Come fly with me redux

NASA no need to creditThe last passengers aboard our flight from Denver bound to San Diego had barely taken their seats when the captain announced, with an ill-concealed sigh, that we were expecting a bumpy ride this morning out of Denver, over the Rockies, and “really everywhere in the entire Southwest today. We will try to find a smooth cruising altitude but looks like it’s just really going to be hit or miss.”

“Story of my freaking life,” I thought, attempting to focus on yet another recipe for potato gratin in one of the cooking magazines I’d purchased to distract myself from my fear of flying. I had pursued perfecting this prized family dish for seeming lifetimes. And yet–for reasons that continued to elude me, given my otherwise rather competent culinary skills—every new attempt ended up being, well, a recipe for disaster.  Story of my freaking life, indeed!

The turbulence the captain promised commenced immediately as we took off and began to ascend, the jet pitching and lurching and nonetheless mightily (for reasons that continue to defy the understanding of English majors) rising.

I closed the magazine with a little slap and cinched the seatbelt tighter, recalling a recent unsettling sleeping dream that continued to rankle. In which I sat awaiting takeoff, seated in the front of an enormous aircraft headed somewhere foreign and dangerous. I checked my seatbelt only to discover it broken. Although buckled, the belt slid right through the device. I tried to signal the flight attendants who could see me, but they were already strapped in for takeoff. My husband couldn’t fix the belt either. He told me it would be fine, to just hold onto it myself, in a tone of voice I have visited before (and am sorry to report also used, at times, with him), somewhere at the precarious intersection of impatience and disdain. The turbulence the captain in the sleeping dream also warned us about before we even took off began immediately as we ascended. And I sat convinced as I pulled the belt taut that I did not have the strength to hold it together by myself, and there was no one in the entire universe available to help me.

The turbulence on our flight to San Diego likewise continued as we rose over the snowy peaks of the Rockies with which I had conducted a love-hate relationship for 25 years, awed by their purple majesty and infinitely unfolding wonders as I hiked or skied among them; while traumatized by their stormy, rapidly shifting moods. The irony of my current situation in which the very present-seeming problem of a frightening flight seemed all too real, screaming for my full attention, did not escape me. I was on my way to attend the March academy class entitled “The World: ‘A Maladaptive Solution to a Nonexistent Problem’” at the Foundation for A Course in Miracles in Temecula, California. Our beloved external A Course in Miracles teacher Ken Wapnick had coined the phrase. It brilliantly describes the way in which we have deliberately forgotten the only real seeming problem: our unconscious belief that we actually separated from our one Source and Self and now deserve punishment. And the manner in which we mindlessly tried to solve the imaginary problem, assuage the resulting guilt and lack we feel within, by projecting it into a world filled with problems that can ultimately never be solved. Because the only mistaken problem that never really left the mind that imagined it has already been solved.

Everyone seemingly here in this world secretly longs deeply for real union with God, the only union there is; but trembles at the prospect of returning to the fantasized scene of the crime in the mind to face the punishment we believe we have coming. So we keep gluttonously trying to fill our craving with something or someone outside ourselves, to prove our relative innocence versus someone or something’s greater guilt. But it’s a maladaptive solution because it doesn’t work! Here in the dream, in the condition we think we’re in, only turning back to Jesus/Holy Spirit, that symbol of our continuing, invulnerable, undifferentiated wholeness and guiltlessness in the mind (always available to join with even here in this hell of a world), will solve the seeming problem. No matter what rough ride we’ve currently dreamed up.

I had selected the wing seat, reputedly (also for reasons that continue to defy the understanding of English majors) where you feel the violent forces outside the cabin windows least while cruising planet crazy.  And after a trying ascent over the mountains we did experience smooth air. For about 20 minutes before the bumps hit again with a vengeance and continued as the flight attendants served beverages. Both older than me, yet miraculously balancing trays of drinks like tightrope walkers at Barnum and Bailey. While I silently chatted with Jesus about how I knew I wasn’t supposed to ask him to take my fear away, as he had explained to Helen (Schucman, ACIM Scribe), but to help me with the cause of my fear. My decision to reinforce my belief in separation, to push the real solution, the one Love he represents, away. I knew I wasn’t really upset by the atmosphere’s perceptual temper tantrum.

“The atmosphere’s?” I could almost hear him ask, brows in their upright and locked position, from wherever the hell he currently seemed to be hiding.

