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Recent Articles and News

sunrise Bulletin Board, 27th December, 2014:
Today, and for all time
Today marks one year since our beloved teacher passed away and dropped the illusion of his physical self. He became once more what he always was, and what we always are.
(Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 17th July, 2014:
Looking with Galileo
Galileo's refusal to change reality to suite the Church becomes the model, in this article, for the attitude we can adopt as A Course In Miracles students for our work with the ego.
(Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 13th April, 2014:
The body's true place in our perception
This mini-article came in response to a participant's unfortunate accident. It's purpose is to help us make the shift to place the body in correct perspective, and to remember that pain always has a hidden purpose. (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 14th January, 2014:
Timeless Life
This article is the conclusion, we might even say the logical conclusion, to the previous article on Timeless Love. In that article we talked about Kenneth’s sickness and our responses to his condition. Now that we know where that sickness was leading, we can look at our reactions to his transition away from his physical body, and try to find peace of mind... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 28th December, 2013:
"I live in you."
My wife and I have just been informed of the passing away of our beloved teacher. Our hearts are joined with you all as one, both in sorrow, and in the deepest gratitude and the kindest remembrance of a love that came from beyond this world... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 24th December, 2013:
Perfect Safety
The year-end is approaching fast, accompanied by the traditional holiday frenzy of last minute shopping, last minute preparations and card-posting… and through it all a soft and peaceful presence joins us and guides our steps along our path. How comforting... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 20th September, 2013:
Timeless Love
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in having been upset by the recent news of our teacher’s state of health. This set off multiple rounds of back and forth debating in my mind between its right and wrong aspects, volleying for airspace with increasing strength and rapidity. I then had a conversation with a Temecula resident and inspired by our thoughts... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 4th June, 2013:
Poem: One perfect Thought
A little poem by yours truly that tries to capture the feeling of lightness and wonder when we discover how simple this path really is. "All I am ever faced with is a thought. There is nothing else out there. No lying mechanic, no cheating supplier. No slow-paying client or unfaithful spouse. No awful... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 19th October, 2012:
Article: Why on earth doesn't it go away?!
This letter was written in response to someone asking for advice on a persistent forgiveness classroom, you know, the kind that stick like glue! (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 24th August, 2012:
Article: "From Anger to Innocence"
The one-day workshop we held this summer here at the budding "French Center" in Salviac was entitled "From Anger to Innocence". My mother, curious about the subject, asked for a basic, layman's explanation since she is not an ACIM student. I hope you enjoy the little article that came from this letter to her. "Dear mum (that's English for mom)..." (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 14th April, 2012:
Article and Video: Heaven Always 'Wins'
In this article and video we look at the themes of fidelity in relationships and our special attachment to feelings of betrayal. Uncovering the true nature of our thoughts is always so useful because it leads us inevitably back to a place of honesty from where we discover the beauty the ugliness has been hiding. As always, Beauty (the Love of God) attracts us much more than any ‘gifts’ the ego might give us. In this way, Heaven always ‘wins’…... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 17th February, 2012:
A St Valentine's Crash
I knew that St Valentine’s was supposed to be a day of surprises, but I didn’t realize to what extent that might be. This year my wife and I must have unconsciously decided to break with tradition and offer ourselves a car crash. After enjoying a lovely little breakfast just the two of us, Patricia, my wife, had to drive to work early earlier than usual at 7.15. Over here in France we had had lots of snow and ice lately and sub-zero temperatures... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 24th November, 2011:
Video: Good News, Bad News
We navigate our daily lives through a series of what appear to us as good and bad experiences. However, our real life, as we are told in A Course In Miracles, is entirely outside this world and our physical/psychological bodies. This informal talk helps us understand this paradox, where our perception of good and bad experiences comes from, and what we can do to return our attention back to a clearer place outside the tumultuous world we live in from where we sense Reality as it is... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 15th November, 2011:
Video: Heaven is just an arm's length away
According to Kenneth Wapnick, the forgiveness process asks us to be willing to take a step back from our judgments and painful thoughts in order to question them in the light of our right minds. But sometimes our thoughts seem so powerful that we find stepping back even the slightest distance very difficult to do. In this talk I present a simple way of helping us... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 9th November, 2011:
Video: My First Projection of the Day - Yay!
After an ever so loooooong absence from contributing to the Village (all my appreciation to you for your kindness and patience), I will be slowly getting back into producing a few things for your study and interest. In this video, I talk about pinpointing that precise moment as we open our eyes... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 9th July, 2011:
The healing rain drops from A's mind...
Our friend, A, has come and left a warm blessing in the form of a sparkling post about rain. Please don't miss this. You will be healed! (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 2nd July, 2011:
Of Sunsets and Stones
I just came up with another short section for a book I've been working on for sometime, a sort of semi-autobiographical novel, « The Dream : A metaphysical romp through the south of France”, a story about a hassled Human Resources VP from a New York firm and his meeting with an enigmatic local character in a small country... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 24th June, 2011:
Poem: The Sword Too Heavy, or The Haggard Clown
Hmm, it seems that the only writing impulses I'm having these days are towards poetry. If you're up for it, here's what came to me this morning. If you're not up to it, well, skip to the Fireside for some of Nina's cider! (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 24th June, 2011:
Trying to get rid of the ego
I was talking with a Course friend the other day, and the subject of wanting to ‘get rid of the ego’ came up again. Here are some of the thoughts that came up in that conversation... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 19th June, 2011:
Poem: My days were numbered, so I thought...
My latest musings have been turning towards poetry, and this is something that came to me the other night just before nodding off with the covers tucked under my chin... "My days were numbered, so I thought, from first to last, Repeating in cycles, too slow, too fast... (Click here for direct access to article)

sunrise Bulletin Board, 3rd June, 2011:
The Far Shore
There can be an exciting time when we first begin our study of this course during which we feel we are finally making some real progress toward a real goal. This can be because we feel we are making a connection with a true spiritual presence that will lead us out of our darkness. Or it can be because... (Click here for direct access to article)





sunrise Bulletin Board, 27th December, 2014:


Today, and for all time


Today marks one year since our beloved teacher passed away and dropped the illusion of his physical self. He became once more what he always was, and what we always are.

Love knows no limits or barriers, the body cannot define what we are. Our Self remains in a state of perfect abstraction, holy and completely safe in that splendid, timeless place. And while we play our games on earth for a while, we can start to feel our true safety by remembering that not one dies here who is not still living in that other, perfect place. We are there, and here at the same time. Timelessness is our home, but we can feel completely comfortable within the world of time. These extracts from lesson 193 show us how:

Lesson 193: All things are lessons God would have me learn.

These are the lessons God would have you learn. His Will reflects them all, and they reflect His loving kindness to the Son He loves. Each lesson has a central thought, the same in all of them. The form alone is changed, with different circumstances and events; with different characters and different themes, apparent but not real. They are the same in fundamental content. 6 It is this:

Forgive, and you will see this differently.

Shall we not learn to say these words when we are tempted to believe that pain is real, and death becomes our choice instead of life? Shall we not learn to say these words when we have understood their power to release all minds from bondage? These are words which give you power over all events that seem to have been given power over you. You see them rightly when you hold these words in full awareness, and do not forget these words apply to everything you see or any brother looks upon amiss.

God would not have you suffer thus. He would help you forgive yourself. His Son does not remember who he is. And God would have him not forget His Love, and all the gifts His Love brings with it. Would you now renounce your own salvation? Would you fail to learn the simple lessons Heaven's Teacher sets before you, that all pain may disappear and God may be remembered by His Son?

All things are lessons God would have you learn. He would not leave an unforgiving thought without correction, nor one thorn or nail to hurt His holy Son in any way. He would ensure his holy rest remain untroubled and serene, without a care, in an eternal home which cares for him. And He would have all tears be wiped away, with none remaining yet unshed, and none but waiting their appointed time to fall. For God has willed that laughter should replace each one, and that His Son be free again.

Each hour, spend a little time today, and in the days to come, in practicing the lesson in forgiveness in the form established for the day. And try to give it application to the happenings the hour brought, so that the next one is free of the one before. The chains of time are easily unloosened in this way. Let no one hour cast its shadow on the one that follows, and when that one goes, let everything that happened in its course go with it. Thus will you remain unbound, in peace eternal in the world of time.

This is the lesson God would have you learn: There is a way to look on everything that lets it be to you another step to Him, and to salvation of the world. To all that speaks of terror, answer thus:

I will forgive, and this will disappear.

To every apprehension, every care and every form of suffering, repeat these selfsame words. And then you hold the key that opens Heaven's gate, and brings the Love of God the Father down to earth at last, to raise it up to Heaven. God will take this final step Himself. Do not deny the little steps He asks you take to Him.



sunrise Bulletin Board, 17th July, 2014:


Looking with Galileo


There was a recent discussion at the ACIMVillage about the laws of this world that ruled mankind’s mind at one time in the past, and now today seem quite ridiculous. This was in the context of a video which demonstrated the cost and horror of mindlessly following doctrines that society feeds to us, which we can refuse to believe, but require great determination to do so. This article distilled from that discussion, and seeks to present to us the choices we have as A Course In Miracles students to hone our will in the face of the ego’s propaganda.

Is the earth flat? Is the earth the fixed center of the universe? At one time society as a whole did indeed think so. Many are the ancient and superstitious ‘laws’ that people, like Galileo, suffered and were imprisoned for and yet look so remarkably silly today. Now Kenneth Wapnick and others have come to tell us about other such ‘laws’ that we can learn to see beyond, with the promise that we’ll be much happier if our thinking is actually in line with reality.

We grew up collectively, during the Renaissance, when we began to accept that we couldn’t take our perceptions about the earth at face value (it wasn’t the fixed center of the universe!). In the 21st century we’re being asked to rise up one more step on the ladder of knowledge, and learn to question other closely held beliefs that rule our lives, and cause us unhappiness. We’re being asked to look at all our other perceptions, not just about the earth, but about the entire range of our feelings, thoughts and emotions, and to investigate these with great honesty. We need to use Galileo’s level of courage and honesty.

What are the laws today that are being called into question? Kenneth has proposed a new set of thoughts to replace the old ones – intensely shocking to all of us: the world doesn't really exist as anything outside of our thought; there's only one Life, not many, and it is not divided or separate; real Life is non-physical and exists entirely outside of time and space; there are no differences between any of 'us'; we can have no separate interests; we cannot attack another and be happy (really?); there is no death, no beginning and no ending; no hurt is truly possible; the past is nothing...

He is asking us to question absolutely every belief that holds our personal and collective worlds in place. And he is informing us, very kindly, that absolutely none of the 'laws' of this world are meaningful or trustworthy in any respect. “2+2=5”.

Yet, despite the clarity his teaching, we still manage to live our lives as if all those false laws were true (expressed by the idea that “2+2=4”). We get out of bed as the 'sun rises', we feel tension with our 'other' half as he/she expresses his/her needs, we feel disrespected and unappreciated when another person gets the promotion/raise instead of us, we feel sad and lonely when another body passes away, we feel fearful and self-hateful when we make a mistake, and on and on. As experienced students of A Course In Miracles, we know that these experiences are not based on truth or reality. We made up the rules; we then live our lives by these deceptions; they make us unhappy; and then we justify our experiences claiming they are truth. Utter craziness.

We are very strange creatures. Even when we know we're getting the math wrong (Ken left us no wiggle room), we still continue to live by those false laws of separate interests, vulnerability, sin, fear and guilt. We convince ourselves, and others, despite the blatant evidence of our errors, that they are the correct rules to live by, to think by, and to react to.

We need to have Galileo's courage now. Galileo was an amazing man. During his trial when he was charged with heresy, he was forced to deny that the earth moved around the sun, as he had claimed in his treatise, and supported the church’s view that the earth was fixed in space. But his final words before the inquisitor, Vincenzo Maculani, revealed his true understanding, and his inner strength in the face of immense opposition. As he was sentenced to house arrest (under which he stayed for the rest of his life), he turned to his inquisitor and, speaking of the earth, he said “– And yet it moves".

Four tiny, short words that spoke a simple, world-changing truth. Four tiny words that were to undo an extremely powerful religious cosmology. Four tiny words that made the most powerful political and religious institution of the time look ridiculous.

"And yet it moves. " Galileo simply stated the obvious. His spectacles showed him a different world, and he did not deny what he saw simply because it contradicted everything everyone thought, felt, saw and deeply believed. That’s courage.

What seemed like an impossible idea of the greatest heresy at the time, bringing a life imprisonment sentence upon him who propounded them, is today an accepted, established fact. We live quite comfortably now with the 'impossibilty' of the earth turning around the sun. It doesn't seem to shock too many people or to strike fear into any sensitive souls. But how many more ideas that we currently accept as indisputable 'fact' will be tomorrow's fiction and mere foolishness? Sadness? Guilt? Depression? Euphoria? Sickness? Suffering? Death? Individuality? Duality? Life on earth? Time? The universe?

Next year will mark exactly 400 years since heliocentrism was subjected to examination by the Roman Inquisition. The following year, in 1616, Galileo went to Rome to defend his ideas. And us? What ideas are we willing to defend in 2014, and in the face of whom?

We need to learn to live with the truth in our minds now, and to defend it. Not against society or the medical and scientific community, but against our own internal inquisitor - the ego. Our greatest challenge is within our own minds, which we allow only too easily to follow the dictates of our own insane ruler. As Ken taught us, we learn to deny the ego’s denial of the truth. Saying yes to the truth means looking at the many false beliefs we hold, and learning to say now, “That’s not good enough”.

