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: http://www.RDA7stepsjournal.wordpress.com

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