teaching in NTI 1 Peter, chapter 2:

            “By looking at the world, you find your misperceptions.  Look now in willingness with the desire only that misperceptions be healed.  Remember that nothing is brought to your attention except that you asked it to be brought to you.  So when that thing that you do not like stands before you, and you feel the pain of seeing it as if it were something real, remember this:

What you are seeing is not real, but it is your gift to yourself.
You have given willingness to let go of misperceptions,
so this one has stepped forward in gratitude.
It is the symbol of your willingness to let misperception go.

What you see is what you see,
because it is a reflection of what is in your mind.

            “What you see is not fact in that it cannot be changed or cannot be seen differently.  What you see is only fact in that it is a fact that it is a reflection of what is in your mind now.

Accept this fact.

I have been experiencing a certain amount of emotional pain in regard to past wounds and relationships.  But of course, it is not an accident that this is coming up at a period in my life when I am actively and diligently delving deeper to know my true-real Self.
            It’s coming up so that I can take another look at my perceptions of guilt and betrayal, anger and unfairness.  It is coming up so that I can look at stuff that I thought was long healed, to see what in me is not healed. 

This world, our relationships…are the classroom to learn the lessons that return us to the remembrance of our true Self.  Whatever is going on in your life right now, remember that it is a gift to yourself to enable you to know the Truth of You.

            It’s been interesting to travel through my journals over the last few weeks, to really see the guidance that is ever-present, and how practical it really is.  Where is my attention? What am I focusing on?  Is my attention on the story or the Self.

            And yes, it must be said that as we do this deeper inner work, we see the ego in us arise more fiercely, and yet, we can also recognize that it is a distraction.  We have been given Holy Spirit-Love to guide us to the practices that are most helpful at any given time to refocus on what we truly want.   As I rest in the present, I receive guidance that is for the present moment.          

I must turn inward, introverted,
clothed in the silence of Self
and abide there humbly,

The Audio was recorded on 4-22-12 and is 56 min. long


    MP3 File

* “house of fantasy” shows up in RDA’s journal, quote #355

* excerpted from RDA quote #16

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Course Note #147: I loose the world from all I thought it was

I have been working daily with the book The Seven Steps to Awakening since January 2012.  Even though I have been actively into A Course in Miracles for over twenty years, suddenly, I understand it on a deeper level than ever before.  I have especially been drawn back to the workbook, particularly the first 50 lessons and review, where I see that right there, starting with lesson one, the Course is teaching the same thing as the liberated sages in the 7-steps book.

In the introduction of the 7-steps book it says that the quotes “are a loving transmission from your true Self.”  Through these quotes your true Self is communicating to you the way to awaken to your true identity. 

            In Step One, the objective is to go beyond words to the experience of Self-Reality that comes through practice.  The quotes are repetitive to an extent, and at times I have felt resistant and confused, but as I continue to practice, one comes along and then suddenly, I understand what is being taught.   
            Currently I am working with Step Two, which is about knowing that the world is a dreamlike illusion.  Admittedly, I have been feeling some confusion and even frustration as I work with the quotes in this step because many of the quotes make no sense to me.  I have persevered however, and last night and again on my morning walk I had an Aha moment with Step Two. 

            I came to quote #380, which says: “There is no world in reality.”  Now granted, this is one of the less confusing quotes, but here I had the insight that there is no world in reality because “world” is perception and reality simply is. 

Then, a workbook lesson came to mind: I loose the world from all I thought it was.  When I looked this up I saw that it was the famous lesson #132 that contains the oft-repeated passage: “There is no world!”

I have read this lesson many times over the years and it as if I understand it for the first time.  I loose the world from all I thought it was.  I am attached to this world through my thoughts.  I come to know the unattached-true Self as I let go of the attachments to what my Self is not. 

            I looked up the definition of the word “loose”:  “a : not securely attached b (1) : having worked partly free from attachments (2) : to set free (emphasis, mine).”
            Wow.  Webster gives me more clarity on the key to freedom.  As I bring awareness to the thoughts I think, and then call them into question, I begin to loosen my attachment to the world I see.   