Just as simply as someone asking us, “Does the sun turn around the earth?” and we respond, “Of course not!”, we learn to react to all ego foolishness in the same way:
“Can I feel better by judging and attacking someone?” Of course not.
“Does my current pain come from my childhood or from my circumstances?” Of course not.
“Is my irritation and anger because of what he just said and did?” Of course not.
“Does the mind live within the body?” Of course not. These declarations are heresy for the ego, but salvation and freedom for us.

We can continue practicing on easy questions, like “Is the earth flat?” and learn to respond with simple clarity, “Of course not”. And so we will learn to do the same with other simple non-truths we bring to light:
Is there such a thing as death? Of course not.
Can we be hurt, are we truly vulnerable? Of course not.
Am I alone in my mind? Of course not.
Are my guilty thoughts worthy of God's wrath? Of course not.
Can someone deny me of anything I truly need? Of course not.
Is it the future that scares me? Of course not.

"And yet it moves. " Just a few simple words can shift entirely our perspective on reality. For us as A Course In Miracles students, we can look at this world and find our own simple, clear responses to the inner inquisitor. We say, despite all our perceptions, thoughts and experiences to the contrary:
"And yet God is."
“And yet love is.”
“And yet peace is.”

We can continue with further revolutionary, institution-shaking thoughts:
"And yet there is no death."
“And yet there is no individual life, but one magnificent Life.”
"And yet the holy Son of God is innocent and deserves only forgiveness."
"And yet there is not one who is excluded from this forgiveness."
"And yet all appearances of pain are just that."
"And yet we all live within that still, perfect, timeless blessing, entirely outside of time and space."
“And yet peace can be seen instead of this.”

We can look at the illusion of the world, that place of make-believe pain and death, and remember, as Ken reminded us so many times: "God thinks otherwise". Three life-changing words that undo the entire the thought system that rules our minds.

Jesus thinks otherwise.
Our right minds think otherwise.
And, ultimately, we think otherwise, and learn that peace is here.

Pain? Death? Suffering? Ecstasy? Sickness? Hurt? Blame? Guilt? Reproach?
Our four-word response: And yet peace is.
Our three-word response: God thinks otherwise.
Three or four tiny words that can change the entire direction and destiny of human thought.
But let me just be concerned with mine for the moment.



sunrise Bulletin Board, 13th April, 2014:


The body's true place in our perception


This piece about the body's correct place in our perception was written as a comment that came in response to a participant's unfortunate accident.

Dear Katrina, so sorry to hear about your shoulder! What I still find so remarkable after all these years of reading your posts is that I always feel somehow uplifted by your way of looking at your life. There's always that slight but important distance with the drama that helps us all how to be in the drama, but not only within it. You really know how to keep one eye on the ball, and that's what's so healing and helpful for all of us here. You always somehow manage to bring it back to that critical 'something else' that's happening on another level. So I'm dreadfully sorry about your mishap and the pain, and I'm dreadfully happy that you can share with us your wise and special wisdom that carries us all forward. Good luck with the healing work!

I myself have an eye problem at the moment. I was doing some strimming, my face fully protected by a pull down face-mask, and a leaf or something managed to fly around the side and into my eye. It seems the leaf was covered in some extremely fine little prickly things, probably like the fluff on nettles, which have decided to penetrate into the cornea, about a hundred or so. These cannot be removed (too small and fine), so we just have to wait and see what happens, if the prickles disappear with time or stay.

Physical mishaps always are a great opportunity to see the extent to which we still think we actually are bodies, and how much we think our happiness comes from well-functioning bodies. It doesn't. Our true experience of peacefulness and happiness comes from a memory, a very present memory.

I would try to impose a thousand different obstacles between that knowledge, that memory and my awareness of it, be that my body, my money situation, my car situation, or my neighbor situation. But the truth is that none of these outside conditions is more powerful than my mind and its ability to remember a very simple, present truth.

So we call into question whether the pain in the body can erase another experience available to us. Then we ask ourselves why we allow the outside pain in the body to take such a large place in our minds. The answer is clear if we really listen. Something inside us actually is getting something on another level out of the physical pain. 'I' am suffering. There's an identity hidden there within the pain.

This is certainly not bad or evil, but just a little crazy if we want to be happy and in less pain. It's going to be hard to be in less pain if I actually get something out of it. Then my mind will come back to it time and time again and actually make it bigger in my perception, and will even want to draw the perception of others to my condition. That's our current insanity, of all of us.

We're all in pain in one way or the other (my tummy hurts! my finances hurt! my community's environment hurts!) and we're all actually getting something out of it in one way or another. What if Love were there right now and It's presence made all these outside conditions fade into insignificance? That's a lovely, beautiful image. But only to our right minds which dream of Home and Happiness.

To our wrong minds still "hell-bent" on being an individual self, it is an impossibly fearful and painful image, because it is the thought of erasing itself from existence. So something in us will be fighting our attempts to remember true peacefulness when we become aware of our pain. It will be fighting us on a level that we are not likely to see. We will simply have the experience that 'it's not so easy to feel happy when things are breaking down'. That's what it looks like and feels like, but that's not what's actually happening.

What's actually happening is that unconsciously we have seen the opportunity of finding that wonderful comfort and peacefulness above all the storms of our lives, and we've said 'No way, Jose'. Because in that Peace, there is no more sense of a very specific 'I'. There is just peacefulness, but not 'me', not as any big deal. There is still the perception of the self (we will not be 'abruptly hurled into reality'), but not as anything interesting or important, just another image on a screen, and a screen that is itself not very interesting or important.

Our will settles on what is really important and true, and puts away the childish games and the objects ('sharp-edged children's toys') with which we have been hurting ourselves. The body takes its true place, in the backseat of our perception, rather than occupying the driver's seat. And all becomes more quiet and peaceful. Things can happen around us. Things can happen 'to us', and it's really all okay.



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 14th January, 2014:


Timeless Life


This article is the conclusion, we might even say the logical conclusion, to the previous article on Timeless Love. In that article we talked about Kenneth’s sickness and our responses to his condition. Now that we know where that sickness was leading, we can look at our reactions to his transition away from his physical body, and try to find peace of mind.

Once the dust has settled a little, once we can take a break from reaching for the box of tissues or someone’s shoulder, we get to ask a series of really sticky questions. But let’s say they all start with one major question, Why? “Why did he have to die now, especially after he reassured us that he wasn’t going to die?” And following closely on this, “What am I supposed to do about this pain that seems so overwhelming?”

I’m not sure there is an adequate way of composing an answer to the question of ‘why’, at least, not an intellectually satisfying answer. We can certainly try but in the end we are not going to feel convinced we have a satisfying explanation. The reason for this comes back to something Kenneth has been telling us for years. The individual mind is a device constructed in order to not know and not understand the nature of time, space and reality. It is because we are trying to understand this event intellectually that we will fail. It is because we are trying to understand it emotionally that we will fail. That thinking/feeling part of our mind was programmed to keep us within the confines of the special separated self, and outside of all real knowledge.

While we dwell on ‘Ken’ who left ‘us’ who was ‘here’ for a length of ‘time’ and now is in another ‘place’ that ‘we’ can’t reach, we will find it mind-numbingly frustrating and downright heart-wrenching. Specific, separating thoughts like these will always lead us back into pain.

There has to be a better way, and there surely is another way.

Perhaps the other way is to flip the record over and play the other side. What if reality is where ‘Ken’ is now, and we are the ones who have imagined a place that is not ‘there’ where he is. In that way, it is not he that left us, but we that left him. It is not he that is in the ‘wrong’ place now, but us. It is so remarkably tempting to still think that we are where reality and existence lie, and he is now in some vague and abstract place of unreality, if he exists at all.

The truth is, we are the ones continuing to dream of what is not real. And the purpose of that dream is specifically to have an experience of states of mind such as sadness, sorrow, lack, ending, fatality, hopelessness, desperation and despair. And thus we do.

Reality, Heaven, Home is real. Nothing else is. That is where we are, all of us, all the time, in a state we cannot comprehend within the limited, intellectual mind. We cannot ‘think’ through this one. This state ‘here’ that appears outside that perfect place is not true, and not real. Yet we have adopted this extraordinary capacity to make real (seemingly real) what is not real. The power of our minds is such that we can insist on the truth of this separated state, a place of beginnings and endings, to such an extent that we experience it as ‘real’. We have to call this into question.

The hologram is not real. We live forever in another perfect place. Let’s turn the tables now and begin to observe this whole phenomenon from that other perspective.

Kenneth spent a great deal of time during his talks telling us we were not here. Honestly, this made no sense to us. We listened to his words, wrote them down, once, twice, countless times. It still made no sense. After all, here was this intelligent man standing behind a podium addressing a full hall of participants; there was a time set for the beginning and the end of the talk; there was lunch to think about during the break; hotels to check out of; planes to catch at the end of the seminar. Everything in our minds, our lives, our circumstances seemed outstandingly real. Ken must have misunderstood something. Right? No. We were in denial.

Who on earth wanted to really listen and pay attention? He was serious; he was trying to prepare us: we didn’t want to realize what he was saying. We still wanted our worlds of individual bodies to be true, starting with his.

The only way we pay attention and really seek for the ‘other way’ is when we’re in pain. Deep pain. When the logical conclusion of believing the hologram is reality, with all its rules of death, murder, bereavement, endings and abandonment, becomes too outrageously painful, only then do we say: “I’ve got to get out of this asylum.”

The end of the asylum is already here. It simply requires us accepting on a deeper level that we have, indeed, been entirely wrong about our own personal existence outside this remarkable place of Love and Kindness.

Not only was Ken never really here (as he consistently implied) – we were never here, either. We have all been outside this world entirely, simply looking upon a dream in which we collectively brought into that dream world, first a dream of a splendid book with its own splendid teacher (Jesus), and then another wonderful teacher by the name of Kenneth Wapnick. We brought him into the dream so that our acceptance of this world as an illusion might be that much easier.

Having imagined this world outside of our Home, we were then apprehensive (perhaps terrified is more appropriate) about remembering the illusory nature of our makeshift home. Kenneth was the symbol we brought into our dream to help us in the gentlest, kindest way to make that shift. That was his sole purpose in this dream, not to anchor us further in the dream, but to bring us back to a clearer perception of the nature of reality. To help us remember this was just a dream, and our Home was elsewhere. A perfect Home right there, within our minds.

Perhaps we slipped into using him to make this world more real for us. Perhaps. Okay, let’s say it’s more than likely. After all, we loved his manner, his ways, his playfulness, his extraordinary intellect and sophistication, his general culture, his warm shoulder. And most of all, his prodding and advice along the path. All very nice things within the dream.

But it is we who had collectively asked for that kind reminder, that symbol, within the dream. He was our collective dream manifestation. We are the proverbial hand with many fingers, each one of which represents the image of a person in this world. But the truth is the hand, not the fingers. As the hand, we designated one of the fingers to be the special reminder that we are one. We looked at that finger and said, “You are separate and different”. And he replied, “No, we are one. We are a ‘hand’. And you are not there, not as anything separate.”

To the extent that we are able, we must try now to look at this from the point of total Oneness, as one mind having an experience of different personalities. All of it is false, of course. But it is a story that can lead us back to a place where we can begin to sense the truth: that all this is really happening in an entirely different way.

Bodies will come, and will seem to go. Life will seem to end. We have designed all of it that way. We can see this as a desperately unhappy design, or we can start to sense the infinite kindness behind the mayhem of this world.

This is not our world, and we are not in it. We are where Ken is. It is we who are having the experience of having left that marvelous place of eternal comfort, of having left his side. The pain of that impossible rupture was always there in our minds; Ken’s departure just brought it into sharper focus. This is the beauty of our current situation. We can learn to open our minds to this possibility of timeless life, and an experience can come to us that, indeed, nothing has ended and nothing ever ends.

All goes on forever and all is preserved in that perfect place that time cannot affect. Kenneth smiles mirthfully upon our head-shaking and frustration, swiping us with his tickle-feather, messing our hair and jumping out at us when we least expect it. He is everywhere, and accompanies each one of us individually, because that is what it is like in that place with no boundaries. Distance means nothing there. The mind we share is so large that it takes in all hearts wherever they may be. And he is at the center of that mind, distributing kindness and words of encouragement at a rapid rate. We just need to shake loose of our rigid concepts of space and thought. If we believe this now, if we remember this is true, then the pain will fade and disappear.

Kenneth certainly would not want to think that he caused us suffering. The way to see that he is not causing us pain is to go where he is in the mind and know that we share the same mental space with him. That is where we are, all together.

Our reality and home is where he is, and that is where it always was. The fact that we then have a perception of being outside that home does not mean we are. Our perception and senses lie to us. We should not believe them.

We may believe we exist outside of that one perfect mind, but that is a trick of the senses. We can play our own trick, however, and play one up on the ego. We can pretend this physical and psychological body is our self and home, and yet continue to keep our attention firmly on that other holy place. That is the trick Kenneth played for years.

He knew he was not in his body, but having an experience through the body-puppet. It was a game he would play for a certain length of time, and then the game would shift and change and he would appear to leave his body. In this same way we can begin to remember that this is a game we choose to play for a while, and then it will shift and change as well. And it would be the same for all the ‘people’ in our lives. We are all just image-puppets playing a silly, temporary game of imaginary exile, all seven billion of ‘us’.

