Salvation of the world depends on me

Red rocks winterAnother freshly minted year hot off the presses and already the parade of problematic projections (really, are there any other kind after a certain age?) seemed more than one dream figure could possibly wrap her puny head around. My elderly father-in-law’s sadly deteriorating health seemed to manifest in an increasingly convoluted series of daily crises and communication snafus among his practitioners that never got resolved. The backup caregiver for our little six-pound maltipoo who had so generously taken our separation-anxiety-plagued canine in when we were out of town for the past five years had rescued a sweet but, you know, gigantic Rottweiler, throwing a wrench into with whom to board Kayleigh when we attended my daughter’s college graduation in May. And, fate willing, then took off for a longed-awaited family trip together before she moved out-of-state to work as planned. (An excursion that, I’m not going to lie to you, seemed more and more akin to a blissninny pipedream by the nanosecond.)

There was the matter of my daughter’s impending departure itself, the wrenching realization   stalking my consciousness (and more or less successfully deflected for months) I could no longer deny as I carefully took down, wrapped, and boxed our Christmas decorations that I had no freaking idea what next year’s holidays would hold. But felt fairly certain that whatever entry-level job she landed (fate willing on that, too!) would likely not come with a generous vacation package. At best, we would spend Christmas elsewhere, boarding our dog (provided she survived the graduation getaway)–whose issues also included an inability to play well with others of her species and a life-long diagnosis of stress colitis–God knows where.

Meanwhile, in another corner of my interactive classroom, my ongoing bout of sinus infections seemed to deliver one weird, debilitating symptom after another. Worries about my own, far-away elderly parents’ condition continued, my self-judgments seemed to have taken on a Hitchcockian life of their own, and a special relationship refused to deliver on a promise made many months ago to finish something I required to file my business taxes on time.

It was the latter of these conundrums in my own little twisted, imaginary shop of horrors that, try as I might to practice A Course in Miracles forgiveness of what never was, brought me over and over again to my proverbial knees. Reflecting as it did (when I listened to my inner fastidious historian of unfair treatment) the central theme of abandonment and rejection so tragically played out in the ongoing drama of my so-called life in general, this relationship in particular, apparently since the beginning of recorded time. So seductively coaxing me deeper and deeper than I ever wished or dared to go into forbidden territory, wherein I seemed once more engaged in a bitter battle to the death over my constantly challenged and battered innocence. I know!  (“In your suffering of any kind you see your own concealed desire to kill.” A Course in Miracles Chapter 31, V., paragraph 15, line 10)

Try as I might to remind myself I was not really upset because of this person’s (actually quite predictable and, I knew, when seen right-mindedly, not really at-all-personal) behavior or the ever-evolving sequence of seeming outside threats to my sense of equilibrium (ACIM workbook lesson 5), and could still experience peace instead of this beyond bodily understanding (ACIM workbook lesson 34), I seemed to have lost the address to my imaginary inner professor’s office in the quiet center of our mind. Finding myself instead firmly rooted in the ego’s smoking battleground, sirens singing their separation song, the inner terrorist threat level spiking to red while a sweet-talking voice tirelessly delivered a 24/7 broadcast of variations on the theme that this Course was a fraud. By all “objective” measures my life had gone to hell under its much lauded teacher’s watch. But I could still save myself, turn this downward spiral around, if I would just step away forever from this freaking, battered, big, blue book and its nonsensical ravings!  I know!