I knew I could experience peace instead of this, right here, right now, but let’s just not kid ourselves. He knew, and I knew he knew, I was just so not there yet. And so, might actually need to experience his help in form should things—how to put this?—take a sudden nose-dive for the worse. Which, let’s face it; “things” had a nasty habit of doing here in dreamland! Not that he actually provided assistance in form; there being no actual form. But that my mind might translate his ever-loving present memory into a form I could understand, as Ken often explained. In the condition I think I’m in. Which, allow me to reiterate; I do! And would therefore more than welcome seeming assistance in form such as a return to calm air and smooth sailing for–excuse my French–Christ’s freaking sake!

Once I had gotten that off my chest I felt a lot better, and settled back into my magazine, doing my best to swallow a portion of a largely inedible sandwich I’d purchased at the airport whose fancy packaging—go figure—had not come anywhere close to delivering on its promise.  That’s when the really rough ride started, followed shortly afterwards by the captain announcing we were going to descend to try to see if we could find a more “friendly” (I am not making this up, well, anymore than usual) cruising altitude and ordering the AARP-card-carrying, acrobatic flight attendants back to their seats. While the gentleman seated next to me (who had warned me he might do so before we ever took off) continued to snore, unperturbed. Which was exactly what my husband would be doing in a situation like this, but thankfully there was no time to go there given the more pressing issue of making it to the ground seemingly intact.

I again resumed my one-sided conversation with Jesus (I mean, as if there were really any other kind), just in case he was anywhere in the house, so to speak, which seemed hardly damn likely, making my case for why “pretend intervention” on his behalf seemed more than justified in this instance. Given the long-term, dutiful nature of my study, practice, and commitment to this freaking Course! But, although he had seemed to comply with my requests in the past during similar terrifying flying situations, he continued to evade me now. Forcing me to remind my seeming self that maybe, just maybe, I was mistaken about what was really happening here. Maybe, just maybe, these riotous winds had no power whatsoever to rock my world. There being, you know, no world to rock. No me to absorb the vibrations.

Maybe, just maybe, I could see peace instead of this, despite the full-alert mode my bodily symptoms—racing heart, shallow breathing, raised shoulders, sweaty palms—appeared to be signaling. I wasn’t choosing peace right now—obvi, as the kids like to say in their texts—but maybe I could at least entertain the possibility that all was not as it seemed. Because maybe I could give this challenging dream sequence the purpose of healing my mind about where my true safety lay, consider the prospect that it might actually offer an opportunity to take another baby step beyond my suffering Susanhood. Toward the ultimate, all-embracing comfort of our united, loving abstraction, in which all dreams of vulnerability vanish, despite Susan’s grave doubts about the fate of this flying death canister.

We did finally find slightly smoother air, for about 10 minutes before the seatbelt sign blinked back on and the captain announced we were making our descent into San Diego where he had earlier promised the winds would be quite calm. Although, as it turned out, that’s when the real rollercoaster began, the flight crew announcing that they could not come through the cabin to collect trash and check our seatbacks and trays (having been ordered by the captain to buckle in and prepare for who knows what kind of landing?). And were putting us “on our honor” to do this all by ourselves, as the captain did his best to keep the plane in some facsimile of a horizontal position and we descended through jagged hillsides, rocking and rolling.

And I did my best to consider the possibility–seemingly planted in a galaxy long ago and far away–that maybe, just maybe, Jesus, that presence of perpetual love and safety for all I seemed to have been seeking for such a long, lonely time, really was still within the mind he had never left. My mind! Every mind! Which must mean I had never left it either and was still OK, even right here and now, just as I was, current dream developments, notwithstanding. My work-in-progress of a seeming life now at least given the purpose of awakening from this dream and returning to heavenly Mind rather than flying ever deeper into the clueless quagmire of its opposite to prove “my” powerful helplessness.

Maybe, just maybe, my seeming little s self with all her flaws and the selves of her seeming costars with their many seeming more, the risky skies and flight paths I seemed to so perilously navigate within my puny little classroom, were actually quite stable after all. Maybe, just maybe, I would still make it Home to a Love that would never fail us in which I was never alone, along with every other seeming frightened flyer. Despite my doubts and foibles, the constant emotional turbulence that no adjustment in cruising altitude ever corrects for long, with Jesus securely seated beside me in ever stealthier mode. Because maybe, just maybe, all I really need to change, when allowing smooth or choppy air to bring or destroy my peace, is my mind.

“A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is. Even if it is really solved already you will still have the problem, because you will not recognize that it has been solved. This is the situation of the world. The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved. Yet the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized.” (A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 79, paragraph 1)

Happy Easter!