We will all pretend to live outside our holy Home for a time; some of us will be more convinced than others. Most of us who listened to Ken have chosen in this lifetime to try to remember that this world is a dream and nothing more. There are things we can do now to help ourselves, and to help move past the pain that would block our perception of the truth behind his passing.

We can feel our pain and ask the opening question, ‘What is this pain and sense of loss, what is it really? Where is it coming from?’ We ask it with kindness, in a sincere wish to help ourselves move past it and heal it. And if we do so, we can then recognize that the ‘us’ that is asking the question cannot be the same ‘us’ that is feeling the pain. At that point, we have moved back towards Kenneth.

We can feel his presence encouraging us forward, to take the next step. He will help us see that the pain is a choice that a confused and bewildered part of our mind has been making, purely in an effort to not feel his Love and Kindness. That was the purpose of our pain, simply to prevent us from moving back toward Love.

Comfort is there for us, a true, loving comfort present in every single instant of our pain. It simply requires us asking the first leading question. And Kenneth will take our hand from there. We honor him by returning to his warm embrace, by feeling his smile lighting our way, leading us back toward the memory and experience of his timeless life. His warm shoulder and gentle hand still there, his intelligence and wisdom still present every step of the way, continuing our learning.

We still have much to look forward to, and we still have much to learn. He is there. He has not let us down, and he has not left us. Let us walk towards him now and find him there.

Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep— He hath awakened from the dream of life— ’Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep With phantoms an unprofitable strife, And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife Invulnerable nothings... He lives, he wakes—’tis Death is dead, not he; Mourn not for Adonais.—Thou young Dawn, Turn all thy dew to splendour, for from thee The spirit thou lamentest is not gone... Lines from the poem, Adonais, by Shelly, quoted by Kenneth in his talk, The Light of Laughing Flowers



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 28th December, 2013:


"I live in you"


Dear friends,
My wife and I have just been informed of the passing away of our beloved teacher. Our hearts are joined with you all as one, both in sorrow, and in the deepest gratitude and the kindest remembrance of a love that came from beyond this world. We hold your hand, and feel your warm hands in ours.

Announcement on the Foundation's website: "It is with the utmost sorrow that we inform you of the death of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick on Friday December 27, 2013. He died peacefully at home with his beloved wife Gloria and family at his side. The family will have a private service and plans are being made for a forthcoming public memorial."

"There is no death. The Son of God is free." (W-pI.163)
"Teach not that I died in vain.
Teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you."
(T-11.VI.7:3-4)





sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 24th December, 2013:


Perfect Safety


Dear friends,

The year-end is approaching fast, accompanied by the traditional holiday frenzy of last minute shopping, last minute preparations and card-posting… and through it all a soft and peaceful presence joins us and guides our steps along our path. How comforting.

Whether we are on the road to the supermarket, to some special gift store, visiting relatives, or just wrapping presents or figuring out a menu of juicy meals, a certain familiar sereneness has invited itself along for the ride. Can you feel it? In this place of perfect silence that surrounds us during our busy day, there are no goals, no objectives, no expectations or needs. Everything is already there, full, complete and entirely satisfying.

This tranquil plenitude is our home. Nothing within is missing. During this season, when we are inclined to feel burdened by so many expectations, ours and those of others, for a successful family gathering or meal, it’s good to know that we have already arrived. There is nothing to prove or accomplish. There are no needs unsatisfied. We are there. Home. A majestic Love has already accepted us within its wide embrace, despite all we might be tempted to think are the lacks and faults around us.

It is difficult to express the deep acceptance that divine Oneness reserves for us. Our little self prevents us from understanding this extraordinary welcome and inclusion. We must trust in the process of A Course In Miracles to guide us beyond our individual minds toward a clear, calm place where Reality is revealed in perfect understanding. Let's help each other as we walk along the path towards the remembrance of our perfect shared Identity. And let us forgive ourselves once more when we find ourselves failing and falling into a perception of differences, specialness and judgment.

Love remains our constant companion, completely patient and understanding. We have faith that God holds our reality in perfect safety. And when everyone has gone to bed and we sit mindfully in the quiet of the house, feeling that special silence and calm, we remember that in this splendid, holy Universe, we are not alone.

"When you are still an instant, when the world recedes from you, when valueless ideas cease to have value in your restless mind, then will you hear His Voice. So poignantly He calls to you that you will not resist Him longer. In that instant He will take you to His home, and you will stay with Him in perfect stillness, silent and at peace, beyond all words, untouched by fear and doubt, sublimely certain that you are at home."
(W-pI.182.8:1-3)


* * * May your holidays be truly joyful * * *

All our blessings,
Bernard and Patricia




sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 20th September, 2013:


Timeless Love


I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in having been upset by the recent news of our teacher’s state of health. This set off multiple rounds of back and forth debating in my mind between its right and wrong aspects, volleying for airspace with increasing strength and rapidity. I then had a conversation with a Temecula resident and inspired by our thoughts, wrote this article in the hope that it will clarify some of the difficulties we all share.

A does not equal B
I could feel that we were both disappointed. We had unconsciously expected that there should somehow be a correlation between a healing of the guilt in the mind and a healing of the body. Somehow perfect forgiveness/right mindedness should equal perfect physical health. But upon investigation, this link wasn’t so clear. Someone who has reached the stage of having resolved all the unforgiveness in his mind might not demonstrate the physical symptoms of what we call 'illness', but then again he may.

In truth, once a person is perfectly in his right mind, he is not especially interested in what happens to the body, since it is no longer the center of his perception or the cause of his experience. He no longer needs to use the body as a learning instrument in order to learn his forgiveness lessons. Everything about the person is used to communicate forgiveness and perfect guiltlessness, not for the person himself whose mind is totally healed, but for others. And so I think it is quite possible that a teacher’s sickness could happen (from a collective perspective) to communicate perfect forgiveness and freedom. This person demonstrates that the body's condition no longer has any real consequence or importance. For us, it means we can learn to forgive the body for not being perfect or important. After all, it was born out of a thought of imperfection, we accept a multitude of bodily imperfections in this world, and it will cease to function in a way that makes it appear imperfect. There is no perfection here in form. This is just another belief we should try to uproot and discard.

I think a lot of us were particularly shocked by our teacher’s sickness because we secretly believed that we could perpetuate and ameliorate our own body's condition by learning to forgive and become totally right-minded like him. We were mystified by our teacher’s ability to function with little food and rest, but we loved the idea that we could perhaps become just a little like him if we could just learn to let go of our guilt. We all secretly hoped that one day our allergies, weak intestines and chronic fatigue would improve just because we gave up our judgments. In that case, our ACIM practice had nothing to do with Jesus' goal but with our own ego's. This is not surprising, of course, but we do need to become aware of it. What better way than for us to observe our teacher demonstrate that there is no such guarantee? But more importantly, there is no reason to want to have that kind of guarantee - that's the real message that our teacher’s condition can demonstrate to us, if we want.

Timeless Love, front and center stage
The whole point is, who wants a healthy body? And why would we want a healthy body? These are not facetious, uncaring questions, but must be gone into in depth. Who is the 'us' that wants perfect health? ("Who is the 'you' who are living in this world?" T-4.II.11:8) A healthy body makes no difference to the mind. It doesn't heal the guilt or get rid of pain and guilt. There are lots of healthy bodies out there connected to very sick, unhappy minds. We want a healed mind, not a healed body. That's the point we really want to come back to time and time again. A healthy body is a good and worthy goal, but it’s not our deepest goal. It's all about the mind, because that's where the real pain is. Getting rid of the physical symptoms and removing the cancer, bacteria or virus is not going to do anything to our fundamental experience. Only healing the belief that we can be separated from timeless Love, and that such a separation could justify feelings of guilt and vulnerability, will improve our experience of life. And it will improve it in such a way that the body's condition will only interest us marginally. It will be just on the edge, on the periphery of our perception. Pure, timeless Love will be at the center of our perception. A peaceful joyfulness will be front-stage in our experience, even as our bodies' functions perhaps decline and then finally stop.

We can more resolutely shift our attention back to the mind now and stop pretending that the body is the source of our experience. Our pain and fear come from feeling that guilt and vulnerability are justified. If we can just learn to make that shift ever so little back to the perfect innocence in the mind, then we can begin to release the body from the need to suffer. It will do its thing, maybe it will stay well, maybe it will get ‘sick’, but we won't have an experience of it suffering. It will just be there in the back of our minds. We will have learned about its unimportance in the grand scheme of things, and so it will take its place back-stage in our awareness.

A Foundation teacher apparently said in class recently that we can't know from Kenneth's point of view why he has brought this sickness into his dream, and that's not our concern. His dream is his dream. We need to busy ourselves with working out why we brought into our dream this perception of our teacher falling sick. Maybe Kenneth is as happy as Larry with all this. Sitting in a hospital room with doctors all around him or sitting at his desk writing his next book or lecturing to us, perhaps it’s all absolutely the same to him. He’s happy and peaceful. What about my perception? What's preventing me from shifting entirely away from a body-focus toward a purely mind-focus? What is it that stops me, why do I hesitate? I see that it’s because a part of me is terrified of making that shift. If I make that shift toward a purely mind-perspective, then I have to make a shift away from my body-identification. I have to see that we're not really bodies - at all. We are Mind, mind that is untouched by the body's condition. The two do not meet. That's what scares me.

"What, I'm not a body?"
After ten, twenty or thirty years of ACIM study, that central lesson can still come as a surprise. Because we're capable of reading it, writing it, repeating it, meditating it and telling it to others but without really bringing it inside to a truly visceral level (pardon the pun). We've got to make that shift - that's the bottom line. We've got to forgive the body for not being an adequate home. We have to forgive ourselves for even trying to make the body our home-away-from-Home. We have to forgive our hate of the body, our hate of others' whose bodies have failed them and us. We have to begin to let the whole thing go. We've got to learn to make the shift. That’s the next step. That’s my next step.

Yet a part of me still clings to the idea of my teacher as a body. I want him to be in a body – and to stay there! Even if he has to stay in a sick body, he has to stay there. My whole world will turn upside down if he’s no longer attached to his body. I want him to stay a concrete, external teacher in a three-dimensional body in a perfectly predictable and stable material world. And I’d be downright angry it he ups and leaves. I’m not at all sure I like all these ideas about just ‘being mind’.

The shift that we haven’t been making is realizing that our teacher is not in his body and he is not communicating to us from his body, and he never has. He is communicating to us within the mind. And it is within the one mind we share that all this is taking place – even now as we read this letter. But this is why we want to keep him in his individual body: to make sure we all stay within our familiar concepts of individual bodies relating as separate entities in a world ruled by time. Yet what has Kenneth been telling us all these years? “There’s no one here!” I’m surprised now as I listen to his CDs how many times he has said this in his seminars. I think we all gloss over this as a just a quaint idiosyncrasy of our teacher – ‘there he goes again’. But all this time he has really meant it, and he has really felt it. There is no one really here – it is all happening outside of this world of time and space.

Majestic Life
We don't yet realize yet (one day soon we will) that our worst nightmare is not that our teacher gets sick and maybe dies. That’s what it feels like, but that’s not what really scares us on a deeper level. Truly an even scarier prospect is that he was ever here in a ‘living body’. We should want to begin to realize that Kenneth is only a representation of a voice for Love and Truth. He is a charming, lovely, kind, generous, humorous, provocative, wise, fun-loving and sophisticated image we have collectively invited and maintained within this dream. But he is only an image - just as we are only images, and this is truly good news. Life, real Life, continues on totally uninterrupted outside of time and space in a place we call ‘Heaven’ in the Course’s language while 'we' on 'earth' continue to be frightened and panicked about the comings and goings of all the different images before our eyes.

How can we make the jump to see that this is so? The obvious difficulty is that we must begin to really want to see that we ourselves are only images on a misty, vague and unstable stage set - not in 'real life' at all. And even our loved ones are likewise part of this misty stage-set. This is the really difficult work. We are finally confronting our real wish to remain locked in this false world, anchored in these bodies we call ourselves. Do we really want to know that we are something else entirely different, something magnificent and majestic, pure abstract Love and Kindness? We need to begin to shift toward that perception if we want to have a kinder perception of this passage in our collective lives.

While we are upset by our teacher’s sickness in any way, while his physical condition causes us the slightest twinge of discomfort, we can be sure that we have made him into a body, we have made the world real, and we are terrified not of the prospect of his death, but of our own personal discomfort and suffering. This is certainly not love. We don't want to make a big deal about it, but we do want to recognize that this is not love. We want him to stay in a physical body, to continue teaching and mussing our hair, all purely for our own personal reasons. We want him to prove that life here can be stable and enjoyable, and we can become healthy trim bodies like him. We need to start to look at this and to get over it. This is not what we really want.

We want something else
I'm sure a number of us have never seriously imagined that day when our teacher would no longer be giving lectures. We all thought that we would go to the 'next academy'. Or we could just buy the next CD set. There would always be 'more'. What if we didn't need 'more'? What if Kenneth has already given us enough? It would be hard to argue the opposite, don't you think? What if we never needed to go to another lecture? What if we never needed to buy another CD set? What if we just needed to sit down and finally work with the thirty-five (or sixty-five) recorded academies and seminars sitting on our shelves at home? Maybe the answer is already there. This is an opportunity for saying to ourselves: perhaps I have everything I need.

