Guilt: the stuff that dreams are made of

“All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it.” (From A Course in Miracles, Chapter 18, II. paragraph 5)

DreamerIn yet another series of sleeping dreams, crammed with subconscious clues about the unstable nature of my decision-making mind, I found myself climbing yet another mountain, this time, accompanied by my daughter, a good friend, and strangers from around the world. A sudden ground blizzard had created a complete white-out, leaving the trail at our feet nearly impossible to perceive. Engulfed by a sense of vertigo, we knelt, as if in prayer. Off balance, and aware of our precarious position on the spiny ridge, surrounded on both sides by plunging, jagged drop offs, simultaneously conscious that we must forge on. Inertia would surely kill us; and we had come too far not to make it home now. Oddly enough, I was not afraid, for once in this so-called life, only concerned about how to proceed without losing each other.

Without anyone seeming to suggest it as a solution, as if by some kind of divine prior agreement, we all began plucking the laces out of our hiking boots and tying them together to create a kind of rope for everyone to hold onto. My heart swelled with a sense of deep tranquility and trust, relieved of all thoughts of personal bodily preservation or worry over the fate of the “special” bodies of my daughter and friend. This is all I want, I thought, completely certain (as I rarely am in my waking dream) that we would all make it home safely, if we  just stuck together and held tight to the improvised lifeline we had made.

In the next dream, I was at an indoor skating rink we used to frequent on Friday evenings in that circle of hell known as junior high. A friend gracefully leapt and pirouetted around the ice delivering a Sochi-worthy performance I somehow knew was specifically designed to show me up (as she often seemed to relish doing in my waking dream). Catapulting me back to that horrible, hopeless pubescent place, certain no one could ever love me, fantasizing about lacing up my skates, wading into a pond, and ending it all, like some heroine in a yet-to-be-scribed Russian novel.

In a startling turn of events, my friend asked me to join her for a just-released, blockbuster movie later that day, complete with a sequel the following week, requiring me to commit to both. Out of nowhere, a girl I’d grown up with, a little older and infinitely hipper than I could ever hope to become, with whom I’d also shared the oxymoron of a problematic past, invited me to another film showing at the same time; also involving a sequel and consequent commitment. “Me or her,” both girls chimed–your choice.

Finally, I found myself vacationing at some kind of boarding school that also held a summer camp for people of all ages that felt more like an all-inclusive resort, complete with buffet-style meals and a menu of organized recreational and educational enrichment activities. Although accompanied by my daughter, I seemed much closer to her age, as if we had both attended this school together. We spent some time sunning ourselves on a sandy beach until it grew claustrphobically crowded. Then we grabbed a bite in the dining hall, and she headed off to participate in one of the activities.

I took part in a kind of relay race that involved scaling the outdoor walls of residence halls and other buildings and making it down the other side while people on the opposing team fired rocks and other objects at us (I know!) from below. When we had completed our Super-hero maneuvers, before switching roles with the other team, our leader held a kind of debriefing session in which he invited us to share our experiences. I admitted I was terrified on the rooftop, so exposed and vulnerable. He said that’s because I’d been seeing like the Cyclops. The grotesque image plucked from Greek mythology proved peculiar and menacing enough to jolt me awake, aware I must have once more chosen to see through the solo vision of the ego’s diabolical thought system.

“Jesus Christ,” I muttered, exhausted, and found myself back in my inner teacher’s imaginary office, slumped, yet again, in my chair, hanging my sorry head like some junior high student sent to the principal.

“I beg your pardon?” he said, smiling that smile of his that never goes away.

But that was my line. I sat up and squeezed my eyes (both of them!) shut, pressed my laced fingers to my breast bone, and bowed my head. “Bless me, Father,” I began.

“Really?”

“You said you’d wait in hell with me a while,” I reminded him.

“Right,” he said, still smiling, ever ready to meet me in the condition I think I’m in.  (I mean, his jaw must be freaking killing him.) He pivoted in his chair, assumed the position I’d taught him.

I closed my eyes again. “Bless me father, for I have sinned,” I whispered. “I accuse myself of.” But where to begin?  I mean, with so much to keep track of in my classroom these days, I’d actually started to forget certain stupendously upsetting incidents before I even got a chance to forgive. Not all of them, however.

For the past few days, I couldn’t seem to shake the temptation to perceive myself unfairly treated at the hands of a really very minor dream figure. Although I practiced forgiveness over and over, reminding myself, each time these feelings arose, each time the outraged, internal chatter commenced, that they were not the cause of my distress (A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 5). That in my secret fear of punishment for the never-perpetrated crime of separation from our source (masking the fear that I exist at God’s expense and must blame it on someone else to survive); I had simply dropped Jesus’ hand and picked up the ego’s again. I knew I could still see peace instead of this (workbook lesson 34). But try as I might, I did not feel any sustained peace. I kept dropping my teacher’s proverbial hand, apparently; running right back to the brutal ogre of separation realized within.

There were other dreams, too. Fantasies of the many ways disease might fell this body I still think I inhabit, looming catastrophes awaiting the little s self I still think I am and those I most hold dear. A nagging awareness that all the competitions I had entered, all the “enrichment” activities I had engaged in this time around, had, and would continue to, spectacularly fail. Nothing would end well here. Worse, I would never get to the Utopian “there” of that “oneness joined as one” of our true nature. I was stuck in a proverbial blizzard, teetering on a slippery precipice, my fate bound by a slender thread to countless equally vulnerable others. And yet.

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

“You always do.”

“It’s like you say in paragraph 8:

‘Let not the dream take hold to close your eyes. It is not strange that dreams can make a world that is unreal. It is the wish to make it that is incredible. Your relationship with your brother has now become one in which the wish has been removed, because its purpose has been changed from one of dreams to one of truth. You are not sure of this because you think it may be this that is the dream. You are so used to choosing among dreams you do not see that you have made, at last, the choice between the truth and all illusions.’

