Village Bulletin Board, 19th July, 2010
I was just over at the Monastery checking out yesterday's FACIM Q&A and I thought it was very interesting in light of the recent conversation about listening to Kenneth. I've copied the relevant parts below. What struck me was how clearly, but how gently, Ken tells us that the only reason that Jesus would have us look honestly within ourselves (and discover the 'muck') is to motivate us along the path. It helps to understand what we're giving up (Love, Heaven) if we know truly what we are accepting in its place (the real, undisguised nature of the ego world/identity). And don't you think that the last part is beautifully said, the part about continuing to live exactly as we are, if we are happy that way? So gentle, so accepting - no constraints, no obligation, no judgments... Just "it's really okay wherever I am."

Q #456: This is a three part question:

i. My understanding of the teachings of A Course in Miracles is that eventually we realize we are all one spirit. Do we then lose our awareness or memory of the experiences we had as individuals? Jesus figured out the truth while here on earth, yet seems to interact with those of us still experiencing the dream of individuality as the individual Jesus. So will the rest of us, after we realize the truth, still retain our individual selves? I realize I am asking this question as someone who likes my “self” and the other selves I interact with, i.e., family and friends.

A: Your awareness of yourself as an individual will last only as long as you value that identity. It is never taken away by Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The focus of our study and practice is learning that our interests are really the same, not separate; and that would lead us to the next step, which is recognizing that not only do we share the same interests, but we share the same self as well. We all share the same ego thought system, and we all share the same right-minded thought system of forgiveness, as well as the power to choose between the two. As long as we are attracted to an identity as an individual self, though, we will resist this teaching rather strenuously. There would have to be some motivation to move beyond individuality, and what Jesus teaches us is that if we looked deeply and honestly at our lives as individual selves, we would conclude that we are paying a heavy price to sustain that existence. That does not mean it is bad or wrong to enjoy existing in this world. He asks only that we look openly at the picture, and not be deceived by the glitter of the frame (T.17.IV.8,9). “The body is a limit on love” (T.18.VIII.1:2). So valuing bodily existence is valuing limited love. That is the connection Jesus wants us to make, just so that we could be aware that we are deliberately (once we remember we are decision-making minds) cutting ourselves off from the totality of the love that comes with the memory of our oneness as God’s Son. Again, liking your self and your family and friends is not wrong or bad; just be aware that this is not all you are or they are. If living in this world is working for you and you are happy and content with it, then it would be foolish to change it. Recall that the Course came to two people who were no longer content with the way things were going and were determined to find a “better way.”

Jesus stands outside the dream of individuality gently helping us to awaken from it. He appears to be an individual relating to us as individuals, but if you consider the above quote about the body being a limit on love, you can begin to understand that he appears that way because we choose to see him that way. Love is abstract — formless — but our perception conforms to our identity. Were we to let go of the need to limit love, we would experience Jesus quite differently — and ourselves as well.

The trouble is, we don’t consciously realize that this is what we are doing, which is why so much of the Course is directed at helping us realize that we have a mind and that practically everything we do is a defense against our realizing that. We don’t want to remember we are decision-making minds, because on some level we know where that realization would take us. We would eventually see clearly what individuality is all about, and it would not be a very pretty picture. To avoid those consequences, we try to make Jesus like us, but that will never square with what he spends so much time teaching us in the Course. It is much more helpful, and would reduce the internal conflict, to state simply and honestly, that you like being a self amidst other individual selves, and that some day you may have a reason to reconsider that choice, but right now you don’t. Period! That’s where you are, and it’s okay. Jesus’ love for you is not lessened in the least.

(Any comments here.)

Village Bulletin Board, 20th July, 2010
I've included here a short poem by Symeon, a lesser known Christian Mystic poet (949-1022 A.D.), similar to Rumi, I found recently on the internet.

sunrise What is this awesome mystery
that is taking place within me?
I can find no words to express it;
my poor hand is unable to capture it
in describing the praise and glory that belong
to the One who is above all praise,
and who transcends every word...
My intellect sees what has happened,
but it cannot explain it.
It can see, and wishes to explain,
but can find no word that will suffice;
for what it sees is invisible and entirely formless,
simple, completely uncompounded,
unbounded in its awesome greatness.
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as one,
received not in essence but by participation.
Just as if you lit a flame from a flame,
it is the whole flame you receive.