We don't need our teacher to stay in a physical body, and we don't need him to continue giving lectures for another ten years. That would be nice, that would be great, that would be lovely and even beautiful. But perhaps it's also unnecessary.

We still want something far bigger, more beautiful and even more extraordinary than ten more years of lectures and friendly hair-mussing. We all want to bring that timeless Love inside now.

The eyes of Love
Kenneth has shown each one of us, in very individual ways, what it means to look into the eyes of Love and be forgiven, to be totally accepted and known as the splendid being we truly are. We need now to learn to let go of the form and shape of those eyes that shared that knowledge with us. His gift to us is that timeless, luminous space he has led us to time and time again. His gift is not himself. His gift is the one Self we share together with him in that magnificent place. He remembers it, so that we might remember it. But it all happens outside the body. Now we must keep our minds there. That's where the action is. That's where the path Home is.

We can do it. He has that kind of confidence in us. Does he really need to plead with us in order for us to accept this gift of great peace, the memory of Home? Let's not look toward the body of our teacher, that's not what he wants. That would truly be 'silly', as he would say. But let's give him the gift he has been asking us to give for three times ten years. And it is not a gift to 'him'. It is a gift to ourselves, to the resplendent one Self we share. That is where we meet with him; that is where he is. He is not in his body. No one is there. If we just share this happy thought of freedom for an instant, he will receive it. That is true healing, and then the body is left peacefully behind as the mind soars to its proper place, back into eternity, back into timeless Love.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

P.S. I hope it's clear that I'm working through this just like everyone else. These are just the thoughts that come to me when I try to talk to myself from the more detached part of my mind. I wish everyone true peacefulness and just a tad of courage to take the next few steps. If anyone wants to write me, you can reach me at bernardgroom@yahoo.com.
P.P.S. I do wish our teacher the speediest recovery and a pleasant journey back to full physical health, and hope to see him soon at another seminar.



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 4th June, 2013:


One perfect Thought...


A little poem by yours truly that tries to capture the feeling of lightness and wonder when we discover how simple this path really is...

One perfect Thought

All I am ever faced with is a thought.

There is nothing else out there.

No lying mechanic, no cheating supplier.
No slow-paying client or unfaithful spouse.
No awful weather, no miserable day, no nagging, demanding children.
No inefficient government employee, no empty fridge, no broken supermarket trolley.
No lack of parking space, no weak coffee, no aging skin.
And no rampant fever or uncontrollable disease.

They are not there.

All I am ever relating to is a thought.

A simple thought about these things appearing in my world.
Oh, they are there. But just as images.
Take away the thought,
The thought of vulnerability, of hate, of viciousness and murder,
The thought of sadness and deprivation, of outrage and despair.
The thought of loss and lack and want.
Of guilt and burning shame and sinfulness.
Of incapacity and hopelessness.
Of failed redemption.
Take away all these thoughts, just let them go,
And what is left is purely an image.

Oh, and something else, quite magnificent. Quite extraordinary, and beautiful.
Take away these thoughts,
And a Thought reveals itself to me.
Not a superficial, insipid and manipulative thought,
But a majestic, illuminated Thought,
One of bounty, happiness and perfection.
A veritable Presence.
Not just a thought, but a feeling, an experience, a Life.
No, even more than this.
An entire World appears before me.
But now a world of beauty and peacefulness,
Where all things lie blessed in a calm that extends outwards
And reaches to all corners of the planet,
All parts of the Universe.

There is no hatred. It is not there.
There was just a mistake, that is all.
A mistaken vision, an awkward, inaccurate perception.
In all appearances of horror, shame and despair,
That magnificent, calm Presence lies waiting.
Waiting.
Patient.
Ever so calm and patient.
Happy. Smiling.
Gentle beyond words, accepting beyond hope,
Beyond all my dreams of acceptance and salvation.
I am saved. I was never lost.
I was an image, and now I remember Reality.

(Photo credit: aksinya meditative photography)



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 19th October, 2012:


Why on earth doesn't it go away?


This letter was written in response to someone asking for advice on a persistent forgiveness classroom, you know, the kind that stick like glue! There is nothing really new in these thoughts; they just add to the general literature available now on this challenge. But maybe they speak a little differently about the subject. Anyway, it’s there for whoever wants.

Yes, forgiveness continues to be a real challenge for many of us, especially in some particularly difficult cases.

I think in some cases it is good to take a step back and just wait. Perhaps this is what you are doing when you say that instead of trying to 'heal' the relationship, you are just leaving it alone. That is often a very good step with our difficult forgiveness situations. After all, underneath it all, inevitably our real problem actually has nothing to do with the other person at all. They are just a 'convenient screen' onto which our mind is projecting our deep feelings of separation.

There is an underlying tension (this 'ontological guilt'), a tremendously powerful force while it remains hidden, which is catapulting our feelings onto this person and replaying over and over again all the injustices and inconsiderate behaviors of this other person. And the best we can do at these times is just to take a step back and watch the whole thing take place in our minds. We take a step back from the action and just watch ourselves go through the motions of accusing this other person, feeling hurt, responding unkindly, doing and saying the things we have done for perhaps years.

But now we have one part of our minds that is watching us do it. And we ask this part of our minds to do this as non-judgmentally as possible. We ask it to just watch and do nothing as in the now famous lines from the Course, “Forgiveness … is still, and quietly does nothing. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not.” Judging is doing something. Telling ourselves we are so wicked for wanting to kill this person is doing something. So we do nothing – mentally – with what we are observing. This is perhaps the only time when we are asked to be truly lazy in our lives, and do absolutely nothing. :-)

Then we try to see that while on one hand a part of us is absolutely miserable feeling hurt and wanting to hurt the other person in return, or hurting ourselves for our unforgiving thoughts toward the other person, another part of us feels very engaged in the battle. It feels like it could win some day, or that at least it could make a good point, it will have perhaps won a small round in the battle. Or it will finally have proven that the other person did indeed hurt it very unkindly and that it's suffering is totally justified! And the other person should suffer from his/her wicked behavior as a result. He/she should feel guilty and ashamed. That's the part of us that continues to get mileage, to get value out of keeping this feud/hurt alive and kicking.

This step – identifying this sneaky part of us getting a kickback from the situation – is a very, very subtle one, only because a part of us really, really, really doesn't want to know that we are doing this. In fact, we might even feel outraged that someone might suggest we are hanging on to this problem in order to keep feeding it, in order to keep feeling upset. Yet that is precisely the case. But why?

We exist through upset. That's the reason why.

It all goes back to the fundamental story of separation the Course teaches us. Our reality is not these little tiny selves we see in the mirror each day. We are something much greater, something magnificent and wholly good and beautiful. This something is part of Love itself, an extraordinary Presence we have no words for, abstract, wholly loving and wholly inclusive, outside of the dramas of this world of time and space. We are not this, this tiny little thing we walk around in every day. We won’t try to remember exactly what this magnificent thing is right now; that knowledge will come all on its own at the right time. All we need to do is keep calling into question the part of us that is NOT this wonderful being. This little self wants to remain outside of its true reality within Love.

Okay, now the part of us that wants to keep its sense of itself, of being a self outside of the presence of Love, exists through feeling upset, hurt, victimized, saddened, disappointed, betrayed, etc. This is, in fact, the self we are most familiar with. We are sooo familiar with it, in fact, that we don't even see that it is a 'self' outside of the memory of Love, of our Self. It is the little self that has a history, a life story to which it attaches a certain importance, validity and reality. It just feels like us, like the us we have always been. The 'me' that is sensitive, has feelings, can be hurt, has its sore points, good points, etc.

But this self is a fabrication. It is only sensitive because I say it is, despite the automatic nature of these feelings. I maintain this sense of self by making sure its sensitivities are in place. At any moment I can say that I'm not really bothered by what another person says, thinks or does, but I decide not to. Why?

Because it's in my little self's best interest to make sure another person is the real cause of my sensitivity and distress.

You see, at the moment that we decide that we want to have a self outside of the presence of Love, then we allow in an enormous sense of discomfort and tension into our lives. Obviously - because separating from Love is by definition a painful state.

But while I want to keep maintaining this state of separation, of self, I cannot possibly maintain that I am responsible for it, that it was my choice. Otherwise I would see how totally insane I am, actually wanting to live in pain. So I must do anything and everything possible to disguise the fact that I'm actually choosing this tiny painful state.

And the best way of disguising this is simply by seeing that this discomfort really has nothing to do with any choice I might or might not have made. It's all coming from the decision that THIS BASTARD has made, not me!!

He could have decided to be nice, to be kind and considerate, to be loyal and trustworthy, to be normal. But no, he can't help himself from being unkind, selfish, inconsiderate, from putting his needs forward, from complaining, from being a victim, from doing his own thing and thinking only of himself etc etc.

So now my decision to maintain my little self outside the presence of Love is very nicely disguised. In fact, I don't see it at all.

Except that I'm still very miserable!!

But I AM JUSTIFIED!!

And miserable.

And so I'll study A Course In Miracles to try to feel better. And the Course will ask me whether I want to be right or happy, whether I want to continue to make this person wrong, or consider that my pain might be coming from a totally different source.

So we get to look at our situation from an entirely different point of view. Every time I am upset, there is a very clear thought that says, “You hurt me with what you said and did!” It is based on the obvious statement that says, “I am a human being, a sensitive person with feelings and needs.”

This statement is based on another logical thought, but an unrecognized one, that says, “I am a human being with feelings and needs, which means that I am not part of one magnificent presence of Love. No, I’m definitely not part of the abstract, unified presence of the Love of God!”

What we must learn to do is simply recognize the unspoken part of the equation. That’s all. Every time we get upset, we simply want to hear ourselves saying in the background, “I’m NOT part of Love.” And then to understand that all our powerful thoughts and feelings about this situation are there purely to prove that one statement to be true. That’s their role, their ‘purpose’. All we need to do is look at that, the purpose to keep Love away. Looking at it is the way we begin to ‘deny the denial’. Our initial statement denies the truth (I am not Love, I am a sensitive human being), then we ‘deny’ this by suggesting we might be totally wrong about that, and a just little insane, too!

Basically, the reason we don't really release this other person from our unforgiving thoughts is because he (or she) has a very important role in our lives. He is protecting us from something we don't yet really want to see or feel or know right now. He is a shield. Against what?

Against the knowledge that we are accompanied by that wonderful, kind and gentle presence of Love. This presence will erase all our hurt feelings and pain. But it will also erase all the importance we have given to our little selves. In the memory of that wonderful Love, our entire emotional system is undone, made ineffectual. Because it fills us with a real feeling, not a tiny, surface feeling like our normal feelings of hurt or even love. It is a feeling above and beyond all the others we have ever had. For the first time, we feel like we have actually felt something. And in comparison, we see that all our other feelings were just like fluff. This memory puts our entire lives back into correct perspective, as the incredibly tiny things they actually are.

All of us know this to be true on some level. And that’s why we don’t take that step. While we still want our tiny lives to be the important, significant things we think they are, while we don’t want that Love to take an important place in our lives, we will continue to give power to our mental/emotional systems and let them lead our lives.

Perhaps we don’t want this next step yet. That’s absolutely fine, there is no hurry. Soon we will want it. And until that time, we practice, we are patient, and we observe ourselves kindly and patiently. This is the only preparation we need, the way we learn more willingness and to release our fear. The way we ‘cut out the baby business’ and start to walk the talk. We remind ourselves there is a next step, which is forgiving ourselves for the silliness of wanting to separate from that presence within our minds, and that’s all.

The day we are really tired of the silly game we play of continuing to feel hurt and to blame the other person, and then condemning ourselves for wanting to hurt the other person, then we will simply open our arms to Love and the whole thing will vanish instantly, as if it had never been there at all. Because it never was the real issue.

Hope there is something useful in this for you,
Lots of love,
Bernard



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 24th August, 2012:


From Anger to Innocence


The one-day workshop we held this summer here at the budding "French Center" in Salviac was entitled "From Anger to Innocence". My mother, curious about the subject, asked for a basic, layman's explanation since she is not an ACIM student. I hope you enjoy the little article that came from this letter to her.

"Dear mum (that's English for mom),

As for the seminar, yes, the subject was From Anger to Innocence. It would take me a little time to write out the principle thoughts and exercises but I'll try to give the short version here.

The basic principles:
Love is a constant in reality and in eternity. It is the unshakeable, unchangeable principle behind everything despite all appearances of pain, suffering, lack and tragedy. This Love is not of this world but independent of it, that is why it is perpetually present. It does not depend on any conditions in this world.

I do not ask people to accept this as true, but if something in them resonates with this idea, or would like to believe it might possibly be true, then we can move forward. Otherwise the rest will make absolutely no sense. This is not a problem, it just means this path is not for them. Accepting that Love might possibly be a constant that comes from some place beyond this world is the beginning point and base of this philosophy.

If it is true that Love is a constant, then any time we are not in contact with this Love, it is not because Love is absent, but because something is blocking it from our awareness.

We might be tempted to believe that what is blocking it from our sight is in the world, in our body conditions or in the acts or words of some other person. But if Love is a constantly available experience, then it must be perpetually accessible, no matter what our life situation.

This means it must be an obstacle within us, and not without us.

In fact, at any moment that this Love is not present in our awareness and experience (which is most of the time) then it is because something inside us is making a decision not to be aware of it. This part of us, a very unconscious part of us that we are totally unaware of, is what we simply call the 'decision maker'.