I get to choose where I look to find myself, is what you’re really saying. And that means deciding which inner teacher I choose to look with. I can continue to see myself at impossible odds with every seeming ‘other’ seeming dream figure. Or, I can choose again, and yet again, to see only our common interest in making it home together with you.  Reminding myself that my willingness to practice forgiveness of what never was will lead me, even as the storm rages, whether or not I am aware of forward momentum, or “improvements” in form. Even then, I can experience a happy, healing dream in which the light of our equal need to find our way back to our sameness in your love still shines strong.”

“Go on,” he said.

I had meant to tell him about the person in my waking dream that seemed to have caused such internal clamor. But the outcry had succumbed to the hush of true prayer, in which only the forgotten song of our sameness survives.

We sat, together, in the elongated moment of that still true truth.

“Tormented dreams notwithstanding, the ego is not really a monster, right?” I said, after a while. “Just the ugly shadow of a silly thought of attack that had no consequences, despite its lingering phantoms.  Peace of mind will always return when my secret fear of guilty vulnerability subsides, along with the welcome awareness offered in my first dream that I will make it home, along with everyone else struggling to find their way. If I just remember to keep reaching for that lifeline you offer each and every one of us, leading us back to the unwavering, all-inclusive safety of our inseparable, abstract union that can never be broken.”

“A plus,” Jesus said, turning to face me. “Confession over.”

“What about penance?” I asked.

“I think you already took care of that.”

He had a point. He always does.

“One more thing,” I said.

He nodded.

“It seems like a lot of people and situations that used to trigger me really don’t anymore, or, my reactions are almost instantly corrected. About a third of the time I seem to have this general sense of right-mindedness that includes seeing the other person’s viewpoint immediately, even when I don’t agree with it, and just being kind. In these three sleeping dreams, too, I noticed that, in the first one, in a situation that once would have terrified me and left me struggling to find a way to save myself and those I love first, I felt only a commitment to banding together and trusting our common interests. But in the other two dreams, I was right back in the ego’s quagmire of one or the other. Does this mean my mind is now one-third healed?”

His brows shot up and down the way they do.

“Just saying.”

He shook his head.

“One third up the freaking ladder?”  I asked.

“We’ve talked about this.”

“Holy Spirit, 33.333, ego 66.666?”

He threw back his head and laughed.

“Anyway, it does no good to try and judge our progress with this Course, is what you’re really saying. One, because it’s not linear. Two, because it’s impossible to understand in the condition we think we’re in. And, three, because it’s usually just a sneaky little delaying tactic I’m actually already on to, no matter how hard I try to pretend otherwise.”

“Now, you’re talking,” he said, raising his palm.

I high-fived him back.

He continued, go figure, to smile.

I had to smile, too. Really, there was, once again, I am sorry (although secretly happy) to report, nothing left to do.

“This is not a dream. Its coming means that you have chosen truth, and it has come because you have been willing to let your special relationship meet its conditions. In your relationship the Holy Spirit has gently laid the real world; the world of happy dreams, from which awaking is so easy and so natural. For as your sleeping and your waking dreams represent the same wishes in your mind, so do the real world and the truth of Heaven join in the Will of God. The dream of waking is easily transferred to its reality. For this dream reflects your will joined with the Will of God. And what this Will would have accomplished has never not been done.” (Paragraph 9)

 

A Course in Miracles at 12Radio. We talked about how the Course is not a path in positive thinking, but rather in learning to look at all we’ve made up to hurt and divide us. Bringing it back to the healing-for-all light of our right mind, and remembering to smile. https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/audio/CA_ACIM_ARCHIVE_2_7_2014.mp3 

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 anothert 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! 

HALF-HOUR 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 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.) 

I’ve made some exciting new changes to my Tuesday-night forgiveness class, designed to deepen our study and practice and accelerate our learning in 2014! (PLEASE SEE THIS SITE’S CLASSES/EVENTS PAGE FOR DETAILS.) We’ve begun the year by embracing true prayer, forgiveness, and healing as described in The Song of Prayer pamphlet (pamphlets available for purchase from the RMMC or already included within the most recent edition of A Course in Miracles). The Song of Prayer was scribed by Helen Schucman following the Course’s publication and helps clarify misunderstandings about its non-dualistic metaphysics. Our classes on this topic will conclude each week with an optional 20-minute true-prayer session.

We’ll devote the rest of the year to opening to the text, chronologically, from the heart, through selected readings, occasionally augmented by complementary workbook lessons and/or selections from the Manual, pamphlets, and recordings by premier Course Teacher, Author, and Scholar Kenneth Wapnick. Each week will conclude with an optional, 20-minute question and answer/comment/sharing session.

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.

 

Comments

  1. We’re ALL tethered more closely than anything we can imagine in our space-time dream, if Oneness is Truth and everything else isn’t, huh! 🙂

  2. Carol Hailey says:

    Your dreams reminded me of a dream I had last week where I was running to avoid a threatening situation but I couldn’t see where I was going because my eyes were glued shut. I pried them open (while still running) but still couldn’t see much better. My interpretation – I still don’t want to look at the tumultuous world I have made for myself. I would rather run aimlessly in the dark.
    I learn so much from you and your journey out of the dream. Thank you for taking the time to write this blog.
    Love, Carol

  3. Hi Carol:

    I love that dream of yours! It’s amazing how our sleeping dreams reflect the Course’s themes. Why does it still seem so much easier to recognize those themes in my sleeping versus waking dreams? 🙂

    And thank you for your kind words about this blog. I really appreciate your generous response, and presence in my dream. 🙂

    Love,
    Susan

Speak Your Mind

*