            Lesson  132 begins with this: “What keeps the world in chains but your beliefs?  And what can save the world except your Self?  The thoughts you hold are mighty, and illusions are as strong in their effects as is the truth.  It is but when their [the thoughts you hold] source is raised to question that the hope of freedom can come to him at last.”

            Here, we are asked to practice self-inquiry as we begin to question the source of the thoughts we think.  As I write this, I am reminded of a message given to Regina Dawn Akers, entitled: “Questioning the attachment to mind.”*  Here is an excerpt:

“I ask you do this: When you seem to be attached to a specific line of thinking or your mind is spinning with an insane barrage of thought that makes no sense…in either case…grab a pen and paper (or sit at a keyboard) and write these thoughts down.  Writing them down will seem to put them outside of you.   It will separate you from identification with the thoughts enough that you will be able to question, ‘Who thinks these thoughts?’

“Each time the mind answers, question it again, ‘And who is that ‘I’ (or ‘me’) that answers?’
“At some point you will discover this line of questioning leads to nothing.”

“We also practiced thoughts that came from Within (Heart), and found that if those thoughts are questioned, a recognition of Self answers, and there is no doubt about the Source of the thought.  So inquiry works with all thoughts.”**

            This practice of inquiry brings to awareness that which is false, and through this we begin to recognize that which is true. 
            I received an insight this morning about the teaching in this lesson on: “There is no world!”
            In the early editions of the Course, in chapter two the author asked the scribe to look up the definition of the word “world”.  He then states, “There are some definitions I asked you to take from the dictionary which will be helpful here.  They are somewhat unusual, since they are not the first definitions that are given.  World: a natural grand division.”
            To be honest, I didn’t really understand this definition, although I did understand that the author was not equating “world” with “earth”.  A few weeks ago I was talking with my friend Teddy Poppe, and he clarified this for me when he said something to the effect of: there is no grand division!
            While on a walk this morning as I begin to receive insights regarding lesson 132, I recalled this conversation with Teddy.  If “world” is defined as “a grand division”, and here we are told that there is no world, we are being told that there is no division between Creator and Created. 
            “You are as God created you.  …What is the lesson for today except another way of saying that to know your Self is the salvation of the world?  To free the world from every kind of pain is but to change your mind about yourself.”

            Later this lesson says: “You need not realize that healing comes to many brothers far across the world as well as to the ones you see near by, as you send out these thoughts that bless the world.  Throughout the day, increase the freedom sent through your ideas to all the world, and say whenever you are tempted to deny the power of your simple change of mind:
I loose the world from all I thought it was,
And choose my own reality instead.

            I used to read this passage and wonder, how can my thoughts bless the world when there is no world?!
As I am willing to increasingly practice looking at and questioning the thoughts that keep me attached to the world I see, the attachments will begin to loosen and fall away.  I am willing to let go of the thoughts that keep me attached to this world.  Questioning is one way to do this, but another way is to simply lose interest in the thoughts about me, myself and I as a body in need of anything. 
            The practice that is currently most helpful to break attachment to the stories in the mind, is the practice of the mantra:

I am that I am.
I am as God.

I do not know what the world will look like when I walk in it as the true-real Self.  Without attachment to person, place or thing, I imagine that I will no longer see grand division, but a world that reflects only this:

I am One Self, united with my Creator.
At one with every aspect of creation,
And limitless in power and in peace.

I will see a world where I am free.


* This message can be found at:  under “monthly archives” dated 3/11/09.

** In The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament (NTI), there are several practices to work with thoughts: NTI Matthew, Chapter 25,  NTI Ephesians, Chapter 6, NTI 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 3, NTI 1 John, Chapter 4

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Course Note #146: Focus on the One True Thing

In my recent talks I have felt inspired to teach from the pages of my personal and 7-steps journals.  This audio and blog is from the week of April 1 to 8, 2012.

            Since January I have been working with the book The Seven Steps to Awakening and it’s not that I am even concerned about “awakening” per se, but I have been guided to do this work.  Since I’ve been doing it, each time I open A Course in Miracles I see the same teachings there as well.  It’s amazing to me really, how throughout a twenty-year period with the Course, it continues to meet me where I am. 