As the ego’s “propaganda for itself” droned on and the self I still see in the mirror’s split mind’s tremors continued to rock and roll like faults in the earth’s crust losing their ever-tenuous grip, I reluctantly considered my upcoming obligation to lead the weekly gathering at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center here in Denver (where Course teachers take turns speaking each Sunday), turned (for reasons blessedly beyond my conscious recollection) to workbook lesson 186: “Salvation of the world depends on me,” and read these amusing words:

“Let us not fight our function. We did not establish it. It is not our idea. The means are given us by which it will be perfectly accomplished. All that we are asked to do is to accept our part in genuine humility, and not deny with self-deceiving arrogance that we are worthy. What is given us to do; we have the strength to do. Our minds are suited perfectly to take the part assigned to us by One who Knows us well.” (Paragraph 2)

I had heard Ken Wapnick talk many times about Course Scribe Helen Schucman and collaborator Bill Thetford complaining (fairly early on in the Course’s scribing) about the difficulty (impossibility?) of actually living this Course. Accepting our shared (and only real) function of forgiveness of what never was. Learning to question and take responsibility for all our grievances projected outward to prove we actually exist apart from wholeness but it’s not our fault, it’s ___________’s.

Ultimately learning through daily practice to lay our selfishness, our neediness, our endless, elaborate competitions for innocence aside, one illusion at a time, by joining with Jesus’ healed perception that sees only our common need to remember our union in God and return to the undifferentiated love of our true nature. That knows beyond all shadows of doubt, all swirling clouds of guilt, that nothing we have ever dreamed up could change our creator’s love for us, our love for each other, or our uninterrupted eternal union.

As Jesus (the Course’s symbol for the part of our mind that never took the “tiny, mad idea” of separation seriously) told Helen and Bill, and patiently repeats in this lesson, we (the decision-making mind) can learn anything we choose to. After all, we dreamed up an entire world complete with its own creation myth involving wresting ourselves away from our parent and projecting the sinful, guilty thought of it out into a universe of fragmented forms. And then choosing a body to hang out in to defend against a constant barrage of attacks perpetrated by other bodies also hell-bent on proving they pulled off the impossible. And must now defend themselves from everyone and everything while seeking (and never finding) substitutes for real, all-inclusive love in other bodies.

We have taught ourselves a self-concept of solitary, stranded helplessness even though nothing outside our mind has the power to take our peace away, and, in truth, we are never alone, still seamlessly joined as one. We are not weak, but strong, not vulnerable bodies but invulnerable mind! Just what I need to teach and learn, I thought, perusing the lesson with renewed hope.

Although access to my inner teacher had seemed temporarily blocked, here he was again; reaching out from the very pages of his big blue, book with the only remedy I really needed for the aforementioned litany of issues that seemed to have rocked my world. I read the lesson over a couple times, restored by our fearless leader’s faith in us. Reminded again that Jesus has never flunked a student, even though a few of us end up fairly regularly on academic probation.

But the night before the Sunday gathering I awoke in the wee hours, my head and neck in a vice, stomach rumbling, consumed by waves of nausea and chills, unable to go back to sleep and afraid Ibuprofen would only exacerbate the situation. I practiced the finger mudras for headache, nausea, and immunity my yoga teacher had taught me, deeply inhaling and exhaling full-body breaths designed to calm the nervous system.

At dawn, I rose and sipped water infused with peppermint oil and ginger tea, pressed cold washcloths to my burning forehead and temples, nibbled at a piece of dry toast, and kept reaching for my inner teacher’s hand again, despite his apparent desertion. Severely doubting my ability to stand, let alone, speak and teach, I tried calling three other Course teachers at the RMMC to see if I could switch Sundays with them, but no one answered. Seemingly without a choice, I unsteadily showered, dressed, and drove to the nearby center.

Warmly greeted by a fellow student and friend, I explained my situation, willingness to give it a shot, but grave doubts about the outcome. Buoyed by her compassion and the support of a couple other early arrivals, I made my way to the chair in the library where I also taught each Tuesday night, sipped the ginger tea I’d brought from home, chatted robotically to the students around me, and fought off a growing panic that I could not rely on my own faculties (whatever the hell that meant) even a tiny, little bit this morning. I could barely focus on the title of the lesson I intended to cover, let alone its message. If salvation of the world depended on me, Susan, we were going to hell in a hand basket (whatever the hell that meant, too!).

