Fear not

dolphinAnother Monday morning found me back at my desk, my little dog Kayleigh coiled in her bed at my feet, at last taking time from the accumulated “demands” of the past few days to contemplate the seeming tumultuous events of the past few weeks. Including a beach vacation in which I found myself wildly vacillating from the calm, clean waters of our right mind, special relationships in tow, dolphins merrily cavorting, to the turbulent, shark-infested depths of my mind on ego. Staring at the blank computer screen now, I fancied filling it with comforting words, harvested from a comforting part of my mind beyond this dream that seemed to have once more eluded me.

My inner imaginary Jesus was here, too, somewhere, I reminded myself, hiding in plain view. “Where would I go?” he often counters, with that little inverted-crescent-moon smile of his, when I complain that he has run away again, sailed off into the sunset with some other, more gifted, less resistant Course student. Even though I know who has really done the fleeing, the awareness only seems to exacerbate the pain of trying to once more protect my seeming body from sinister outside dream forces rather than return to the awakened part of our mind where true safety for all prevails.

Enough, I decided, finally unable to stand the excruciating internal theatrics of my little seeming s self one more seeming minute, and was instantly transported to the threshold of his office. I knocked softly on the open door, even though I could see him at his desk, reading.

He peered up at me, smile broadening. “Long time, no see with,” he said, stealing my usual line.

I plopped down in my chair across from him, lay my head in my hands, and sighed, the sigh for which I am justly famous in certain circles.

He waited for me to finish. Thank God he is much better at waiting than I am.

“OK,” I said, sitting upright. “I get it, I do. I understand what the Course is saying about the ‘secret sins and hidden hates’ we hold close to anchor us here in this dream of exile from our real Source and Self. The heavy bag of guilty treasures we each drag around in a covert effort to prove our refugee status. Largely unaware of their contents, until we spend some quality time with you and experience an altered perception in which we are endlessly loved and loving. Freed from what Ken Wapnick called ‘the tyranny of needs,’ no longer dependent on anyone or anything to fill us. Or fail us.”

He nodded.

“And then we become afraid again. Only we don’t know it until we dip down once more into the depths of our personal ‘grab bag’ of guilty treasures Ken talked about, and pluck out ‘some twisted form of the original error’ you mention in Chapter 18 (section I, paragraph 7), some seeming threat to our psychological or physical existence to scare the living crap out of us.”

His brows shot up the way they do. “Well said.”

I bowed my head, as if in Confession, once more ashamed of my secret attraction to all that gleaming guilt I thought I had long since buried for good. I had been so damn frightened of the love waiting just on the other side of my fears, more frightened than ever, really. Although I had experienced almost immediate shifts to right-mindedness in response to multiple troubling issues in my special relationships, nearly instant compassion for everyone secretly suffering the debilitating effects of our belief in guilty separation, I had then indulged in horrible fantasies and catastrophic thinking around physical symptoms experienced by “my” body, based on very little information or evidence, even on the level of form.

Even my fear of flying, which has greatly diminished over the years through practicing forgiveness ACIM-style, learning to call on my inner pilot for help in looking at my fear, came boomeranging back more overwhelming than ever aboard our return flight to Denver last week, descending in inclement weather.

“Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking,” came a voice from the cockpit. “We’ve been advised it’s bumpy at all altitudes this afternoon. Please return your seats in their upright and locked positions and make sure your seatbelts are tightly fastened. Flight attendants, please remain seated for the remainder of the flight.”

“Prepare to die,” I thought, pressing my fingers into the acupressure point on my wrist my Chinese Medicine doctor recommended to calm nerves and motion sickness, shoulders returned to their upright and locked position, unable to find the inner hand I so desperately wanted to hold.

“I’ve always been like this, really,” I said, now. Not that dragging past dreams into it would help matters, but still. “Since I was a kid. Just too damn sensitive to bumps at every freaking altitude.”

“Imagine that.”

I nodded. “I mean, I thought I was making some progress with this Course, and yet.”

