Devotional pose

(Here’s another excerpt from my new essay collection Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness, to be published this spring.  Hope you enjoy!)

120px-Trees_winter_landscapeI rapped softly on the mottled glass of the ajar door to my imaginary teacher’s office, a courtesy; really, since I could tell he was not inside. Not inside and not outside either, on a day like this, as far as I could tell. But I no longer fully trusted these observations of mine, and was willing, for once, to wait. I pushed the door open and paused, soaking in the lingering starlight of his presence, unencumbered by the bare overhead florescent light, currently switched off. He deserved a better office, I thought. Note to little s self; see what you can do about that.

I stood a moment longer soaking up that inexplicable sense of infinite space unfettered by the cramped walls. His desk and empty chair, facing the always-open door, fit snuggly in front of the beveled windows. The chair I liked to call mine looked out at the stately brick buildings across the courtyard, those hallowed halls of higher learning obscured here and there by oak tree branches that had been around the block, nonetheless about to bud anew.

Squeezed between my chair and the door on an area rug that had seen better days I found just enough space to unfurl my yoga mat, and sat a few minutes in lotus position, eyes shut, breathing those full-bodied breaths I had learned to calm this body’s ever-addled nerves. Simultaneously filled with longing and growing gratitude, I then assumed the position that best expressed the reason I had come. Bent knees beneath me on the mat, I curled my torso around them, allowing my forehead to touch down, arms fully extended in front of me, imagining him standing at my feet, the object of my embryonic humility, accepting this offering.

In yoga, devotional pose, also called child’s pose, symbolizes the respect due revered teachers and elders. Despite years of dabbling in Eastern traditions that often involved one form or another of bowing to gurus, I had eschewed the practice on the basis of the wildly unsupported (in my actual experience) conviction that God was not embodied, but somehow within. Or, more likely, in ways I could not comprehend or express correctly, we were contained within God. The mere suggestion of which would have had me ejected from the pew of the Immaculate Conception church in which I knelt as a child, swallowing my grave doubts even as I tapped my fist to my chest, obediently uttering mea culpa, terrified to raise my eyes toward the alleged habitat of a God that might smite me dead at any moment for my silent, renegade opinions.

In any event, I knew no priest or guru was going to help me find my way to the awareness of that gentle intersection of self and God I craved, within which all doubts disappear. No one had a special corner on divinity, I blasphemously, if clandestinely, dared to presume. I was somehow already there, the cesspool of my hateful thoughts, notwithstanding, just like everyone else, if I could just somehow remember the code. Just somehow feel and thereby allow that love to express itself through me all the time, to everyone and thing I encountered. Besides, gurus had led too many friends into cults never to be heard from again. I would not be one of those. I would find the directions to our one home my way, or, you know, not at all (admittedly the most likely scenario).

A Course in Miracles has given me those directions. It has explained the inexplicable guilt within that left me feeling secretly unloved and unloving so much of the time–blaming it on external causes only to feel even more guilty–and exposed the dynamics of my secret wish to remain separate and unequal to others. A result of taking the “tiny, mad idea” that we could separate from our eternally loving, all-inclusive Self or would possibly want to seriously, and projecting the guilty thought into an entire universe of forms vying for survival. Each attempting to prove they exist but it’s not their fault; it’s someone else’s, each trying to find in an imaginary someone or something “out there,” a guilt-free ticket home.

And yet, even though I now intellectually know for certain that the path and its destination are not separate from me, I am not yet there all the time in my awareness, to say the least. The dreaded clouds of guilt in my mind seeded by that secret, false belief in separation still cluster on the horizon, seemingly stacked against my will. Sometimes disguised in the faces of those I love to love and hate, sometimes disguised as the deeply flawed person I see in the mirror, seemingly obscuring my vision of the road before me, let alone the end I seek. And I am, at times like these, overwhelmed with a longing to fall to my knees at my teacher’s feet. To receive his blessing, his forgiveness, an absolution I still can’t fully offer the self I still think I am, on my own. Filled with such deep yearning to know that innocence he knows once and for always, hoping to absorb it through some kind of celestial osmosis from his imaginary touch on my imaginary, bowed head.

I lay there a few moments longer, breathing, before I sensed his presence again in the room. But he wasn’t standing over me, as I’d expected. His office had somehow expanded to include room for a yoga mat beside me in which he also lay in child’s pose, deeply breathing. I wanted so badly to bolt, and yet, as if obeying a distantly familiar beat, my lungs slowly expanded and contracted in unison with his to the tune of the forgotten song we have never, in truth, stopped singing.

“I think I get it now,” I whispered, after a while.

He continued to breathe, in, and out, rhythmically, beside me. Really, there was nothing left to say.

“There must be doubt before there can be conflict. And every doubt must be about yourself. Christ has no doubt, and from His certainty His quiet comes. He will exchange His certainty for all your doubts, if you agree that He is One with you, and that this Oneness is endless, timeless, and within your grasp, because your hands are his. He is within you, yet He walks beside you and before, leading the way that He must go to find Himself complete. His quietness becomes your certainty. And where is doubt when certainty has come?” (Chapter 24, V. paragraph 9)

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles continues to carry on Ken Wapnick’s profound teachings in classes facilitated by inspiring foundation staff members who worked with and learned from Ken for decades and serve as shining models of what it means to live a truly forgiving life. Check out their offerings here: http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx   

LATEST AUDIOS:

CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I discuss ACIM workbook lesson 153: “In my defenselessness my safety lies” in this new recording: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=8E95181C-26B9-4187-86FA66A598812556

CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about the value of ACIM’s workbook, discuss the Introduction and Epilogue, and share personal accounts of our experience with the workbook in this recent audio: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=FF19A9A0-26B9-4187-8603C14D49776A79

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!)

Check out recent videos on living a forgiving life here: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/videos

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 latest book, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want is available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. If you read and find the book helpful, I would so appreciate you posting a brief (a sentence or two is fine) review on Amazon. 🙂

Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and my previous book, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, are now also available from the ACIM Store: http://www.acimstore.com/default.asp.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Eventually, we will all allow ourselves to consistently remember the perfect, quiet certainty … we never left. Meanwhile, slumbering restlessly in our seeming conflicts, we’re dedicated, devotional divers in dividing doubt, dreadfully dreaming of morose, maculate misconceptions. 🙂 More excellent reminders; thanks, Susan!

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