Found at, a wonderful website on non-duality, filled with interesting stuff. Very meditative just visiting this place.

Mayor's Journal, 22nd July, 2010
I’ve been taking off time this summer to remember what it’s like to live with no outside pressure. I’m so good at creating artificial, workaholic-style pressure for myself that I have to ‘discipline’ myself to take it easy sometimes. So my ‘leisure diet’ (rather difficult for me, actually) has been about sitting around at cafés, walking the doggy, eating slowly, doing summery things like swimming in the river, etc. I went swimming this morning (this time at a municipal pool) and was thinking as I swam and a funny thought occurred to me.

I had become aware recently that I was never really interacting with other people, the ones I saw parading in front of me at café terraces for example, but with one of two presences within me. Never with any outside, physical presence, but with an inner, abstract one. It was a strange sensation, and I can’t say it was entirely pleasant. It was pretty clear that any time I claimed (to myself) that a particular person made me feel a certain way (or made a certain judgment arise in me), that in fact I was projecting a certain quality on to someone that he/she did not contain. There was a neutral object in front of me (a person), and then something inside made a story up about that object.

sunrise When I was swimming this morning this process became clearer. There were only two of us in the pool since for the first time this summer the weather has turned cold. I’ve been trying to improve my swimming style lately and thought I was doing a bit better. It was a quiet, peaceful experience, and I felt I was there moving in the water purely to spend time with the two different presences within me, choosing the tranquil company of Jesus. Then there was a movement in the lane beside me and my eye catches the form of the other swimmer as he ploughs past me as if I’m still in the water. I up my speed a little and for a moment I think I might be matching him, until he makes it clear that he is a much better swimmer and just leaves me behind. Right. Where did that peacefulness just disappear to?

What was pretty amazing is that this guy really wasn’t aware I was there. He didn’t know about my internal competition, the fact that I had begun judging who was the better swimmer. A minute previously there had been no ‘other’ with whom I was in competition and all was well in my world. Then suddenly I make up this story about this speeding form in the lane next to me, and without any rhyme or reason I am now unworthy because I am the lesser ‘athlete’. And I saw clearly that I had made it all up. There was no one really there next to me. There was an object I was attributing qualities to according to the ego’s voice of separate interests, and it was all a transparent, ineffectual drama. For an instant it became a funny, comical show, and I regained my sense of everything being well in the world because nothing could take away that inner presence of comfort and belongingness.

But then an even more disturbing thought occurred to me. If that guy didn’t really exist in any of the ways that my ego claimed (trying to replace me as ‘head swimmer’ in the pool of two), if I was never really relating personally to him as such, if I was never really ‘sensing’ his presence but only ever the presence of my two inner teachers, then that conceivably meant he was doing exactly the same. He was never really relating to ‘me’ as such, but to his own two inner teachers. Whatever he felt about our competition for pool primacy (hehe) was uniquely a function of his choice of teachers, not as a result of anything he might feel about my swimming skills (or lack thereof). He didn’t really exist as such for me; but likewise, and most distressingly, I didn’t really exist as such for him! Now I found a real dilemma in my mind.

On one hand I found this an entirely peaceful concept. I was only ever responding to my inner world and neither this guy nor anything else could take away the peacefulness I had chosen to draw myself closer to. He could not affect me by the way he swam or by any other of the different things he might decide to do. And this was the same for the other chap, too. He was not being affected by the major competition presented to him by this guppy upstart, and no matter what I might try to do, I could not alter the fact that his state of mind was perfectly protected within his choice of teachers. We could not affect each other, and hence we were free to show each other true appreciation, as real brothers. That was a nice thought. But that wasn’t the one I chose.

Instead I chose the one that said, “This is entirely unacceptable! It is completely insufficient that I can have no affect on this bloke, nor on anyone else. That ain’t on! He must realize the imminent threat I pose to him in the battle for nautical supremacy in our village. Otherwise… otherwise… I don’t exist!!”