The decision maker has two possibilities to choose from. Either it chooses the 'right mind' and joins back with Love, or it chooses the 'wrong mind' where Love is absent and pain appears to be real (obviously, because Love is absent). These are the only two real choices we have in terms of our experience of our lives and the world: right mind and Love, safety, comfort etc.; wrong mind and separation from Love, and hence pain, fear, loneliness, vulnerability etc.

Now what is strange here is that once the decision-maker has chosen to be unaware of Love, it must justify this decision, it must explain why Love is not present in its awareness. It does not want to know that it has actively chosen to refuse Love's presence, and so it makes up another story.

The explanation in the wrong mind for the non-Love we find there is that it is other people and other things that have taken It away from us, and not we that decided to move away from It. This is where all our anger, hatred, judgment and condemnation come from. It's the fault of others that we don't feel love. This is the constant condition and experience in the wrong mind.

So when we wake up in the morning and we don't feel the all-surrounding wonderful embrace of eternal Love within and around us, then we can be pretty sure we are in the wrong mind. This is not any kind of 'sin' or 'crime' but it will cause us unhappiness during the day. We will automatically find what we consider to be 'reasonable' explanations to justify why Love is not a feeling within our hearts.

And so when Joe Blog doesn't give way at the intersection on our way to work, and when the lady at the donut store doesn't say hello and just throws our donuts on the counter and when our partner is grumpy and tells us about how we're not responsible with respect to something, then our little ol' ego kicks in, jumps for joy and shouts: "I've found him, I've found him. It's YOU!! You're the reason I don't feel the warm embrace of Love in my heart anymore! Okay, God, go get him. He's the one! Punish the hell out of this bastard! Just look how I'm suffering."

And all this time it has absolutely nothing to do with the other person that Love is no longer within our awareness.

Love IS still there. We have just simply chosen not to see It, and believe we have then found the reason why it is no longer present. An unconscious part of us was actively on the lookout - yes, on the lookout - for Joe Blog, whoever it is, to make sure we could pin our feelings of upset on him.

And all this time, everyone else is doing exactly, precisely the same thing.

Everyone else who has also chosen to feel that Love is not perfectly present within the space of their minds is also looking for someone to blame their misery and bad choice on. And then YOU happen along, and BANG! Suddenly he or she is having a hard time with you and you wonder, what the friggin' hell?? I've got nuttin' to do with their problem, jeez.

And that's where their need to be upset with you comes from, from their poor inner, totally unconscious choice.

And this choice of theirs is EXACTLY the same as our choice.

The only way to begin to transform anger into innocence is to begin to see:

1. where their poor choices are coming from: from their original, unconscious poor choice to experience an inner separation from constant Love;

2. our perfect sameness with them, in that we do exactly, precisely the same as them. We are perfectly the same in our poor choice for separation and the wrong mind; and finally

3. that all this is just a series of poor choices that began with an initial poor choice to experience separation from Love, an exceedingly silly choice, but after all one that has absolutely no really important consequence at all. Love is still perfectly intact all around us and within our minds. Our refusal to remember it, see it, feel it, recognize it, know it, has not diminished or erased it at all.

This last point is where the perception of innocence comes in. The cause of anger is the feeling of having done something shameful to cause Love to disappear (a kind of deep feeling of dis-ease or guilt), which motivates us to find others responsible for our problem. The solution is to remember that there is no justification for this feeling of shame, guilt and separation from Love, and no reason hence for anger, because Love is still perfectly present: we are perfectly innocent of any thought of having harmed Love in any way.

This in a nutshell is the structure, methodology and psychology of A Course In Miracles. All our anger is simply the projection onto others of our own feeling of guilt over an (unconscious) separation from Love that does not exist. Innocence is true because Love is intact, and hence anger is unjustified.

Once we begin to turn back toward the active and real presence of Love within our minds, our anger becomes weaker and weaker and eventually disappears. We become incapable of feeling anger simply because there is nothing inside that feels hurt, betrayed, upset or lacking because of what someone else has said or done. It becomes ludicrous to get upset, because Love remains still firmly within our awareness, even when people are saying and doing totally crazy, irresponsible and unjust things. Innocence is just hanging there in front of us, ours and theirs. They are just amazingly confused individuals, and that's all - just like us when we make the same mistake. They are not 'bad' or 'sinful' individuals, just totally confused ones. Innocent ones. Perhaps dangerous ones on the level of the world here, and so they have to be stopped. But then we don't stop them in anger but just in reason. It is reasonable to stop people from hurting others and themselves.

So there you go. Hope that gives you something to think about.

Lots of big squishy hugs to you,
your son, Bernard

PS This process is much harder to do than it sounds!! It's because a part of us desperately does NOT want to turn back toward Love. And that's why the process sounds crazy to a part of our minds. It just doesn't seem possible that Love is present at certain times when certain people do certain unconscionable, stupid, selfish and dangerous things. That's because our ego desperately does not want to recognize that Love might be present DESPITE what they are doing. But that's another story for next time perhaps...



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 14th April, 2012:

Heaven Always 'Wins'


In this article we look at the themes of fidelity in relationships and our special attachment to feelings of betrayal. Uncovering the true nature of our thoughts is always so useful because it leads us inevitably back to a place of honesty from where we discover the beauty the ugliness has been hiding. As always, Beauty (the Love of God) attracts us much more than any ‘gifts’ the ego might give us. In this way, Heaven always ‘wins’…

I was having a discussion with a Course friend the other day over Skype and she was asking about a particularly difficult situation in her life. She was frustrated, sad and angry because it seemed that her partner did not always give her the signals of fidelity she expected in a relationship. She couldn’t be sure, but it seemed to her that he could be unfaithful to her – even though she believed he never had been – and this brought up a lot of anger in her. We had had this discussion before, but this time it took a different and more useful direction.

I didn’t really know where to go with this initially, so I spoke for a minute about how Ken is always helping us see the outside as simply symbolizing some dynamic going on in our own minds. So then we turned her perception around, and we looked at the possibility that she was the one being unfaithful in some way. How might this be the case? we asked. On the surface this seemed absurd, since she had never been interested in other men as such. But then a bell seemed to ring somewhere for her, and an important discovery came to light.

It appeared that for some time she had been on the fence, not with respect to her partner, but toward Jesus’ Love and the Course. In essence, the feelings of unfaithfulness and untruthfulness that she claimed belonged to another person were actually an expression of her own relationship to her Self, as represented by Jesus. There was indeed unfaithfulness and betrayal being played out in her life, but it wasn’t her partner’s. It was her own with respect to her higher Self, or Jesus.

She was having a hard time being committed, making that commitment that says, I really want to believe this, I really want to make this the truth for me now. It was as if she had been waiting for Jesus (symbolized by her partner) to let her down at some point so she could say, “See, I was right all along in not trusting you!” The issue had nothing to do with her partner, but with her partnership with Jesus, her inner teacher of truth and wisdom.

This was already good news, she thought, but still it hadn’t yet seemed to stop the feeling of some injustice, a feeling that provoked real hatred within her. It seemed there was still a valid reason she should doubt and judge this person. There was still some way in which he would or could betray her, she was sure. In some way or another, he would prove himself to be a hypocrite and a liar. This was her greatest fear. And then it all became just that little bit clearer.

She, of course, was the hypocrite and the liar. “What, me?” Sure, because we all are. No one is exempt from being a hypocrite. As really tough as it is to hear the truth, we’re all liars and hypocrites. That’s why we have such a hard time with these ‘lying’ people in our lives.

Let’s use the old bathroom mirror test again: if there is an image we believe to be a real person in the mirror, then there is a liar there. Why? Because our reality is patently not these individual bodies. I am lying to the world and myself every time I open that front door in the morning and walk out into society, deeply believing I am the person I saw in the mirror while doing my hair. So of course I’ll feel there’s a liar in my midst. Only he’s not in my family. He’s in me, in the very image and vehicle I walk around with every day.

“I’m not this body – that’s the truth.” Of course we’re not these bodies. How could a tiny physical bit of matter contain something so magnificent as the divine Extension of God?

I hope this doesn’t sound bad, but here goes: We’re wrong; we’re chronically wrong, all of us, all the time. And thank goodness, too! That is a blessing I think we will learn to appreciate more and more over time as we work with Ken.

Let us be grateful that we are not right about ourselves, about anything we might think about ourselves. No one utters one true word throughout the day, not if the starting point of his perception is the reality of physical bodies in a material universe. So we can conclude that means pretty much anything that anyone says to us at work, at home, in the supermarket, or on TV. We’re all chronic liars and hypocrites. (This is certainly not my idea – Ken has done a wonderful workshop on this subject entitled To believe a lie.) We can just stop right now expecting anyone to speak the truth. How could they, when their entire frame of reference for understanding reality is totally incorrect and absurd?

Is this bad? Of course not. Just silly, as Ken keeps reminding us. What do we do with silly liars and hypocrites? We understand them, we accept where their delusion comes from and the insane premises on which it is based. After all, it is our delusion, too. We are kind, and above all, we recognize ourselves as one of them, which leads to true forgiveness.

* * * * * * * * *

Yet my discussion partner still seemed to be having a hard time with all this. As she insisted, there must be a problem here somewhere with being a liar and hypocrite. “He is wrong, there’s something going on that’s just not right, I know it!” Those words seemed so strong for her, so laden with meaning. How could judgment, and ultimately condemnation, not be justified, faced with such horrifying treason? How could any of this be ‘understandable’ or ‘forgivable’?

And then another penny dropped in place: The reason that the treason appeared so real was because there was a need for it to be real. Ultimately the real, underlying betrayal that kept all her feelings in place was totally imaginary. There had never been a real separation from God.

There was a rather silent moment as my friend cogitated, and it looked to me like a sort of battle was going on in her mind. There must be a way that condemnation is still justified – I just know that it’s real, she seemed to be saying to herself. I could sense she was trying to come back with a riposte, an argument to defend her accusations. It seemed she was still trying to find a way to justify hatred and condemnation, but there weren’t too many options left now.

So I asked her, what if this current train of thought was simply to continue the game of feeling like a person, like a valid and real individual? “What game are you talking about?” she asked. I explained, as per Ken, The game of crying out to God: ‘I have betrayed you. You cannot just let me off the hook by saying ‘this is not real’. Just look at this separation, look at this individuality that I am. It is real; I know it is! And thus I must have hurt and betrayed you. You must believe me when I say that I am evil. If not… if not… that would be a catastrophe.

As we all know, we have a choice between wanting to be right or happy. The only thing is, we can never actually be right about our sinfulness and hatefulness, or about any condemnation for that matter. Heaven’s Love is always the ultimate reality. We have not been able to make real individual identities and lives for ourselves, based on real sin. Only make-believe evil identities with no effect, substance or consequence.

We talked about this for a minute and then there was a moment when my friend started to feel the presence of another, peaceful and innocent way of looking at her life. It was visible in her face, a certain kind of hesitation and deep reflection. I asked if she could sense the difference between the two points of view, and the two different minds that were looking at the question, her semi-wish to see herself as sinful for pushing Love away, her wish to continue justifying her feelings of hatred on one hand, and the quiet acceptance of Love on the other. She said yes.

It was obvious there was still some hesitation going on, as if she were still tempted to persist with the idea that betrayal was real. After all, there was still an entire sense of self-identity wrapped up in these thoughts. (Notice I said ‘sense’ of self-identity) But there was also something else going on there in her, a kind of reconsidering, of letting go, of giving up.

I thought to myself, That’s the miracle. It was palpable. The moment in which she stared directly at the choice in her mind between the wish for hatefulness and the wish for peacefulness, and then just gave up wanting to be right about all her reasons for the hatefulness she found there. I felt that this is what the opportunity that the miracle offers all of us. We just give up. Heaven is always kind and this kindness always erases any hatefulness, by completely invalidating it. By the recognition of the Love that is present, the hatefulness is just seen as nothing. We will not be right about our sinfulness, which means we will not be right about anyone else’s sins, either. When we accept that our sinfulness is totally untrue, all our desire to condemn others disappears instantly. We only judged and feared others because they were the repository for our self-judgment.

Heaven’s kindness always wins over our own unkindness. But then again, there never was a battle. What can possibly fight against “Love is”?

(Photo credit: aksinya meditative photography)



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 17th February, 2012:

A St Valentine’s Crash


I knew that St Valentine’s was supposed to be a day of surprises, but I didn’t realize to what extent that might be. This year my wife and I must have unconsciously decided to break with tradition and offer ourselves a car crash.

After enjoying a lovely little breakfast just the two of us, Patricia, my wife, had to drive to work early earlier than usual at 7.15. Over here in France we had had lots of snow and ice lately and sub-zero temperatures, but a lot of that had started to thaw. That night there had been a light snowfall of hardly an inch, so nothing really to worry about. I told Pat I would nevertheless ride with her down to the village (a mile or so) and then walk back up with the dog, just to make sure she was safe on the way down.

We started down the road and things seemed okay. But coming down a slightly steeper section the road bent ever so slightly to the left, and as Pat corrected her direction, the car just kept on going straight ahead as if on rails. There was nothing we could do, it was clear we were on a sheet of ice, invisible in the pre-dawn light and under the powdering of snow. We slid right off the road, down the bank, into the gully and the car turned over on its roof.