The purpose of working with the quotes in the 7 steps book is to go beyond words to direct experience.  I now clearly see how the first half of the workbook of the Course teaches us to look deeply at the egoic thought system, and in the 2nd half of the workbook we are told that it is time to go beyond words to experience.

            When I share from the 7-steps, sometimes I share from the book itself, other times I share from Regina Dawn Akers journal* or my own journal.  Besides working with the quotes myself, I have also been listening to Regina’s weekly audios on the 7 steps.  This week one in particular stood out for me from her journal:

            “Quiet attention for the guidance of the heart can be forgotten in the compny of those who do not listen intently for the call of theirs.  In order to be fully attentive, lose interest in distractions.  Be devoted, focused, listening for the heart.”

            When I worked with this quote I was reminded of a story in the Bible that I particularly enjoy, the one about Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38.  In the story, Jesus goes to the home of two sisters, Martha and Mary.  Martha welcomed him to her home, but then became overly occupied and distracted by things she had to do in the kitchen.  Mary sat at his feet, hanging on his every word.
            Later Martha came to Jesus and said, “Lord, is it nothing to you that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me.”
            Jesus replied: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.  You’re getting yourself worked up over nothing.  There is need of only one thing, and Mary has chosen it.  It is the main course, and it won’t be taken from her.”

            If I were in that situation what I would do is order a pizza, bring out the wine and sit down and listen to the Teacher! Ha!

            I have found the stories in the Bible hold richer meaning for me when I look at all the characters in the story as facets of myself.  Martha symbolizes the self that is distracted by the world and all the things that need to be done in it; and Mary represents devotion to the “one thing”, to the one purpose: Know thy Self.  And of course, the Teacher leads us to know the true Self that we all share.

            Next I moved into talking about parent-child relationships.  The ego loves these relationships because they are so fraught with guilt.  While doing this deeper work, things from the past that I thought were long healed have been coming up – a lot of emotion, guilt and anger.  Healing does seem to occur in layers, and it seems that each layer is removed when we are emotionally and spiritually ready to do so.  Healing is never forced on us.
            Ken Wapnick has written two books on parents and children: Parents and Children: Our most Difficult Classroom.  I had read parts of them in years past, but was particularly prompted to them recently.  In these books he addresses exactly not only what I feel in regard to my relationship with my mother, but also most likely what my mother feels as well.  There is way too much to excerpt here, although I share much more in the audio, however, I would like to share these excerpts from volume one:

            “Forgiveness says the problem is not in another but in ourselves, for which we should be grateful because now we can do something about it.  We cannot control our children’s [or parents] lives, or anyone else’s for that matter, but we can control how we look at their lives.  Our true freedom lies in learning that we want to feel guilty and unfairly treated.  We want to feel we are not good enough, and never will be.
            “…The only way out of this vicious cycle of guilt and attack is to see through the ego’s machinations and choose another teacher to instruct us in a different way of seeing: the vision that sees all things as lessons God would have us learn.  Family relationships enable all to learn the lesson of forgiveness.
            “…The only true way of doing anything is with forgiveness, which means you work on yourself; not anyone else.”
            This spoke directly to me as the most important lesson I have ever learned about forgiveness is that it is not about them.  Forgiveness heals as it leads to freedom from our self-imposed prisons.  In the Course there is a prayer that I call the “forgiveness prayer”.  It has been incredibly healing for me over the years:

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 together.
            When my husband and I were talking about these relationships the other day, I said something to the effect of: the reason we have a great marriage and the reason I have a happy life is because I have been diligently doing this inner work for years, I have been and continue to be willing to look at my own crap. 
            His response was interesting, he said, “Yes, and because you were willing to look at your stuff, that made me and Bobby look at ours.”
            We don’t realize that when we are willing to do the deep inner work that we must do, this heals the family as a whole, at least in regard to the family members we live with.  But even in regard to the family members who don’t really know us, and who don’t understand where we are coming from, those who may not even understand the concept of healing relationships, we can still work with forgiveness to heal our erroneous perceptions.

