No order of difficulty in miracles

dolphinHis office door stood ajar; always open, he has told us again and again. And so I didn’t even bother to knock, just barged right in, plopped down in the familiar chair across from where he sat hunched over, grading papers, and placed—OK, possibly slammed--the big, blue book down on his desk.

He peered up at me over the reading glasses I had bought him a while back in a futile attempt to correct his confounding farsightedness.  “Long time, no see with,” my imaginary inner teacher said, eyes merry. You would think he might have come up with some new material by now. You would be wrong.

“We need to talk,” I said.

Jesus took off his glasses and nodded, swiveled sideways in his chair, entwined his fingers, and bowed into them.

Clearly, he thought we were playing the Confession game again, but I was in no mood for reenacting childhood rituals.

Not today,” I said.

He turned back toward me, leaned forward, and gazed into my eyes.

I hate it when he does that. I glanced away, and sighed. “I’m having some issues,” I said.

“Ah.” He nodded, leaned back in his chair, picked up his notebook and pen, and glanced at his watch. “Go on,” he said, all Freud-like. He was getting really good at this.

But, where to begin? I had been listening to a new (to me) workshop of Ken Wapnick’s called Entering God’s Presence (I know), while working out in my basement on the elliptical machine. Allowing the soothing message that we are not many bodies in constant conflict in an imaginary world but one abstract Child of God that has never really left that present, loving union in the mind, to wash over me. Silently congratulating myself for how right-minded I seemed to have become lately–kind, calm, tolerant–despite a few colossal developments in the dreamscape that seemed to threaten the personal identity to which I still mostly clung in unprecedented ways, when—bam! 

My gaze swiveled left, my eyes landing on the long folding table against the wall, haphazardly  stacked with boxes and piles, additional boxes and piles stuffed underneath, remnants from my mother-in-law’s home back East. Although she had passed away more than two years ago, not a single object among the pressing materials and possessions in need of sorting by my husband had been disturbed since. So imagine my surprise to discover that the debris seemed to have suddenly morphed overnight into an entire new display of chaotic accumulation.

“Are you freaking kidding me?” I thought, hitting the pause button on Ken—I mean, the hell with God’s presence!–and stomping off to investigate.

On closer inspection, the objects of my projection looked oddly familiar. And then it came to me. I had tripped over one of those decomposing boxes just the other day. They had all been sitting in the two-car garage (in which we have never actually parked our vehicles primarily because of someone’s ever-proliferating possessions) I had tactfully and, without a trace of sarcasm, suggested my husband might want to clean up should he find a spare moment, to prevent the tripping situation.  He looked so proud on announcing he had done so yesterday. When, as it turned out, he had merely moved the mess from one place to another without sorting through or getting rid of anything at all!

I swung into action, hoisting as many of the ripped boxes and disheveled piles on top of the others on the table as possible, stuffing the rest into the corner so that at least they had not encroached further outward into our family-room territory. Having worked myself into a righteous frenzy, I carried a couple of my daughter’s board games she had left out over to the cupboards built into the opposite wall. Only to discover, as I slid open a door, that the mess I had asked her to sort through and get rid of before she went back to college had found a new home here. She sounded so proud when she announced she had done so last month. And yet, like my husband, she had simply crammed all this junk into a different location without ostensibly eliminating a single piece of trash.

I stood, apoplectic, aware there was absolutely nothing I could ever say or do that would get my slacker husband or daughter to clean up their messes. Aware I was not really upset because of this most recent of their many failures to comply with my patiently stated wishes, but still unwilling to choose the inner teacher of unwavering peace.

Needless to say, the day continued to spiral hopelessly downward. Minor albeit enraging incidents—from my husband’s habitual, infuriating refusal to show up on time for a dinner party, acted out in excruciating slow motion just to annoy me, to conversations that seemed to veer into personal attacks on my beliefs, to revived pain emanating from a pinched nerve in my foot I thought I’d made progress toward healing through ridiculous physical therapy routines–continued to proliferate. Until, I could stand it no longer.

“Jesus!” I cried, and found myself right back at this door, still wallowing in the juices of my own ego misery but at least willing to consider the possibility of another way.

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

“You usually do.”

“How can I stay peaceful in response to really big things that would usually suck me right back in—wars, floods; life and death happening all around me, for Christ sake?”

“Hey,” he said, smiling.

“Sorry. And then suddenly go completely ballistic over a couple of relocated messes, as if there were any other kind here in dreamland?”

“Good question,” he said.

“You think?”