No one was hurt, it all seemed to happen in slow motion, as if we had already been through this. I remember very clearly every instant, approaching the brink, the tires sliding over the edge and down, the tipping of the vehicle, falling against the door, the thought ‘this can’t really be happening’. And as the car then somersaulted and we turned upside down, the sound of the windscreen cracking and the metal of the roof bending, there was this calm, a wonderful calm, as if we were all perfectly accompanied, or not quite in the scene itself. It was happening, but not really to us.

I felt surprised and yet safe at the same time, as if I knew in advance that no one was going to get hurt. Or more precisely, that nothing ultimately serious was happening, not really. It was just things happening, a totally unexpected change of scene. That didn’t stop me from being pretty scared in another part of my mind for Pat, and the dog, though I didn’t think anyone was hurt because it all happened so slowly, as we were only doing about 15 mile an hour down the road. We both got out of the car by scrambling into the back and out the door, the crushed roof making things a bit more difficult, but it was okay.

It was quite a site, to see this perfectly good car on its roof, where just one minute before we were rolling slowly down the road as content as can be. So, as of yesterday, we need to find another car, but more importantly to deal with all the residual thoughts that come up of “How could we have been so stupid, why didn’t we do such and such, we just aren’t vigilant enough in life, etc.” I spent big parts of the next day just looking at the stream of thoughts the ego could come up with, about guilt, fear, resentment (at ‘life’ a.k.a. God). And yet, although both of us might have had valid reasons to be self-critical, we haven’t been doing that to ourselves very much. That’s just too easy, and just not interesting. Peacefulness is far more interesting.

So when the car (a lovely old Audi 80) was hauled off to the junk yard, we stood next to it, looked at its misshapen form and then at our thoughts about it and ourselves, and tried to find a way of being really peaceful about the whole episode. It would have been too easy to walk away with a lot of sadness for our car that had been a reliable companion for nearly ten years, and inner judgment for our carelessness that had caused this waste and distress. But it was only a whole heap of judgments, thoughts and interpretations that were stopping us from being perfectly peaceful, and we saw it. There was nothing ‘real’ that was ‘making us’ be unhappy, as such. In fact, we looked at the car and started to feel a real peacefulness come to us. We had not ‘hurt’ the car, the car was just a different shape now.

If we looked at it more closely, we could even see something beautiful in the shards of glass and new shape of the roof and fenders, if we wished. They were just a different shape, not a bad one. What made us think there was anything ‘bad’ there as such? Where was there something bad and wrong? It was just an event that ended up with the car looking like this, a different shape. Everything, absolutely everything, could be a portal back to the remembrance of Love and the beauty contained in the mind. It was all there, all the time.

A sunset, a flower, a broken windshield, a concave roof, a broken headlight or a shaft of sunlight, it’s all the same thing. Nothing is there but that quiet space in which everything appears to be occurring. This reminded me of the first lessons in the workbook, which I feel I’m coming to understand much better. The Love of God is in everything in this junkyard with its masses of smashed vehicles, bent, torn and rusting metal, its wild dandelions and mice, because the Love of God is all there is. Quietness is all there is. No appearances in this world can alter or erase what is true, and what is truly present.

My conclusion is therefore this: “No cars were truly hurt in the making of this dream-scene. The producers take no responsibility for the wild interpretations that people might make while viewing this disaster film. All the characters in this car crash are totally fictitious; no resemblance to any real form of Life is intentional or even possible. Peace be with us all, and so it shall be.”

(Photo credit: aksinya meditative photography)





Village Bulletin Board, 24th November, 2011:

Article and Video: Good News, Bad News


Introduction: We navigate our daily lives through a series of what appear to us as good and bad experiences. However, our real life, as we are told in A Course In Miracles, is entirely outside this world and our physical/psychological bodies. This informal talk helps us understand this paradox, where our perception of good and bad experiences comes from, and what we can do to return our attention back to a clearer place outside the tumultuous world we live in from where we sense Reality as it is.

Many of you, I’m sure, have heard of this story. A farmer lost his best mare one day. The neighbors came and commiserated with the man’s misfortune. But the farmer just replied, “Good news, bad news; who knows?” A week later the mare returned and brought with her a fine stallion. A neighbor passing by remarked on the farmer’s good fortune, to which he again replied, “Good news, bad news; who knows?” A month later the farmer’s only son had his leg broken while trying to tame the stallion. Yet another neighbor tried to remark on the unhappy turn of events, to which the farmer gave his traditional reply. Some weeks later an army officer was sent to the farm to conscript the son to fight a distant war. Seeing the state of the son, the son was refused the draft. The mayor came to celebrate with the farmer, who stoically replied, “Good news, bad news; who knows?”

This story sets the tone for some thoughts that occurred to me this morning, which I share with you here.

Once we fall into the ego’s lies of insisting we are bodies, we will identify we them as if we truly are these bodies, never bringing into question this supposition. We then rapidly develop all sorts of feeling, emoting, thinking and perceiving mechanisms in order to validate this unseen supposition. The truth, of course, as Kenneth teaches us, is that we are not here, we are not within these bodies. There is another space, another place, in which our lives are contained, which is completely different from what we experience as our lives.

One of the ways in which we experience this relationship with the outer world as bodies is by our expectation that things here change. Notably that things can change for the better, and things can change for the worse. When we think that things can improve, we hold a hope that our efforts and what we think of as our inherent ‘goodness’ will bless us with positive changes. We see these ‘positive’ changes as signs that our worthiness and innocence have been recognized by some God capable of sharing our mad theology. Moreover, we see these successes as attenuating our critical inner condition of guilt, such that for a moment we are able to convince ourselves that all is really well in the horror movie of this zany planet.

We see ‘negative’ changes as the bane of our existence, what we fear from the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the instant we close them at night, and then persisting into our night-time dreams. We do not realize the extent to which we lead our lives with fear as the constant background sensation. But fear is completely understandable, once we have decided not to question the ego’s premise that we are these bodies. For there is nothing more vulnerable than a human body, with its requirements for a temperature range between 60 and 80 degrees, its needs for food and rest, and its general incapacity to deal with shocks or bacteria or even renegade cells. We see ‘negative’ experiences as proof of our sinfulness, and beg our insane God for forgiveness for what we unconsciously believe are our true sins. More than that, we secretly expect, and even delight in, punishing circumstances. Because above all other experiences, this would prove that we are, indeed, these vulnerable bodies, and that the ‘sin’ of separation is true and real.

This, then, is the total insanity playing out in the background of our unconscious ego mind with respect to our outside world.

Positive and negative changes – our days are organized according to this senseless pendulum regimen. Somehow the present is not adequate and acceptable exactly as it is. There is an insufficient condition about the present that must be altered in order for us to come back to some type of ‘happiness’ equilibrium. Why? Because in this present moment we find our right minds and the Holy Spirit’s answer to all this madness. If just for one moment we stopped to look honestly at our expectation for future change, we would find that remarkable place of disconnect with the things around us, and we would be free. In that place of freedom from the conditions surrounding us, we would remember: none of this is happening as we think it is.

As we go through our day today, I suggest we try to become more sensitive to our thoughts of wanting things to change. Maybe you’ll find some expectation for things to change in an important way, say news from a doctor or from a potential employer or a real estate agent. Or maybe it will be the expectation of some small change, such as a meal that is well prepared, or the shopping that goes off easily, or a nice cup of coffee with a friend at Starbucks. In each case we have set ourselves up thinking that in one way or another, if these things come off as I want, it will somehow change my experience of life. Happiness or sadness will result.

Yet nothing, absolutely nothing, on the outside can change our experience of life. This is the lie that we want to begin to pay attention to. It is a totally hopeless expectation, and a very depressing one, too. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying. It means we should take a step back as we go about our day and simply watch ourselves investing in the outside, as if it were the place where our experiences are occurring.

Our experience is not in the world. It never was. Not when we were joyous, and not when we were so miserably unhappy. Our place of experience was only ever within a place within our minds. We were never affected by the conditions or events in our tumultuous, unpredictable world, no matter how much evidence we can bring to court to the contrary. It is not so.

We are not there in the outside world. You are not here reading these words. We are there, back in the mind outside the body and the world, making a decision to remember truth and sanity. These words are the form in which we are remembering sanity; that is the outside expression it is taking. We are only ever in the mind, and our experience there is either one of remembering our true state of harmlessness and perfect innocence, remembering that nothing that happened in a dream of separation is true. Or it is one of total insanity, chaos, debilitating guilt, terror, vulnerability and meaningless change. But either way, we are never experiencing the world.

This is wonderful news. It means we can start to go through our day simply observing our false thinking processes, as we imagine that we will be better or worse off today according to certain things happening or not. Watching our general craziness. After all, what in this world could possibly change the true nature of existence? If my friend doesn’t show up for coffee, or is late – again – does this mean that Love is not present? If the waitress spills the coffee on my new coat, does that mean that sinfulness is true? If the real estate agent tells me the deal fell through, does that mean I am one step closer to death and eternal punishment for my sins, and that God has found me and is punishing me? Of course it does – to a part of me. And that’s what we want to learn to observe.

There is a part of me that actually believes this insanity – that’s why I had that slight twinge of discomfort in the first place. There is another part of me, however, that can recognize this insanity for what it is, and can join with that special place of quiet and truth in the Right Mind, far, far above the weird and tortuous happenings in this place we call our earthly home. A place in which a smile returns to my face, a smile that says, I know this is all a joke. Something else is going on right at this very instant, and that ‘something else’ is absolutely beautiful and remarkable. That something else is my Home, and my Reality.

Good news, bad news. All day, every day: good news, bad news. That will never change. What will change is the way in which I relate to these thoughts. I do not try to stop them, and I certainly don’t try to reason with them. I just take a step back and observe the degree to which I think they are true, the degree to which a part of me needs them to be true. The degree to which a part of me still may want a solution to exist in this world, for something exceptionally positive to happen, and to save me. What, save me?

But didn’t we learn way back in Lesson 70 that “My salvation comes from me”? Just to revisit that lesson for a moment, we read: “The seeming cost of accepting today’s idea is this: it means that nothing outside yourself can save you; nothing outside yourself can give you peace; But it also means that nothing outside yourself can hurt you, or disturb your peace or upset you in any way. Today’s idea places you in charge of the universe, where you belong because of what you are.” (W-p1.70.2:1-3)

To paraphrase, “Nothing outside of us can hurt us, or disturb our peace or upset us in any way,” – because there is nothing real outside of our minds. Our mind is the place of our experience, and our attention is either with the ego and its insane lies, giving rise to a make-believe world of spilled coffee and failed house sales; or it is with the Right Mind where we find the constant presence of eternal Comfort and Safety, a place from which we look calmly upon the scenes appearing and disappearing before our bodies' eyes, knowing that, quite simply, they are not true.

So, my friends, let us spend a pleasant day today knowing that whatever destiny brings our way in terms of good and bad news, successes and failures, the place of our experience is always within our perfect minds. We are all powerful, because whenever we want we can return our awareness to truth, the truth of our perfect innocence and eternal life. There, we are safe. There, we are joined as One. And that is where we are hearing and understanding these words right now.

PS. What prompted this article this morning was my spilling boiling water on my hand while making coffee! That little accident then reminded me of the other ways in which I had thought recently this week could go ‘badly’. And I said to myself, Let’s get over this now. Enough of this insanity: it is not true. :-)



Village Bulletin Board, 15th November, 2011:

Video: Heaven is just an arm's length away


>According to Kenneth Wapnick, the forgiveness process asks us to be willing to take a step back from our judgments and painful thoughts in order to question them in the light of our right minds. But sometimes our thoughts seem so powerful that we find stepping back even the slightest distance very difficult to do. In this talk I present a simple way of helping us do that, make just the tiniest step back which opens up the door to that calm and clear place in our minds. We keep the thought, but place it at arm's length where we can look at it acceptingly, kindly and non-judgmentally.

In that place, hardly eighteen inches away from us, we do not judge our harsh thought, we do not try to change it. We allow it to be there, and to be whatever it wants to be. We tend to it in the sense that we give it the space that it needs, all the while observing it quietly and gently. We do not place ourselves as an obstacle to it, and we do not make it an obstacle to anything. There is no opposition or fighting, and certainly no judgment or non-acceptance. The thought is perfectly acceptable as a thought, and needs just be forgiven, to have our judgment removed from it. It is only our judgment of it that gives it power and reality in our minds. Placing it just that slight distance outside of us helps us make the distinction between the mind that thinks this thought, and the mind that calmly observes this thought.

In many cases we feel the thought is part of us, that it is us, and we find it impossible to disengage from something that we believe we are. When we reach outward to the source of Love in our minds represented by Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we find a presence there that looks serenely and calmly upon our harsh grievances. We discover that there is an 'outside' of this thought, this dominating feeling, and this 'outside' is our right mind. Once 'inside' this place, the thought begins to lose its power, and slowly softens to melt into nothing.



Village Bulletin Board, 9th November, 2011:

Video: My First Projection Thought of the Day - YAY!


>After an ever so loooooong absence from contributing to the Village (all my appreciation to you for your kindness and patience), I will be slowly getting back into producing a few things for your study and interest. In this video, I talk about pinpointing that precise moment as we open our eyes first thing in the morning when we become aware of our first projection thought of the day. This is a golden opportunity for setting up the right mental framework for the day to come, asking ourselves to remember to bring all events back to the 'other' explanation in our minds. PS. I'm still very new to this video-making business, so forgive me if I seem a little impersonal and rigid. I loosen up a little as it goes on. Just imagine that, having initiated a food fight in the tavern, I'm trying to settle us down for some real 'work'!

