Thursday, June 21, 2012

Course Note #153: Is the World Real?


               
                Many spiritual teachings tell us that this world is an illusion and that it is not real.  Intellectually we may get behind this idea, but if we are honest with ourselves, we don’t really believe it.   We walk in a world that seems real to us, we have a body that seems real to us, we have relationships, jobs and all kinds of stuff going on, and it all seems to be so real.  If we try to pretend that we understand this when we don’t, then we’re never going to understand it.  If we think we know, then we are not open to know what we don’t know.
            It’s helpful first to look at the words “real” and “reality” and to recognize that they pertain to that which is real in God’s kingdom – that which is eternal and infinite.  In that sense, what I see, taste, smell and touch can tell me about the physical world, but not about the real world because the real must be discerned from within.
            This inner work that I am doing in the 7steps journal is currently on the topic that this world, body, etc. are not real.  I have felt some frustration while working with this because I can say, “I am not a body”, and I can even believe it, but I still think and live in this world identified with myself as a body.
            It is not helpful to pretend that we get this because if we try to pretend that we know or understand something that we don’t, then we remain in denial, and thus this world cannot be the classroom of opportunity that it really is.  All of our worldly experiences can be used to practice awakening to the truth of who and what we are – the real and true Self.

            So that said, the guidance I am receiving through the quotes in the 7steps book, through RDA and through personal guidance is amazingly helpful to navigate through this.  In fact, in the very first quote I received this guidance:

            Seek first the Kingdom.  This is all.  The kingdom is you – your true Self.  Shift attention-focus away from world/body/job/relationships/etc. 

I do this with the practice of mantra and surrender, prayer or any other practice I may be guided to in the current moment.  Through this journal I see that my True Self is guiding me home to Itself.  My part is to be willing to notice, to see…the stories and thoughts in my mind and to recognize that this is no longer what I want.
           
So instead of trying to intellectually understand the nature of this world and Reality, I can notice where my attention is focused.  When I see that it is focused on body, world or Sheryl, I can be reminded of what I really want. 

            So it could go like this:  I notice that I am thinking thoughts of lack when I see that there are more bills than money at the moment.  I can observe that I do believe that this story of lack is real.  Or perhaps I do believe that the economy is affecting my ability to get a job or make a living or whatever… 

It’s the practice that sets me free.  Ah…I am listening to this story of lack again.  My focus and attention is on this story of lack.  What do I really want to focus on?  The Freedom-Self.  And so in that moment I rest the thoughts with the practice of mantra or prayer or perhaps one of these quotes come to mind.
In this way, our very lives can be used to remind us of what we really want.  I want to remember who and what I am, and so I will shift attention-focus from the body, bills or the future to the silent-Self within. 
When I am willing to see where my attention is focused, and then if necessary, shift it within, then I cease creating from those old scripts.  The script is “my” thoughts.  When I look at my script, some days I am starring in Lost and other days I am starring in Glee, but these impostor-self roles must eventually come to an end if I want to know the Real Self.

Next I was prompted to quote #234 where I had this conversation with inner guidance:  
I want to live from that which is Real rather than to continue making a world from that which I no longer want.  What would it be like to experience this world, this body, Sheryl…through the vision of “real”?
They would disappear.
Really?  How would that look?
The world, body, Sheryl…would disappear in that there will no longer exist an attachment to the world-body-person as being You or having any effect on You.

This can actually be scary at first glance – I will disappear?  Say What?  Believe it or not, some feel that if they get to into this awakening stuff that they well die.  Don’t let such ideas stop you.  A Course in Miracles actually addresses this:

            “Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you in your transition.” (T-16.VI.8.)

Without attachment to the things of this world, one is free to move in the world unencumbered.  Imagine living the unencumbered life. 

The True Self is Existence-Awareness-Life!

The Freedom-Self lives in the Heart, not in the world.  Look away from the world and direct your gaze firmly within.

Enter the silence.
Speak from the silence.
Move from the silence.
Rest in the silence.

And Know thy Self.

                In my Sunday teachings of late, I have been inspired to teach from my 7steps journal, and to teach on those quotes that I am prompted to during the hour.  I have created another blog for that journal, where I have the quote from the book The Seven Steps to Awakening, the commentary from Regina Dawn Akers and then my own guidance.  If you are interested it is here: http://www.stepstoself.blogspot.com

The audio contains the entire teaching – It was recorded on 6/10/12 and is 54 min.


 
 

 
    MP3 File
 

 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Course Note #152: I am not a body. I am Free!


A fairly prevalent topic in Course discussions has to do with the body and sickness.  Some say that a healed mind will result in a healed body, but in my understanding, the Course teaches that healing has to do with content, not form.  Essentially, a “healed mind” per the Course, is a mind that has awakened to Itself as Love, and thus the body becomes simply a vehicle for use in God’s plan.
            Unfortunately, ego has greatly distorted teachings about the body so that some feel that they are not to take medications, go to doctors or care for the body and that sort of thing because they've read that the body is not real and/or does not exist.  But this is not what the Course teaches; rather it says that the body is merely a fact in human experience, and that it is almost impossible to deny its existence, and to try to do so is to practice denial. (T-2 IV.3)   

            Consider lesson 199: I am not a body. I am free:

             “Freedom must be impossible as long as you perceive a body as yourself.  The body is a limit.  Who would seek freedom in a body looks for it where it cannot be found.”
 
            The body is the ego’s great distraction – have you noticed?  Everyone here is identified with being a body, and this shows up in everything we do, including the fact that we have to eat, drink and breathe!  A Course student once asked me how I could work as a chiropractor when the body isn’t real.  I replied, how could you eat that hamburger?  My role as a healthcare professional is not to heal other people’s bodies; my role is to let my mind be healed.  
I am here only to be truly helpful.  
I will be healed as I let Love teach me to heal.

             Over the last five months I have been working with the quotes in The Seven Steps to Awakening and something very interesting is occurring, frequently I am prompted to look at something in A Course in Miracles and it’s as if I am not brought back there to learn, but to see
            This occurred recently with Lesson 140, “Only salvation can be said to cure.”  As I read it, I literally experienced my eyes opening wider! It says this:

"Cure" is a word that cannot be applied to any remedy the world accepts as beneficial. What the world perceives as therapeutic is but what will make the body "better."  When it tries to heal the mind, it sees no separation from the body, where it thinks the mind exists.  Its forms of healing thus must substitute illusion for illusion.  One belief in sickness takes another form, and so the patient now perceives himself as well.

            He is not healed.  He merely had a dream that he was sick, and in the dream he found a magic formula to make him well.  Yet he has not awakened from the dream, and so his mind remains exactly as it was before.  He has not seen the light that would awaken him and end the dream.  What difference does the content of a dream make in reality?  One either sleeps or wakens.  There is nothing in between.

            A healed body, a sick body or anything in between is not the Truth of who you are.  Ego-self loves to focus on the state of the body as being indicative of the state of mind or consciousness, but this does not equate.  The problem is not the condition of the body; the problem is that I think I am a body!  When you really look at it, it is easily seen that all of our concerns have to do with identification of self as a body.  Can you see how suffering stems from this belief?

Watch how the ego-body-self identifies with that which causes suffering.

Notice how the ego-body-self focuses on stories about mayhem, disease and death.

Watch how the ego-body-self looks for support through stories about unfair treatment, unworthiness and guilt.

Are you done with this yet? Do you see that this does not lead to healing and peace?

Yes…I see.

I am willing to wake-up to the Freedom-Self.