Seeing Purple

(First published this essay two years ago but it seems just as appropriate  today as we approach the elections!)

“You do not offer God your gratitude because your bother is more slave than you, nor could you sanely be enraged if he seems freer. Love makes no comparisons. And gratitude can only be sincere if it be joined to love. We offer thanks to God our Father that in us all things will find their freedom. It will never be that some are loosed while others still are bound. For who can bargain in the name of love?” (A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 195, from paragraph 4)

purple hazeI stood at the base of a stranger’s sloping driveway in an unfamiliar, outlying Denver neighborhood dotted with ranch homes and undulating lawns reminiscent of the community I grew up in, long ago and far away. Another place and time altogether and yet, I had been walking precincts like this—earnestly, at times fervently, defiantly, even–knocking on doors in the name of one just cause or another for most of my life. But this presidential election felt different somehow and not just because I’d been deployed to a part of town with a much more suburban, circa 1960s vibe.

Juggling the clipboard, pen, and a stack of long, bulky campaign door-hangers brandishing a compelling close-up of President Obama and information on the nearest polling center, I struggled to organize pages of addresses fluttering in the light breeze. A sun still high and hopeful in the sky, trees still clinging to the last of their burnished cargo, and temperatures in the low 70s propelled me back four years to another presidential election day, walking another precinct in my own University Park neighborhood.

Back then I’d been captivated by the possibility of the democrats claiming back the White House after eight bitter years of “enemy” rule, as well as the tantalizing prospect that a brilliant, compassionate, articulate man who happened to be African American might rescue our nation from its downward spiral. Miraculously mending divides at the same time, as if that could happen while I still harbored the thought of enemies in my heart, still cherished the illusion of my obvious rightness at the expense of their confounding wrong. There had been college students waving signs and singing that day, instilling faith in yet another generation, arousing in me the long dormant hippy child I once had been, traipsing after adults in her life to civil rights and antiwar rallies. I had come full circle, I mused, strains of We shall Overcome playing out in my head. Finally, after all this time, peace and justice would prevail.

I know. Although four years into practicing A Course in Miracles at the time during the previous presidential election, I had exempted my political life from my right mind’s review. While I continued practicing forgiveness of what never was in my personal relationships, at least learning to entertain the possibility that my happiness did not depend on other people in my life behaving according to my wishes, I had completely disassociated the Course’s forgiveness of the belief in separate interests in this particular venue.

A part of me realized I had a choice about whether or not to side with the ego’s story of separation realized played out so convincingly in the guise of an American electorate split down the middle over the nature, role, and direction of government. But I was still too invested in keeping what had been a huge part of my special identity for such a long time intact, convinced that withdrawing my dependence on this defense against truth would bring down the whole charade. Unconvinced I could live within its demolished remains.

But things had changed. This time around I at least recognized in my need to see the voice of “my people” prevail over “theirs” the same old problem. The same old preposterous assertion that our failure to laugh at the “tiny, mad idea” of fragmenting a oneness eternally joined as one had any real effects. This time around, the price I knew I would have to pay for siding with the belief of “our” rightness versus “their” wrongness was just too great. Sure, I had slipped into gluttonous frenzies—especially in social situations—of reveling in our differences. But the hangover was swift and painful enough to keep me largely focused on my real goal of experiencing an innocence not of this world by raising the real cause of my reactions to doubt, allowing the healing of my one split mind.

Then, too, this time around, I couldn’t help but claim the same fear, the same underlying yearning, the same earnest conviction driving the viewpoints and behaviors of those on the “other side” as my own. Couldn’t help but recognize the same call for love shared by everyone who walks this earth tired and alone, desperately trying to find their way home to a certain, loving safety they secretly believe they permanently squandered and no longer deserve. Foisting their guilt on chosen enemies in a futile effort to prove they exist at all-inclusive love’s expense but it’s not their fault. It’s the blue ones. It’s the red ones. It’s that “other” forty-seven percent responsible for the sorry state of this union–the mess of my life–that just refuses to see the light.