The March Academy class at the Foundation for A Course in Miracles in Temecula, California, taught by Rosemarie LoSasso and Jeffrey Seibert and entitled The World: ‘A Maladaptive Solution to a Nonexistent Problem,” was a deeply mind-healing experience I am still processing and applying. You can listen to a video of Ken Wapnick talking about this topic and the meaning of this brilliant phrase he coined here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcCx_u4Sqg8  and you can register for upcoming foundation classes here http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx. All classes are taught by staff members who studied and worked with Ken for years and truly live and breathe the loving alternative to special interests he taught in the classrooms of their own lives while clearly and beautifully communicating the Course’s healing message of forgiveness. I have attended many classes in Temecula and could not possibly recommend the experience more highly! 🙂

Find out more about new publications and sales on the Foundation’s announcements page: http://www.facim.org/announcements.aspx

My Interviews page has been revised to make it easier to find and access interviews with Ken Wapnick https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/interviews/interviews-kenneth-wapnick and others including Gloria Wapnick, and facim staff teachers. https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/interviews/interviews-others

The Kindle version of my new essay collection, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness, is now available for preorder on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Key-Happiness-Susan-Dugan-ebook/dp/B00VF7L1X2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1427908708&sr=8-2&keywords=Forgiveness%3A+The+Key+to+Happiness Many of these selected and heavily edited (occasionally completely rewritten) essays first appeared temporarily as drafts on my blog on this site. Read consecutively, they reflect another leg in my seeming journey home through practicing A Course in Miracles’ extraordinary forgiveness of what never was in the ordinary “classroom” of my seeming daily life. The paperback version will be available on Amazon soon.

You’ll find a link to my most recent talk with CA Brooks, 12Radio, at the top of my Audios page here: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/audios.  We discussed “Transcending Guilt, Blame, and Need in the Parent-Child Relationship.”

Here’s a link to my most recent chat with Bruce Rawles about ACIM workbook lesson 132, “I loose the world from all I thought it was,” and a few of the themes emphasized in the March Academy based on Ken Wapnick’s teachings and entitled “The World: ‘A Maladaptive Solution to a Nonexistent Problem’” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rT4_NHmcws

HALF-HOUR, FORTY-FIVE MINUTE, OR HOUR-LONG ACIM MENTORING SESSIONS AVAILABLE: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/personal-coaching Although A Course in Miracles is clearly a self-study program and the one relationship we are truly cultivating is with our eternally sane and loving right mind, mentoring can help remind Course students having trouble applying its unique forgiveness in the classroom of their lives that the problem and the solution never lie in the difficult relationship, situation, behavior, health issue, etc., but in the decision-making mind. In every circumstance, without exception, we can choose to experience inner peace and kindness toward all, unaffected by the seemingly random strife of a world designed to prove otherwise. By choosing to look at our lives as a classroom in which we bring all our painful illusions to the inner teacher of forgiveness who knows only our shared innocence beyond all its deceptive disguises, we learn to identify and transcend the ego’s resistance, hold others and even ourselves harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. Sessions are conducted via traditional phone or Skype (your choice). Please contact me to find out if mentoring is right for you before submitting a payment. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay!)

My good friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles, author of The Geometry Code http://www.amazon.com/Geometry-Code-Universal-Reminders-Separation/dp/0965640574/ref=la_B003ZZVZVK_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411567229&sr=1-1, frequently invites me to chat with him on YouTube about the Course and Ken Wapnick’s teachings. He continues to compile lots of great ACIM information well worth checking out at http://www.acimblog.com/

My good friend and gifted A Course in Miracles teacher and writer Bernard Groom has been posting beautifully written, heartfelt essays about living A Course in Miracles for years at http://www.acimvillage.com/. I found his recent, kindly right-minded contemplations there on the death of our beloved teacher Ken Wapnick deeply comforting! Bernard lives and teaches in France with his dear wife Patricia. You’ll find a wealth of information in French on his website http://uncoursenmiraclesenfrance.com/ including recorded talks available for purchase or free download: http://uncoursenmiraclesenfrance.com/audio/.

My dear friend and wonderful teacher Lyn Corona continues to offer classes at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center through her School of Reason for Course students and teachers. You can subscribe to her website http://www.schoolofreason.org/ to receive information about upcoming classes.

My previous ACIM essay collections, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want and Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness http://www.amazon.com/Extraordinary-Ordinary-Forgiveness-Susan-Dugan/dp/1846945585/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1296580064&sr=1-1 are available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. If you read and find any of these books helpful, I would greatly appreciate you posting a brief (a sentence or two is fine) review on Amazon.

 

 

Comments

  1. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll all see how we’ve used turbulence (in it’s myriad seemingly-different forms) as a futile attempt to prove the innocence we’ve never lost in truth! How silly we all are! 🙂

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