He cocked his head.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said.

“You always do. Eventually.”

“It does no good to measure our progress with this Course. Our deepest retreats into fear may actually enable another leap toward awakening from this nightmare of separation realized.”

“Go on,” he said.

“I just became afraid of love again. Your love, I mean.” I lowered my voice, leaned in closer, as if telling a secret. “Real love. But frightened people don’t deserve to be condemned or ridiculed.”

He nodded. “Why are we whispering?” he asked, leaning in close, too, meeting me once more in the condition I found myself in.

“I still think I’m a body,” I mouthed.

His mouth dropped open. His eyes widened. “No!” he said.

I nodded. I made a little imaginary gun of my little imaginary hand and shot myself in my little imaginary head.

“Still, I think I am making some progress, actually,” I continued, after a while. “I mean, here I am with you, despite my fear. It’s just that, the last few weeks have just been one damn thing after another, again, if you know what I’m saying.”

“We’ve talked about this.”

“And I think a part of me thinks that if I keep practicing this Course, keep looking and forgiving what never was with you …” I trailed off, drew a ragged breath, lowered my voice some more. “I’ll die.”

He nodded, gentle smile intact.

There, I’d said it. That’s what I was really thinking, but trying to deny. The meaning I was giving to the storms in Denver, the turbulent landing, my physical symptoms. If I continued letting more and more guilt go in my personal relationships by making my relationship with this memory of innocent wholeness for all seemingly sitting across from me the most important thing, continued to see that everyone here is fighting the same hard battle and learn to hold no one prisoner, respond only with compassion to everyone involved, the ego was going to turn on “my” body, this physical form I still believe I inhabit. Strike it dead in its seeming tracks; deliver the punishment I had coming, just to prove I once lived apart from God. But it was all just a silly lie, not a real, devastating threat.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said. “It’s like you say in Chapter 9 (VII. paragraph 4, lines 4-7):

‘The ego is deceived by everything you do, especially when you respond to the Holy Spirit, because at such times its confusion increases. The ego is, therefore, particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving and you are going against its judgment. The ego will attack your motives as soon as they become clearly out of accord with its perception of you. This is when it will shift abruptly from suspiciousness to viciousness, since its uncertainty is increased.’

But, despite its claims and fears, the ego is not some monster swooping down to punish me, right? Just a confused, selfish, frightened thought in my mind, just like you say:

‘I have spoken of the ego as if it were a separate thing, acting on its own. This was necessary to persuade you that you cannot dismiss it lightly, and must realize how much of your thinking is ego-directed.’” (Chapter 4, VI. paragraph 1, lines3-4)

“I think I realize it,” I said, squeezing his hand, sighing, a welcome sigh, this time, a sigh of deep relief and release, not of this world. I can’t say how long we sat there together in soothing silence. After a while, I simply found myself back at my desk, still smiling that smile of his, all questions answered, fears put to rest, and started to write this post.

“Fear not that you will be abruptly lifted up, and hurled into reality. Time is kind, and if you use it on behalf of reality, it will keep gentle pace with you, in your transition. The urgency is only in dislodging your mind from its fixed position here. This will not leave you homeless and without a frame of reference. The period of disorientation, which precedes the actual transition, is far shorter than the time it took to fix your mind so firmly on illusions. Delay will hurt you now more than before, only because you realize it is delay, and that escape from pain is really possible. Find hope and comfort, rather than despair, in this: You could not long find even the illusion of love in any special relationship here. For you are no longer wholly insane, and you would soon recognize the guilt of self-betrayal for what it is.” (Chapter 16, VI, paragraph 8)

NOTE: A Course in Miracles uses the character of Jesus as an ego-free symbol of the part of our mind that remembered to laugh at the “tiny, mad idea” that we could separate from our eternally, whole, non-dualistic, all-inclusively loving home and make up a world of separate interests. By learning to rely on him as our inner teacher in the classroom of our lives, to offer all our dark illusions to the light of his lucid vision, the unconscious guilt we feel and project on each other and ourselves resulting from this mistaken belief is gradually undone. Over time, with practice, practice, practice, we become kinder and more compassionate with others and ourselves, and ultimately awaken to the reality of our one undifferentiated Source and Self we never stopped sharing with Him.