It’s really important that we begin to acknowledge with our right mind beside us how deeply invested we are in siding with our candidate, cause, viewpoint, and observe the many compelling reasons we use to justify our investment. It’s really important to recognize without judgment that even though the many reasons that led to our decision to support one or the other position appear perfectly logical and certainly, undeniably convincing from our frame of reference within the dream, outside the dream, where non-duality continues to reign, they make no sense whatsoever. And all we really want; have ever wanted, or could ever really want lies outside the dream.

As I walked up and down a maze of convoluted cul de sacs in search of often elusive seeming addresses and fellow citizens (aware that every vote counted in this widely and loudly predicted-to-be historically close race) a funny thing happened. Jesus (that symbol of our one awakened mind) appeared in stealth mode, apparently enveloped in his invisibility cloak again. Nonetheless his presence was clear. And for reasons beyond my understanding, the colors and names on the lawn signs ceased to have any real meaning for me. As I rang doorbells and talked with voters and scribbled on my clipboard I found myself astonished (dare I say flabbergasted) to discover all investment in the election’s outcome had abruptly vanished, replaced by a deep sense of tranquility and empathy for all.

The televised digital map of the United States imprinted from repeated exposure in my head complete with its blue-and-red coloring shaded to indicate democrat versus republican identification spontaneously transformed, the colors somehow blended into a stunning shade of purple; no longer mine or theirs, but ours.  In slow motion the color bled into the entire map, gently obliterating and uniting, city, county, and finally state boundaries as if—you know—we really were all on the same side!

“We thank our Father for one thing alone, that we are separate from no living thing, and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions can ever be made which would reduce our wholeness, nor impair or change our function to complete the One Who is Himself completion. We give thanks for every living thing, for otherwise we offer thanks for nothing, and we fail to recognize the gifts of God to us.”  (Paragraph 6)

Here’s a video conversation I had with Bruce Rawles the other day on this very subject of learning to look at the elections differently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtN0EYFBgQk&feature=youtu.be

Exciting news from the Foundation for A Course in Miracles!:

The Foundation is very pleased to announce the publication of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick’s long-awaited Journey through the Text of A Course in Miracles. As stated in the Preface, “…unlike the books on the workbook, manual for teachers, and “What It Says,” this book is not a line-by-line exegesis of the entire text. Rather, the material of each of the text’s thirty-one chapters is arranged symphonically by theme, the selected passages chosen to illustrate each theme.”

We are also offering a 40% off sale on thirteen English language printed books by Kenneth, which you can view here. Just look for the SALE sticker.

For those of you interested in downloadable MP3s, a listing of current titles just released is available on our Latest Releases page.

The Foundation will be presenting a 3-Day Academy class “Come with Wholly Empty Hands” from Sunday November 9 through Tuesday November 12. Staff members Jeffrey Seibert, Loral Reeves, and Rosemarie LoSasso will be teaching.

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles continues to offer illuminating classes taught by a talented, devoted, truly inspiring staff who shine with the light of living this work! I was so deeply moved and inspired by their presentations at the July and March academies I attended, and can’t wait to return for more! Check out all their current offerings including the Winter 2015 schedule here:  http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx

You’ll also find new releases from the Foundation’s bookstore here: https://www.facim.org/bookstore/t-latestreleases.aspx, the online bookstore here: https://www.facim.org/bookstore/, online learning aids here: https://www.facim.org/online-learning-aids.aspx, and questions on just about any topic Course students could dream up sanely, lovingly, and eloquently answered here: https://www.facim.org/online-learning-aids/question-answer.aspx

I’m honored to be presenting a workshop at the invitation of Jim Peterson in Portland, Oregon, in March 2015. The subject is close to my heart and A Course in Miracles forgiveness practice: “The Parent-Child Relationship: Transcending Guilt Blame and Need.” To find out more and register, please go to Jim’s site: http://www.alchemical-transformation-guidance.com/SusanDuganWorkshop2014.html  and/or check out my Classes/Events page: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events

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 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 below. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.)

Here’s a link to details about my ongoing Tuesday night class on the text here in Denver https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events beginning in May 2014.

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.

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