Declaration of dependence

My husband and daughter had taken off for the mountains to attend the annual celebration of the final day of the last Colorado ski resort (Arapahoe Basin) open for the season, leaving me to my own devices. It had been a whirlwind of a summer so far–the ego seemingly firing distractions like an alien ship in a video game hell-bent on conquering my serenity–and I welcomed a morning of solitude. Before setting off on my bike to the local Farmers’ Market I again read A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 290: “My present happiness is all I see.” Right.

I’d struggled to allow the lesson to have its way with me for several days, but could only seem to notice how difficult (OK; impossible) I found staying present to where happiness really lies, far beyond this body and dreamy, dream of exile from perfect Love. How spectacularly alluring all seemingly external somethings seemed compared with the quiet, assured “nothingness” of our one right mind. Try as I might, the ego’s 24/7 static seemed to render the lesson’s deeper truth elusive. But this morning, my renegade thoughts ground to a welcome halt as I wound through the neighborhoods in the dewy, early-morning breeze and secured my bike in the parking lot racks where the market had just opened, vendors putting the finishing touches on colorful fare, parked trucks already dishing up artery-busting comfort food and ethnic delights.

The recently hosed-down asphalt glistened beneath a benevolent sun high and hopeful in the sky as I perused the still largely deserted stalls fingering bouquets of just-picked Swiss chard and spinach, and followed a perfumed trail to a booth offering just-roasted green chilies. I nabbed a nosegay of the breathtaking, peppery cinnamon-capped mushrooms I had snagged a few weeks ago and successfully married with butter, papparadelle, and Romano cheese, and munched on a breakfast burrito as I headed back to my bike. Petting dogs and nodding at the smiling, accumulating passersby and thinking that—dream or no dream–it didn’t get much better than this.

I relished that thought (no pun intended) along with new recipes born of the ingredients in my backpack all the way home. But by the time I unpacked and headed out to walk my dog these bountiful, benevolent thoughts, too–like all things seemingly good or bad in this so-called world—had changed. As the sun climbed in the sky toward its scorching apex, I found myself thinking instead about the nature of suffering, how everyone secretly believed they carried its guilty seed buried within. And would literally rather die than own up to its origins.

As I passed the park–signs of the impending Fourth of July celebration already manifesting–I couldn’t help but recall the many Independence Day galas I had attended over the years, cozied up with my fellow Americans to commemorate our collective emancipation from a controlling parent. How everyone here (in this seeming dream of exile from eternal wholeness) clung to stories of personal and collective suffering at the hands of a controlling parent to hide the real, unexcavated story within. That heady tale of the one and only child of God deciding to strike off on  her own–believing she could and had and would possibly want to–and literally disintegrating from the guilty pleasure of it all into a gazillion forms vying for survival/exoneration. Spinning declarations of independence old and new to prevent them from ever finding the dusty scroll of that original story carefully hidden within the one mind, recalling its fictional nature, and smiling at the frivolity of it all.

Everywhere I looked I could suddenly read the stories of differentiated forms in progress. My contemplative mood must have been contagious because my little dog, Kayleigh, too, seemed uncharacteristically subdued. We passed greedy squirrels, noisy ravens, and graceful butterflies touting transcendence without incident; a weary wolf hound, an exuberant black lab, a brooding German shepherd, an incensed pug, and two white toy poodles that looked exactly like their owner. And still Kayleigh—an ability to play well with others of her species never among her strong suits–walked obediently at my feet, without once lapsing into so much as a low growl or aggressive twirl.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses poured out of their little, shuttered building along the gully in their freshly pressed shirts and skirts, cooing over Kayleigh’s effortless adorability. The Quakers smiled and bent to pat her head on their way into Saturday meeting, climbing the stairs beside a sign that read: War Is Not the Answer, that left me silently humming and finishing that Marvin Gaye sentiment: for only love can conquer hate. My present happiness is all I see, I thought, realizing it was possible to walk this world of seeming fragmentation from perfect, all-inclusive Love. To fully participate while witnessing its endlessly creative pleas (and those would be mine 🙂 ) for separate interests, for duality taken seriously; without once lapsing into so much as a low growl or aggressive twirl.

All weekend long I watched the ego’s ingenious performance without feeling the need to respond with a low growl or aggressive twirl, somehow poignantly aware that our original declaration of independence—thank God–had no effect, rendering everything that seemed to happen subsequently blessedly null and void. I could see our one present happiness even as I looked on my impulse to join with its imaginary detractors. Even as the self I still think I am once more occupied a camp chair and cozied up to my fellow Americans on a field just south of the city. Following a concert by the ‘60s and ‘70s Canadian band The Guess Who to watch a stunning display of pyrotechnics accompanied by blaring patriotic music applauding our nation’s seemingly exclusive characteristics. All rendered innocent by the rockets’ red glare of our one right mind.

And in a burst of clarity, I remembered this: No matter what the bodies’ eyes report, no matter how glorious, gory, or gruesome our “particular” stories; we did not create ourselves. And we are all the same. Nothing happened because of a “tiny, mad idea” that we could strike off on our own, or would want to. We remain seamlessly fused with our creator. Undifferentiated, eternally sane, and thrilled to be so. We are not God! We are part of God. This is great news. This is a huge relief. I have no worries as a part of God. This is the happy truth of what we are.

“Eyes that begin to open see at last. And I would have Christ’s vision come to me this very day. What I perceive without God’s Own Correction for the sight I made is frightening and painful to behold. Yet I could not allow my mind to be deceived by the belief the dream I made is real an instant longer. This the day I seek my present happiness, and look on nothing else except the thing I seek.”


  1. More great commentary on how we can find amusement in – and ultimately release from – watching our ego’s low growls and aggressive twirls of outrageous fortune – which we fabricated on an unconscious level. Watching these silly antics with our shared Inclusive Spirit presses the inner ‘undo button’ and that mental mentorship is the best sort of dependency; it reminds me of Gary Renard’s comments about how J was not the ultimate leader, but the ultimate follower! Besides, it’s so much easier when we let Kindness interpret our bizarre parade of dreams for us! 🙂

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