At 11 a.m. I called and motioned for those standing in the back to come join us and explained my predicament. I told them I would do my best. I resigned as my own teacher, and asked them to join with our inner teacher that we might hear the healing message of true forgiveness, in which only our common interest to return home prevails, together. And I realized at a deeper level than ever before that clinging to my fear of how I would “perform” “my” duty to lead our study today was keeping me in hell. And so I had no choice but to let that special story go, confident that however sickening things might turn out in form, it had nothing to do with the strength and love each seeming one of us in this room (and so far beyond our wild imaginings) shared.

I started speaking, addressing the lesson, its message that our ability to remember the power of our decision-making mind to choose again in every seeming moment for truth, love, and strength over lies, specialness, and helplessness cannot fail. I don’t know what I said, but was aware of a calm, certain voice that sounded like mine carrying on. My pain and other symptoms did not abate (in fact, at times, they seemed worse), but they also did not interfere. And I sensed a heretofore unknown softness in the room, a welling up of gratitude for the kindness of those around me, a blurring of needs and roles, a welcome release from responsibility for anything but focusing on that calm, certain voice; our shared willingness to hear and heal.

My symptoms did not abate, but my need for them to did. My identification with them did. My very “myness” did. And then our hour together was over, although I knew in a way so much deeper than heart, skin, and bone; that we could never be apart. I thanked them, drove home, and went to bed.

“There is one way, and only one, to be released from the imprisonment your plan to prove the false is true has brought to you. Accept the plan you did not make instead. Judge not your value to it. If God’s Voice assures you that salvation needs your part, and that the whole depends on you, be sure that it is so. The arrogant must cling to words, afraid to go beyond them to experience which might affront their stance. Yet are the humble free to hear the Voice which tells them what they are, and what to do.” (Paragraph 5)

 

THE FOUNDATION FOR A COURSE IN MIRACLES has begun live streaming of its classes! Although I could not attend the streaming event, live, I purchased the January seminar, The Death of Specialness Is Not Your Death, and was able to watch it over the next two weeks. Jeff and Loral did superb job and, as always, it seemed exactly what I needed to hear! For more information on upcoming classes and streaming events, go to: http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx

I am offering a workshop, “The Parent-Child Relationship: Transcending Guilt, Blame, and Need, at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center February 21, 2015: You’ll find more information here: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ParentsAndChildren-RMMCworkshop-21Feb2015.pdf  Please EMAIL ME AT sadugan@gmail.com ASAP if you’d like to register!

I’m honored to also be presenting “The Parent-Child Relationship: Transcending Guilt Blame and Need,” https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events#Portland2015  at the invitation of Jim Peterson in Portland, Oregon, March 28, 2015. Register here before February 20th and receive the discounted price!  http://www.alchemical-transformation-guidance.com/SusanDuganWorkshop2014.html

As you may know, this subject is so very close to my heart, practice, and writing. It continues to offer a huge classroom for me, both with my daughter and my elderly parents and father-in-law. The parent-child relationship is our earliest (and longest-lasting) experience of the special relationship and offers a powerful opportunity for healing our mind about our belief in separation and remembering our shared interest in returning Home.. The workshop is appropriate for parents dealing with their children of any age and grown children of any age dealing with their parents.

 LATEST AUDIO: 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 new 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!)

Jim Peterson has just published a book, Wisdom Rising, about his journey in learning to connect with an unwaveringly kind-to-all part of our mind l http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Rising-Writings-Directed-Living/dp/1499630360/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417449653&sr=1-1&keywords=wisdom+rising, useful tools he has discovered in his spiritual quest, and his inspiring poetry. 

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. Wonderful musings, as always; thanks! 🙂 Problematic projections: aren’t they all? Except when we hand them back to our Inner Kindness Teacher for de-interpretation. 🙂 Lots of other great reminders in this essay… Such as “My symptoms did not abate, but my need for them to did. My identification with them did. My very ‘myness’ did.” That’s actually a helpful pun for what ego seems to be (by it’s own flawed, polarized assessment… A big fat MINUS, when in truth, it’s just a whole lotta NUTHIN going on. 🙂

Speak Your Mind

*