We both knew he didn’t need to answer. I thought about how the one thing I could always count on in my dream was shit happening; a seemingly infinite supply of big shit, little shit, constantly relocating shit.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said. “Sometimes the big things get to me and sometimes they don’t. Same with the little things. As long as the dream stays unstable—chaotic even–as long as some kind of seemingly external mess upsets me, the ego wins. It doesn’t really matter what it is. As long as it keeps me feeling like I’m a victim of something beyond my control, proves I exist apart from God but it’s not my fault—it’s that damn mess!–it preserves my belief in me.”

“Go on,” he said.

“It’s like you say in Chapter 23, II. The Laws of Chaos:

‘The first chaotic law is that truth is different for everyone. Like all these principles, this one maintains that each is separate and has a different set of thoughts that set him off from others. This principle evolves from the belief there is a hierarchy of illusions; some are more valuable and therefore true. (From paragraph 2)’

‘Think how this seems to interfere with the first principle of miracles. For this establishes degrees of truth among illusions, making it seem that some of them are harder to overcome than others. If it were realized that they are all the same and equally untrue, it would be easy, then, to understand that miracles apply to all of them. Errors of any kind can be corrected because they are untrue. When brought to truth instead of to each other, they merely disappear. No part of nothing can be more resistant to the truth than another.’” (From paragraph 3)

“Believing that some things are harder to forgive than others, more real than others, keeps me rooted in the dream is what you’re really saying. But when I step back and look calmly on them all with you, I really do see they’re all the same. They all serve the same purpose of keeping me mindless, forging back into the dream over and over to clean up messes that will never go away. I can only withdraw my belief in them by looking at them with you, disabling the power of anything, major or minor, however expected or unexpected, to destroy my inner peace. I don’t have to try to give up my “me-ness,” I just need to keep looking at its purpose—however it presents in my dream–with you. When I do that, its importance slips away. And I feel only the common interest I share with everyone and everything to heal our split mind and remember our only real relationship.”

He was looking into my eyes again, order restored, our little therapy session over. In the eternity of a healed instant, I gratefully returned his gaze, heart wide open, all messy thoughts gone. Until, distracted by something big or small seemingly “out there” dashing about in my peripheral vision, I just had to look away again. 

Just back from visiting my family in upstate New York. Hope to get back to my regular posting schedule week after next. 🙂

Thank you, Gary Renard, for adding my new collection of ACIM essays, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, to your Recommended Reading list: 

Honored that Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, is now available at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center in Denver, Colorado, where I teach regularly on Tuesday nights. Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want 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. The new book is also available on Amazon.

Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and my previous book,Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, are now also available from the ACIM Store:

I enjoyed talking with Bruce Rawles recently about my new book; Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and the importance of cultivating a relationship with the inner teacher of forgiveness in our one mind. You can watch the video by clicking here: or on my home page. Other recent videos are available on my Videos page.

Also had a good time talking with CA Brooks, host of the 12 Radio show Simpletales, about my new book and recipes for true forgiveness. You can listen to the audio here: on my Audios page, where you’ll find additional recordings.

Although A Course in Miracles is clearly a self-study program and the one relationship we are truly cultivating is with our eternally clear and loving right mind, a mentor can help Course students apply its gentle forgiveness practice in their lives. In one-on-one phone sessions I help students identify and transcend the ego’s resistance to healing our split mind through forgiveness. By looking with and listening to our forever kind inner teacher we learn to recognize and release the unconscious blocks we use to push unwavering, all-inclusive Love away, begin to see everyone and everything as the same in God’s heart, and gradually awaken to our true, whole, eternally innocent natureFor information on individual ACIM mentoring; please click on the mentoring tab on this site. (Please note that no one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.)


  1. I found your post very MOVING TODAY (pun intended)! 🙂 I can completely relate to how the detritus of our manifested projections can tempt us to identify with a self that was over long ago, yet seems to persist in ever-shifting JAFOs, cleverly disguised as NIMMBY (Not In My Mind’s Back Yard) issues, while we mindlessly ‘think’ we’re successfully rearranging Titanic holodeck chairs, all the while merely playing war with the outer shield of oblivion, ignoring the unconscious basement guilt that isn’t actually there! 🙂 Thanks, Susan!

  2. Audrey Thiault says:

    Thank you, Susan. This is helping me to see how important it is, and comforting it would be, to deepen the experience of that inner personal relationship. But I have to know what are JAFO’s (that Bruce mentioned in his comment), can you tell me? 🙂

  3. Thank you, Bruce and Audrey.

    Audrey, I think JAFO = “just another forgiveness opportunity,” is that right, Bruce? 🙂

  4. David Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing your exercises in the basement. Remarkable.

  5. You’re welcome, David. 🙂 And thanks for your kind response.

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