            At various times, we have walked through life feeling guilt, a sense of hurt or betrayal and of being unfairly treated; we’ve all felt at times that “something’s missing”. 

What’s missing is the connection with the true Self that we all share.  What’s missing is the love and devotion to the one true thing: know thy Self.  In our willingness to focus on the one true thing, everything else will take care of itself.  All these problems and conflicts are indeed distractions that move us away from the one true thing – the Self.

            I was also reminded this week of a passage in the Bible that asks that we give no thought to your life, what you will eat or drink, to your body or the things of this world.  For a moment I wondered how to “give no thought” and the answer that came to me was this: Give no thought means that I will consciously and with vigilance not engage in “thinking” about person, place or thing.  As I put this into practice, I noticed how all my “thinking” was caught up in persons, places or things. 

I am willing to let every voice but Love be still in me.

            The true Self is here now.  I can be clothed in personality that hides my truth, or I can be clothed in the silence of Self. 

            As I go about my life this week, I am willing to be Mary.  Mary…who sits at the feet of the Teacher (Heart); Mary…who lets go of all distractions and instead, focuses with pure devotion and love on the one true thing.


The audio was recorded on 4/8/12 and is 54 min.
It contains much more than is shared in this blog.


    MP3 File

* Her journal can be read here:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Course Note #145: Are your thoughts keeping you in hell?

One thing I truly love about A Course in Miracles is that within each of its pages, and especially in the workbook lessons, there are layers of meaning that meet us where we are. As we grow in spiritual awareness the Course has even more to say to us. Such was my experience recently with lesson 39: My holiness is my salvation.

In this lesson we are told: "With closed eyes, search out your unloving thoughts in whatever form they appear: uneasiness, anger, fear, worry, attack, insecurity, sadness and so on. Whatever form they take, they are unloving and therefore fearful."

This is interesting in that, we're probably aware that our irritations toward one another are "unloving thoughts", but who would have realized that anxiety about the future, worry about money, and insecurities of any sort are also unloving thoughts!?

The lesson goes on to say: And so it is from them (unloving thoughts) that you need to be saved.
Wow! Now that's an eye-opener! You mean it's not that I need to be saved from terrorists and trans-fatty acids? My only need is to be saved from my unloving thoughts?
A friend was talking to me the other day about her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease.  One of the hallmarks of the disease is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information; and so consequently a person with this disease often asks the same questions repeatedly.  She told me that it drove her crazy when her husband did this.  She felt stressed-out over it, and he became very frustrated because he didn’t know that he was asking the same questions over and over again.
One day she decided to simply answer his questions, no matter how many times he asked them.  She said that this practice completely alleviated her stress, and his frustration.
This is such a wonderful story!  My friend provided a perfect real-life example of how it truly is our thoughts that cause suffering, stress, pain and frustration.  Her story demonstrates that her husband did not need to change for her stress to be resolved.  He still asks the same questions over and over again.  She stopped listening to and believing her thoughts and this made all the difference.  
This is true no matter what appears to be going on in our lives.  When we look at our thoughts about what is going on out there we have returned to causal level.  

My unloving thoughts about _____ are keeping me in hell.
My holiness is my salvation.

            Until a few years ago I could not resonate with the words "holiness" and "salvation". I enjoy delving into the meanings of words because it's been helpful to bring me to deeper understanding and to new insights. This lesson really opened to me as I came across the following definitions:

Holiness as: "wholeness; one with the mind of Love."

Salvation as: “freedom; the present experience of God's power."

            In any moment, I can stop listening to the stories that my thoughts are spinning.  I actually visualize myself stepping off of the merry-go-round in my mind, and then I use my current mantra or a workbook lesson such as this: My holiness is my salvation.

            In this way I step into the silence and join with the mind of Love, the true-real Self, where I experience the Present power of God.

            This is the answer to every question that was ever asked and ever will be asked.  Today, be willing simply to apply this idea to any specific situation, event or personality that you associate with unloving, fearful thoughts.  

My unloving thoughts about ____ are keeping me in hell.

My holiness is my salvation.

I am free.