Instead of unconsciously agreeing with the ego that my fear and anger are caused by some circumstance or person in my life, I remember that all my experiences and reactions are choices being made in my mind. The choice for guilt and judgment, giving rise to projection, or for forgiveness and the gentle smile, lies there in my mind. I can remember first thing in the morning that this is the place I want to return to as often as I can, and my day can go very differently.

As the sleepiness begins to fade from our minds, as consciousness begins to intrude upon our sense, my suggestion is just to lie in bed a minute or two and become alert to that first thought or sensation that crosses our minds. At some point there will be a spasm of worry, an instant of anxiety for something that must be done during the done. Perhaps it’s someone we must face, or a sense of urgency about a meeting, or things to be done. Or perhaps it’s just the anxiety of getting through another day of ‘trying to do things right’. Perhaps it’s the simple awareness of being a failing being, of not quite managing in life, of not winning the battle against time or society. Or it might be that thought of need, of needing to get something during the day, even if it’s just our first cup of coffee, in order for things to be good and right. It’s that thought of, “My God, if I don’t get…” then it just won’t be good. And that might pertain to a meeting with a special person, or an outing during the day. Some event in our lives during the day that carries a charge with it.

These thoughts and reactions are all expressions of projection – let us rejoice! YAY! We have spotted our first projection thought of the day, and we should be immensely happy.

For if we manage to take a step back first thing in the morning from that charged thought, stepping back into that quiet place that reminds us that all is well, that we have none of these needs really, then we stand a much greater chance of being able to reproduce that instant during the day. And our day can be spent switching more often and more easily back into a forgiveness mode of mind, than simply going through it unconsciously with the ego.



sunrise Village Bulletin Board, 9th July, 2011:

Healing rain drops from A's mind...


Often, when posting here at this now-intervowen-into-my-life Village, I’m in a quandary on whether to respond to the most recent post just before mine, or all the posts between my last post and the one I’m about to embark on, or all the people who wrote to my prior post, and acknowledge them, or just to move on to the next set of thoughts that occupy my mind…

Never an easy decision, and somehow the decision makes itself as I write.

Life is getting better each day for me. All the “troubles” and “issues” of the world remain. But they seem to be losing their power to upset me. I watch them, like I watch the rain fall off the edge of the tiled roof of my home, in the little Village where my grandparents once lived, many moons ago. It is a distant memory, but vivid in my minds eye.

Drop, by drop..

There is perfection in each drop, as it stops on the edge of roof, waits a second, or less, as it forms into its familiar bulbous rain-drop shape and falls onto the green earth below.

The sound of the raindrops on the tiles continue in a steady rhythm. All is well. It’s a good movie. I have nothing to do but to sit and watch the raindrops. There is peace.

Lesson 190 sinks into my mind, like the raindrops fall onto the earth. Somewhere, in some part of my mind, it was thirsting for these words, just as the parched earth craves the raindrop.

The words of the Lesson are like the raindrops. Falling slowly, gently, dancing for that millisecond as it makes its pre-destined way. The earth gets greener, it loses its dryness, my mind gets softer, loses its edges.

Pain is an illusion, the Lesson gently intones. Joy is awakening. It makes sense. Just as the raindrop moistening the earth makes sense. It’s inevitable. It’s peaceful. It is lovely.

“Would I deny some part of my mind its own inheritance, and keep it as a hospital for pain; a sickly place where living things must come at last to die ?”

I would rather not.

And so it is.
Peace.



sunrise Mayor's Journal, 2nd July, 2011:

Of Sunsets and Stones


I just came up with another short section for a book I've been working on for sometime, a sort of semi-autobiographical novel, « The Dream : A metaphysical romp through the south of France”, a story about a hassled Human Resources VP from a New York firm and his meeting with an enigmatic local character in a small country village in France while recovering from a difficult marital separation. It's a little lighter reading, so enjoy!

Pierre and I had been hiking for what seemed like hours. So much for his ‘little stroll through the woods’, I kept thinking. I had stupidly put on sandals, but then it had been normal given the hot weather. Only Pierre didn’t understand normal very much, and certainly didn’t care anything about fashion – he never left his solid all-terrain shoes. A city fella like me shouldn’t be subjected to short, brutal spurts of activity like this. It was clear he had never had a personal coach. But then what would a country hick like him know about fitness training? Then again he didn’t seem to need much of that; he was just in shape all the time. Well, you would be, wouldn’t you, if you didn’t have to work in New York midtown skyscraper like I did… On and on and on – bitch, bitch bitch. I noticed my constant stream of thoughts but just couldn’t seem to stop them.

Oh yeah, I’m just supposed to watch these thoughts and not judge them, Pierre had said. Right, okay, so let’s watch some more. Bitch, bitch, bitch… I heaved a heavy breath, which had nothing to do with the steep uphill we were clambering.

Up. Up. And more up. This last stretch of up was taking us where? Into the next county? Daylight was fading fast now. I was hoping he had strong flashlights in his backpack because I couldn’t figure out how we were supposed to get down this hill in the pitch black.

Suddenly, “Ow! What the …!” Several city-like words escaped my conscious control and expressed my feelings of frustration and growing anger at this imposed trek. I stopped in mid-hill and took off my sandal. There was a little cut where a sharp stone had managed to wedge itself in between the band of my sandal and the soft side of my foot. I tended my aching foot in an exaggerated fashion, looking to see if Pierre had noticed the obvious extreme discomfort I was in.

Ca va? Are you alright?”

As usual, he was watching me with his soft, understanding look, the kind of patient look that an older brother might have with his younger, impetuous and immature sibling. How many times over the past month during our many walks and conversations had I wondered about this guy? Why had he made it his personal mission to help me through this intense mess of my life? His quiet Zen-like wisdom, it’s true, had already made a huge impact on the way I was relating to my impending divorce with Anne. He had lots of other things he could be doing yet it was as if these meetings had been arranged in advance. I couldn’t be more grateful to him – he was the only reason I had been able to remain slightly sane over the past few weeks, ever since my collapse. There had been moments when his conversations had led me into such beautiful, calming territory that my problems had faded almost to nothing. Still, a part of me could feel resistant, no, outraged would be a better word, at his thoughts and ‘teachings’.

“Bernard, there’s not much further to go now, I promise. Then you will see why I brought you here.” His smile was genuine and warm, and as always, entirely reassuring. I couldn’t stand it.

“Yeah, right. Well, tally-ho, I guess. Let’s get this over with.”

Just as it seemed the steep uphill was ending I seemed to get another stone in my sandal and this time the little bugger was stuck in the space where the band joined the sole, and just wouldn’t come out. It was not painful, just severely uncomfortable, and I hobbled on, wanting to get to the top of this damn mountain that looked to be very close now. Pierre said, “It’s just here now, a little further. Un peu plus loin. Viens. Come, you’ll see.”

The trees were thinning and my boy scout guide picked up the speed a little, excited, I guess, about what we were going to find. Not me. More woods, no doubt. Just different. “Oh, chestnuts!” Wow.

I limped on even as we crested the hill and came to a clear patch among the trees. The light grew brighter, no longer blocked by the forest, the last rays of sunlight filtering through the trunks and illuminating a type of lookout point that an immense flat rock seemed to form. He guided me on to little promontory and out into the middle of a view that was, I had to admit, pretty spectacular. The rolling hills countryside stretched for miles in all directions in front of us. There in the distance the Dordogne River wound through a series of cliff faces, now lit up with a rough sandy glow. A medieval castle perched on one flank of a hill, and small hamlets dotted the valleys. Pierre pointed and in the direction of his hand drew my eyes to the horizon. A majestic jagged line arose from the flat countryside, the silhouette of mountains of the Massif Central range some hundred or so miles away, now lit up by the slanting daylight.

“Nice sunset.”

I sat down and took off my sandal, trying to find out why this little stone just didn’t want to come loose. If I were ever going to get down from this eagle’s perch, I’d have to …

Ouf!” The sound came from my own mouth. The wind was temporarily punched out of me as Pierre gave me a kick in the ribs.

“Hey! What the hell’s your problem!”

“You’re not looking.” There was no accusation, just a remark.

“Yeah, it’s a nice sunset, I already said so.”

“I don’t mean the sunset! You’re not looking.”

This was another of those peculiar moments when I was sure two minutes ago Pierre had been a normal human being and then he goes weird on me, like we’re not speaking the same language.

“Let me explain…”

This was the special code phrase he used that now meant he was going to go surreal on me and tell me again about how none of what I was looking at was real. These moments usually sent my head and emotions spinning, yet strangely there was always a kind of peace that accompanied this vertigo.

He said, “This is your life. The most magnificent creation surrounds you at every moment of the day. And yet you can only find the pebble in your shoe to look at. Every thought, every emotion, every reaction you have every day is the pebble in your shoe. It keeps your attention focused on what is not real and true. Every conflict, every upset and fear, this is the stone. It feels like the thing bothering you, the most important thing in your life, yet it is nothing.”

Easy for him to say – “It iz nossing.” And, yes, I noticed how I could be an asshole even at these times when he was giving me a gift of great price.

He continued, “You are scared, that is all. You are scared to let go and know what is truly there. And so you make up a story about your physical or emotional pain. This could be about your boss, your work, or you wife. Your life in general. But you can let it go and know it is nothing if you want. Just look at the stone from up here. Don’t go down there and try to understand it. Just be with it and let it be what it is. The pain will not be so great then. When you look at what is greater than your little life, you will feel this magnificent Presence of quiet and you will see how small are your problems really.”

I had stopped fiddling with the stone. I couldn’t ignore this strange feeling of leaving my body and flying high over the stone ledge, looking down at these two characters perched on the side of the valley, one of whom seemed to think something stupendously critical was going on with a part of his anatomy. It’s true, there was so much more.

“Just let it go.”

His words came from somewhere – where? Something called my ears seemed to hear them, yet the words just seemed to be there in some space that existed between us, yet there was no real precise ‘us’ in my awareness anymore. Just a spacious area where thoughts were coming and being spoken. I hadn’t even known that such a place existed until I had met Pierre and he had begun what he called my ‘training’. He seemed to take me to this amazing place so easily. He said I had come to France to meet him because I was ready. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He said I would in time. Now seemed to be one of those moments when I could begin to understand.

He was right. Despite my immense capacity to be self-involved, a part of me seemed to know what he was talking about at some deep level. He had called this my ‘right mind’, a place of understanding it seemed we all contained. Just let it go… His words resounded now in that quiet space.

“Just look…” he continued. “Just look, and do not judge. Be quiet and calm with yourself. Accept. Let that pain be there for a moment and just hold it gently. You will find that the pain does not mean what you always thought.”

I shook my head in confusion. I knew there was a hidden meaning in what he was saying. Instantly an image of a recent fight between my wife and I came up in my mind. There had been so much blood spilled during these terrifying sparring matches. More than anything it had been these outbursts of verbal violence that had led me to flee Manhattan to get to the French countryside for a ‘retreat’. I repeated his words to myself, the pain does not mean what you always thought

And then I got it.

The pain in my foot because of the stone was not really bothering me. Not at all. It was just some physical sensation, something going on in some far corner of my consciousness. When I allowed myself to feel the frustration of that sharp pain, it reminded me of the deep frustration and depression I generally felt all over my life. I could not remove that sharp pain in my foot just like I could not remove that extraordinary frustration in my life in general. And my marriage had been a part of that. Not the cause, just a part of my general inability to feel that there was any normal place in existence for me. I did not fit into my relationship just like I did not fit into life.

As if reading my thoughts, Pierre said, “The pain is always something else. What is it? You are missing Love, that is all. Now you think that Love does not want you, but it’s not true. Look at this sunset. It is here for you just as for everyone.”

And there I had been looking at my foot when all around me there was this amazing beauty. More than just beauty, something visceral and palpable. A Presence. And somehow now I was allowing myself to see it, feel it. Yet it was there literally all the time, which meant even in my life back home.



sunrise Mayor's Journal, 29th June, 2011:

Poem: The Sword Too Heavy, or The Haggard Clown


I spoke to one I thought I loved so dear,
Informed him of his faults, his sins, his errors.
It made me sad, it really did, but still
I could not seem to stop myself.

Though part of me knew all too well the wrong
I laid on him, my brother seemed to me
The cause of all my woe, my tears and hate,
The thing it seemed I had to change.

The dagger plunged, my shield was raised, and I
Looked dumbly on as blood was spilled and poured.
The more I struck, the more I wept, the more
I wished that this had not begun.

I fought my foe, the one I loved, while he
Looked back at me. Dark red his clothes, the wounds
Were deep, I would not find his eyes until
My sword was stilled, my breath full spent.

I filled my lungs once more and steeled myself.
No room for love, it was either him or me,
One or none, would survive this war and still
He looked at me, until he spoke:

“I am the thing that you believe I am – it’s true.”
My dagger stayed, I could not bear his words.
“I am what you say, my brother, I beg of you
To please forgive my sins and ways.”

“You speak the truth, I do not do as I
Should always do, I do not act as I
Would like to be, the mistakes I make weigh down
And sadden me, for I mean no harm.”

“My face is pitted with the blows that I have laid
On others, my skin is rough from armor, my hands
Calloused, tired and sore. My sword is here,
By your feet, too heavy to hold.”

I bent down and there it was, the lethal
Blade now still, no harm was there, nor ever
Was. What had I seen? What had I hated?
A light glint off the rusting tool.