If I can truly affect no one, if everyone is purely relating to their inner world, despite what they might think they are relating to, then we’re all going around playing this truly creepy, perverse shadow game of who-affects-whom. A look, a glance, a hello, a handshake, eyes meeting furtively then turning away, all these subtle ways another person tries to have an affect on me – and vice-versa. Tries to get me to feel a certain way about him or her. Tries to confirm personal existence, seeking recognition from an outside external object, as if seeking confirmation of existence from within were not an option. Not meaningful. Not meaningful in the same way as getting another person to glance in that approving, validating way.

sunrise Minds are joined. They are joined as one in peace in the right mind. And they communicate to each other in the separated state without speaking, and even without looking. As I sit at the sidewalk café I notice something in common about all the people passing by. They all think someone else is out there! And they do this by having multiple micro-reactions to everyone else that passes them by. To them, there are other real people out there, people they are reacting to. But even more important, they are reassured because they feel that they are a ‘someone’ to whom others are reacting, and this is confirmed by a micro-reaction. The mind picks up on this instantaneously. You know when someone has acknowledged your reality as a human individual. There is a particular look they have which passes unseen through the ethers without them even changing expression. You know that they know that you exist. They have acknowledged your existence. They have seen a fellow human individual.

Let’s be careful that we realize what this actually means. Let’s not be scared to look at this closely (you groan, knowing what’s coming). When someone identifies you as a human being (gives you that unconscious recognizing look), what this recognition communicates is your value to her within her ego delirium. While she believes she is an individual, while she listens to the teacher of individuality, she will feel two needs, and the attention will zap extremely rapidly from one to the other, so fast that the two actually get confused. On one hand she will feel a need to be validated and approved of by the person passing her (special love need), or at the very least recognized as a human individual. You don’t need to smile at her necessarily for her to sense that you recognize her as an individual. You just need to look at her and she will know, as long as you look at her while believing that you, too, are a separated individual, and that this is your reality.

On the other hand, as you pass her by, she will need to find someone responsible for the reason she feels so crummy, tense and insecure all the time (special hate need). No smile of approval passes between you, but the ego is delighted anyway. You exist! You had an affect on someone else, and that is all that is important. A smile, a wink, a scowl, a haughty look, it’s all the same. Special love, or special hate, rape or murder (sorry – had to say it! :-)) – it’s all the same because both make the essential point of validating separate existence and the reality of lack and guilt. You exist! The world of humans exists – it is not just a dream!

Of course you can look at another person in a completely different way. Confirming the ‘reality’ of the dream-world does not have to be your goal. You can look at her knowing that your reality is not that particular individual she is looking at, and that she is not that human form she presents to you, either. In that case something else can be communicated between you. There is space now for something beautiful and warm, something that equalizes you and brings you together in a wonderful remembrance: there is only one of us, and we are loved and whole and perfectly invulnerable within that memory.

I got out of the pool at the same time as my nemesis. Trembling with the anticipation of imminent warfare, I pass by to collect my towel and sandals. He glances up and says a kind and unconfrontational ‘Bonjour’. Instantly I put away my total insanity and smile back and return his hello. Not an invested smile, just a relieved, happy smile between brothers. There was no real war there at all.

Have a great day, Village Friends.

Mayoral Shorts:
sunrise Just finishing up The Magic Flute of Forgiveness (Ken CD) and amongst other remarkable things he said, I picked up on an idea that I don't believe I've heard him express quite so clearly. I paraphrase poorly, but here it is:

In our goal to make the unconscious conscious, we unearth the existence of the wrong mind, but also that of the right mind. Whereas we were oblivious to the hate and murder in us previously, we were also unaware of the deep Love of God and the clear voice of the Holy Spirit that are in us, too. We become aware of both of these, and then have the chance to choose which one we prefer to spend time with...

I found this interesting in light of our recent conversations about Ken. Here he is stating unequivocally that we also contain a brilliant right mind that we will learn to choose more and more often. Perhaps he spends a little more time talking about the wrong mind, but he also wishes to reinforce in us that we have a perfect and loving right mind as well. Nice.