With deep love and gratitude to our beloved teacher, Kenneth Wapnick, PhD, who has taught me all I know about practicing true forgiveness and kindness to all. May his light continue to guide us home.
Even though I might have been voted “Least Likely to Find God” in my high school class were I the sort of person upon whom people heaped such labels, I eventually became the sort of person to follow exactly that impossible dream. As in the old Martin Mull tune, Jesus Is Easy, I tried them all—from psychic healing to Jungian psychology to Zen Buddhism and other Eastern traditions involving acrobatic feats at odds with my constitution this time around. All offered temporary solace, but only applying A Course in Miracle’s forgiveness has brought me the comfort I am seeking, and begun to transform my experience for the better. This is not the only path to awakening. But I am happy at last to report with complete confidence: it is my path.
I am a writer, a closet poet, a student, a teacher, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, an aunt, and a friend, an avid reader, walker, hiker, camper, skier, film junkie, foodie, and budget traveler. But most importantly I am a student of a unique form of forgiveness that has taught me to question all I thought I knew about myself, and the world in which things seem to happen to me.
A Course in Miracles has given me a powerful, practical tool to help heal my mind about the belief in separation at the root of human suffering. I am learning from moment to moment to question the habit of blaming others for my problems, and open my mind to the truth of what I am beyond my individual identity.
There is nothing precious or elevated about this process. It involves learning to catch myself in the ego’s mosh pit, and deciding that’s probably not where I want to spend my time if my goal is to awaken from this dream. Sometimes I can laugh at what I observe in myself. Sometimes I find my behavior deeply embarrassing. No matter–the Course makes no such distinctions. It has helped me see that the lack of love I perceive in my life stems from fear of reuniting with the original love I thought I wanted to exchange for uniqueness. Its teaching has helped me recognize the costs of my mistake, a big incentive for changing my mind. I hope to strengthen my commitment to my path, and deepen my learning, by sharing my journey with you.
Susan Dugan’s latest collection of essays, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, now available from Amazon.com and bookstores, continues to recount her journey juggling work, family, and forgiveness A Course in Miracles-style first chronicled in her previous book, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, a finalist for the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards. Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want conveys her growing faith that no matter how wrenching, wild, or wacky the dream of our lives may appear, we always have a choice about which inner teacher we are looking and listening with: the ego, the part of our mind that believed the “tiny, mad idea” of separation from our source had real effects, or the “right mind” that remembered to gently smile at the bizarre thought of it. Through day-to-day practice, we learn that choosing the inner teacher of fear hurts, while choosing the inner teacher of kind forgiveness yields peace that defies understanding and includes everyone and everything in its warm embrace.
A devoted student of premier Course scholar and teacher, Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D., Dugan studies, teaches, writes, and forgives in Denver, Colorado. She is a co-founder of the School of Reason for A Course in Miracles teachers and students, and appears in the documentary A Course in Miracles: The Movie. Her short stories, essays, and poems have appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines, and a collection of her linked short stories, Safe Haven, was a finalist for the 2012 Colorado Book Award.