The gleam came from some place above and as
I raised myself, my brother’s hand reached out
And though at first I drew away in fear
There was no harm as he had said.

I felt his touch, it was not cold, but warm
And kind. An age had passed before I raised
My eyes, and there He was. “Do you now know
With whom you fought these many years?”

My sight was blurred for tears had come, they fell
And spent my pain and hurt; my sword washed clean,
‘Twas now a Cross, a brilliant silver star
That shone upon the two of us.

I could not speak, for in that place I saw
My Self, but not the haggard soldier clown.
The patchwork clothes laid by, the light it came
From deep within the Christ we shared.

“It was not me with whom you waged your war;
It was not I who caused you pain and sorrow.”
And this was true, I hated not my brother.
“Would you condemn yourself again?

The words came slowly from my mouth, I said:
“Yet though I tried to take your life you come
To me and bring the greatest of God’s Gifts.
My life is yours, my heart I offer.”

At this the Light began to shiver, a mirth
It seemed began to shake the air. “You do
Not see? You do not see?
” And only then
Did understanding come to me.

“We are but One, not two, not ‘you’ and ‘I’!
No hate or thought of merciless intent
May break what God has forged and sealed as One.
Come laugh with me, come take my hand.”

And we this day became as One and walked
On Heaven’s Path, through Heaven’s Lawns, and though
Our brothers spoke to us of two, we heard
But One, one Voice that sought Itself.

Take heart, my friends, for we are not alone.
Though haggard clowns we find ourselves to be,
There is no sin, God wills that we be Home,
’Tis our Brother’s Love that sets us free.

(Any comments here)



sunrise Mayor's Journal, 24th June, 2011:

Oh, that bad old ego!


I was talking with a Course friend the other day (okay, the inner kind), and the subject of wanting to ‘get rid of the ego’ came up again. Perhaps you know that feeling? I feel it when I sense fear in me, or some frustration, or some guilt about having neglected something, and then I think if only I could get rid of that troublesome part of me that manufactures all that, I could live much more peacefully here. How about you? Haven’t you thought that life would be more peaceful here if you could just get rid of fear and guilt?

First let me give a brief overview of some of the particularly interesting things that came up in this conversation. One of these was the lack of gray ground between the ego and the Holy Spirit, between our small self and our completely abstract Self outside of the body, time and space. There is no plane of existence that has aspects of both – no kind of place suspended between hell and heaven. Doesn’t exist. It’s always one or the other. The other thing was that wanting to lead a more peaceful life without my ego was also part of the problem. I would not be able to lead a more peaceful life as ‘me’, as the individual I had always been in the past. Calling into question fear, frustration and guilt is ultimately going to call into question the self that feels these things. That self is part of the unhappiness equation. The ‘self’ cannot feeling like a self, and not feel these negative sensations. The real answer lies entirely elsewhere. Darn it.

But on to this special conversation…

The first thought that came up was the most relieving of all: We don’t have to get rid of our ego! That was excellent news! In fact, we plain and simply can’t get rid of it, and that’s really not the goal, either. It can only be incredibly frustrating trying to make a goal out of something that is truly impossible. The only reason anyone would have for trying to get rid of the ego is that he has first judged it as something quite real to be reckoned with, and then as something terribly bad. And only the ego is capable of judging and thinking like that. In fact, to put it more plainly and simply, trying to get rid of the ego is the best sign that we are still squarely within the ego. So what are we supposed to do?

Forgiveness … merely looks, and waits, and judges not. (WII.1.4:3).

The Course teaches us that what we do with our ego is just observe it. We just look at it, but this is a special kind of looking. We observe it and learn to be less and less surprised at its desolation, and learn to judge it less and less. “…above all, be not afraid of it. ” Eventually we arrive at the point where we can observe it fully in all its evil intentions and ways, and not lose that calm center of grace and understanding. Not be upset by it, not run back to fear and guilt, and certainly not judge it. Then our new vision, guided now by the Holy Spirit, will show us something truly remarkable: the ego is not bad – it is nothing.

The ego is nothing – completely insignificant. This is precisely the information that it cannot bear to hear. This is precisely why we rarely do what the Holy Spirit within us would have us do. In fact, we will do everything possible to avoid this one clear point of understanding. We will even use the Course to try to get rid of our ego, or at least to clean it up to the point that it is not so bad, or not as bad as other’s egos! This is just our pure silliness. The ego’s intentions are purely selfish and totally carnivorous, but it, itself, is nothing. It is only our belief in this self and its needs that makes it real at all.

The ego is the ego is the ego. We will never be rid of it, period. We will all carry the viciousness and wickedness of the ego with us to the very end. But when we practice that special quiet, detached looking, from outside that miserable self, then things start to change. Over time we will be less and less surprised by it, less and less convinced by it, and we will judge it no more at all. We will just observe it, with a kind, humorous, friendly and understanding observation. But it will still be there. Only at the very end will we have observed it and forgiven ourselves to the point that it will be just the faintest blot on the horizon, a miniscule dot on our perfectly clear mind.

So, let's do ourselves an immense favor - let's stop trying to get rid of our ego! This does not mean that we indulge the ego, of course. Just that we do not take an active position against it in our minds when we see its behavior and thoughts coming forward again. We do not oppose it, or resist it. We accept that it is there because we understand that our minds are still split and scared of Love.

By practicing this way, we step out of the wrong mind, instead of trying to get rid of it, drawn forward by the promise of kindness and innocence offered to us by the Love in our right minds. We do not destroy or negate the wrong mind. We just leave it. We look back on it, and observe its activity from a slight distance. Of course, this unfortunately means leaving the importance of everything that lives within and through the wrong mind.

Again, this is why we find this so difficult. Everything that lives within the wrong mind is everything I think I am. It would be like leaving home, the home of all my issues, difficulties and problems. The home of my past, my relationships, my history, and my particular traits and talents. None of all this is really as pleasant as I convince myself it is, of course, but for now it feels really familiar. At least it feels like ‘something’. And it doesn’t really care if I think it’s the “home of evil, darkness and sin”. It still feels like home.

In fact, the ego loves to think that it’s bad and wicked. As Ken said in a workshop I listened to recently, the ego loves to join us in a crusade against the ‘bad old ego’. A bad ego is a good ego. Because at least it’s a bad SOMETHING. And its being bad makes that something even more important. It must be important if we judge it as evil. We only do that with important things, after all.

But maybe we think some aspects of ourselves are not really so bad. In fact, maybe we have some really pretty good sides to us. We might even think that if only we could bring forth those good aspects and leave all those nasty little bad aspects out of the picture, we’ll have made some good progress. We might even be halfway Home. But, alas, the self we are looking for is not even this nice one cleaned of its rottenness. Not even a nice ‘me’ is really going to make a big difference. We’re not really looking for a ‘me’ at all, nice or nasty.

We must now learn to ask to be more willing to simply leave all this effort to the side in order to gain that sweet inner place of comfort and peace where the truth of our real Self is held, just slightly removed from that tiny messed up self. Just the smallest distance away, and yet a world apart.

Wouldn’t that be so much easier than trying to get rid of the bad old ego, battling it, striving to eradicate it? Ahh… We can just breathe a little easier now. It’s really no big shakes to still have some ego. No big shakes. We just need to be willing to see that we’re not the ego, nor even the body-mind we have always thought ourselves to be. We’re something else entirely, utterly different.

So maybe we can stop trying to be good Course students. A good Course student is one who knows that he still contains the ego thought system 100 percent; a good Course student knows he is not an exception to this rule. He does not even want to be an exception – because this would be the wish to exclude his brother, and he knows he no longer wants to do that.

Let’s all be the same now, the same as every brother. Let’s all contain the ego 100 percent, and let’s all contain the holiness and exquisite sanctity of the Holy Spirit, 100 percent. That’s what a split mind is all about. That’s where we are still. And that’s really okay. In fact, that’s absolutely perfect.

(Any comments here)

(Photo credit: aksinya meditative photography)



sunrise Mayor's Journal, 19th June, 2011:

My days were numbered, so I thought...


My days were numbered, so I thought, from first to last,
Repeating in cycles, too slow, too fast.
And in between a tired vigil,
Weary steps trod round and round,
The nightman’s watch, too dazed, too blind,
To even know that Time had passed.
My eyes cast down, how could I see?
Till there on stony steps a shadow fell – differently.
It seemed so sharp and clear, not dull and blank as were all things to me.
My gaze fixed taut on this clear sight,
A person’s shape I had never seen.
What kind of man cuts so clear a swath,
And rends dark from light so easily?
But though I tried I could not raise my eyes so long attuned
To night’s sick sad appeal.
Then as if at my unknown behest
For no words came that I recall
The shadow’s hand reached out,
And next a warmth blazed through my chest,
The finger of the hand, I saw, just one soft touch, point so gently.
I knew not next what hit my mind
Though heavy tears spread at my feet,
And a stone so long in-grown now lay there
And in its place a golden orb with one word writ,
Released.”

The nonsense chains that bound my mind fell lightly down,
Bright colors swept grey’s tragedy away.
The nightwatch done,
I raise my eyes and find the stranger who visits me,
This blessed Brother I knew - had never known.
For while I dreamt of strange sorrows he was there,
He was there!
Now so clear, the Light that shone behind him,
Bright because it was so near – so near!
Had I seen? No, not at all.
Yet just as sharp, now my own shade,
For there behind me a bright sun gleamed,
No more shouldered by a weak, ill pall.

Now we two joined as one host,
Heralds of a life renewed,
Heralds of a world reborn,
In purest robes seek our friends still lost,
And I reach out, as once someone had for me.
I touch him lightly, so as not to scare him,
His aching eyes meet mine – I smile.
Come here, my friend, forgive, and be released,
Forgive, I ask, and be at peace.
Come Home...
Come Home and live with Me
.


(Any comments here)

(Photo credit: aksinya meditative photography)



sunrise Mayor's Journal, 3rd June, 2011:

The Far Shore


[In preparation for some teaching I would like to begin this September, I began this morning to write some notes to myself and these following thoughts began to flow. I share them with you here.]

There can be an exciting time when we first begin our study of this course during which we feel we are finally making some real progress toward a real goal. This can be because we feel we are making a connection with a true spiritual presence that will lead us out of our darkness. Or it can be because we are learning that we do not have to be imprisoned by the past, by our regrets and grievances. It can be because we are learning to hear a voice that tells us authoritatively to give less belief and less importance to our judgments and hatefulness. It can be because we are hearing a loving voice that reassures us that our truth is not hateful but beautiful, that gives us hope that the end of life is not death but Heaven. It can be because we hear a voice that tells us we are deserving of goodness and beauty, and undeserving of judgment and punishment. It reminds us that innocence is true and an inherent part of us. All of this is wonderfully magical and already gives us much hope and much to look forward to.

On the other hand, it is just a beginning; the real work lies still before us, and there are many bridges to cross before we arrive at the far shore.

For there is, indeed, a far shore. Heaven is not here, it is not in the world we see before us, but in another, altogether different perception of life. We must eventually learn that the person that Jesus is talking to is not the one we think, but another, non-physical self outside the traditional home of ourselves we call our body. This is when the work gets difficult, since there are few among us who really want to leave this concept of ourselves, to learn that there is another, heretofore unseen and unsuspected life to which we belong that is our real Life.

The image we see before us in the mirror Jesus helps us to learn is an illusion, unreality. It is holding on to this image as our self that is the cause of all our pain and guilt. It is the reason that God and Love seem distant and separate; it is the reason we feel there is a war being waged in some part of our minds. While we grip tightly onto this image as our self, we battle with God for our self-definition. We cannot truly know our Selves; and while we are confused about our identity, we will feel endangered and fearful.

The answer is simple, it is beautiful, it is wonderfully kind and loving. The answer is forgiveness, to forgive what we believe we have accomplished but have not. The only problem is that we do not want it. We do not want it because we believe we know what our happiness is, and that it lies within validating these bodies as our true existence. And so we will persist in seeking to make this illusion our home, but would attenuate the fear and guilt it encompasses. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on our point of view, this effort cannot possibly win. We cannot separate ourselves from our Home; we cannot make unreality reality.

Ultimately, we can only learn to accept our Reality as it is. That is our only true power. And while this seems like a tragedy to a part of us, it is the soft touch of Heaven’s blessing to another, wiser part of us. A child might scream when you wake him from a nightmare and open the curtain to allow in the morning sun. We can be reassured that our dream of separation does not have to end in a scream of fear, but in the gentle falling away of an old piece of haggard and odious clothing. Our fear, guilt, sadness, hatred and anger will quietly drop away, little piece by little piece when we learn one tiny, simple, elegant lesson: this is not being done to me.

My feelings come only from my fear that separation is real. But it is not. One simple lesson, I need but forgive and this fear and upset shall disappear. I need condemn myself no longer for what was never done. For it is only my condemnation of myself that I see in all the shapes and images of this world, in all the comings and goings in my daily life. My own fears reflected back to me via the scenes of my life – that is the sum total of all that upsets and frightens me.

I need judge no longer but accept that Heaven is real and intact, and my only Home. My Brother waits for me just the other side of my insistence on my problem. I need only be wrong about this difficulty, and it shall disappear. How joyful then and how easy it is to walk this path. I need but be wrong! What could be simpler? And then in quietness and confidence I wait and accept the blessing of innocence and holiness that my Brother has kept for me these many long years. And I am set free, no longer a body but Mind outside this world, a holy memory of a wholly loving Father, His perfect Child just as He created Me.

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