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles could use our help as they continue to teach and publish the mind-healing, life-altering work of our beloved teacher and mentor Ken Wapnick, who selflessly dedicated his life to helping us change our minds about the world and find our way home. You can express your support and appreciation for this ongoing work with a donation here: https://www.facim.org/bookstore/p-195-donate.aspx .

Now, when you buy on Amazon, you can support The Foundation for A Course in Miracles, too! Details here: http://www.facim.org/announcements.aspx

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles continues to offer illuminating classes taught by a talented, devoted, inspiring staff! I was so deeply moved and inspired by their presentations at the March academy, and can’t wait to return for more in July! Check out their offerings here:  http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx

Enjoyed talking again with Bruce Rawles recently about the importance of remembering the new purpose of our lives as a forgiveness classroom and being vigilant in looking at all our reactions with our new inner teacher. Please excuse the reference to audio problems that turned out to be only on our end. 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYGbSga-tis#t=11 

Here’s a link to details about a new Tuesday night class I am offering here in Denver https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events beginning in May 2014.

I enjoyed talking with CA Brooks of 12 Radio May 2nd about making practicing the Course’s forgiveness the new purpose of our days.

HALF-HOUR, FORTY-FIVE MINUTE, OR HOUR-LONG MENTORING SESSIONS NOW AVAILABLE: 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 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 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 harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. One-on-one, hour, forty-five-minute, or half-hour mentoring 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 below. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.)

My dear friend and wonderful teacher Lyn Corona continues to offer wonderful new 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 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/.

Here’s another ACIM hangout video I did with my friend Bruce Rawles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yogj9ckTXbc&feature=youtu.be . In this one, we talk about our love for our teacher Ken Wapnick, a demonstration of kindness to one and all, and how we can honor his life and heal our minds by living all he has taught us!

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 is also available at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center in Denver, Colorado, where I teach weekly on Tuesday nights, takes up roughly where my last ACIM essay collection left off, and conveys my 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. If you’re thinking about buying a book and live in Denver, please consider purchasing a copy from the RMMC to help support their great work.  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.



  1. Gabrielius says:

    Such a nice post, Susan. Very honest. I liked it and reminded me again, even despite my fear, my resistance, my secret guilt, I still walk those right-minded baby steps into the light, each day. Even they seem like a small success, and when I get back into my ego, I find it much more painful, as J says, because I know those little, but significant miracles of stepping from the ego IS a real Thing. Which I did not in the past, when I was completely mindless 🙂

  2. Thank you, Gabrielius.

    I know, choosing the ego hurts more now that we know we have an alternative. And yet, I still cling! 🙂

  3. We’re all either indulging in the ‘fear knot’ … or loosening the mental shackles and ropes that bind us to the terrors of imagined retaliation for imagined crimes against perfect Oneness; it does take lots of practice, doesn’t it! Our over-practiced identification with a fragile, vulnerable, mortal droplet-wannabe little s self might just take a while to undo, but it’s SO worth it! Thanks for your continued and ever relatable sharing, Susan! 🙂

  4. Gabrielius says:
  5. Thank you for the Coldplay Gabrielius. Very moving and just what I needed this morning!

    “Mortal droplet-wannabe little s self”made me :)! And yes, patience, patience, patience and practice,practice, practice. What’s a few decades in eternity? I used to hate it when Ken said that. 🙂

  6. Gabrielius says:

    3P & 3P. Thanks Susan, for reminding that again! I don’t find Practice so difficult as Patience, since ACIM is Simple 🙂

  7. Not just a smile, but a soft and gentle smile. A “forever smile” that lets us try it on whenever we choose to do so.

  8. Yes, Ben–exactly!

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