The choice for completion

bay(Just back from helping my daughter relocate to Seattle following her May college graduation and a family vacation and still processing the bittersweet transition happening for us these last few weeks as the roles we play in this dream of life change. In the meantime, I thought I’d post this excerpt from my new book, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness, that speaks to the heart of our special relationships, and how our inner teacher helps us transform what we have made to hurt to heal. Happy summer! :))

“In looking at the special relationship, it is necessary first to realize that it involves a great amount of pain. Anxiety, despair, guilt, and attack all enter into it, broken into by periods in which they seem to be gone. All these must be understood for what they are. Whatever form they take, they are always an attack on the self to make the other guilty. …” (A Course in Miracles text, Chapter 16, V. The Choice for Completion, paragraph 1)

I sat in his office in front of his desk, still processing the confounding events of the last 48 hours, including the eventual recognition that seemed to have instantly propelled me back to this chair in the classroom of the mind. Following a particularly consuming, harrowing episode in the dream in which I had once more experienced myself completely at the mercy of a special relationship, who, from my perspective, had failed to deliver on his end of what the Course calls our “special relationship bargains.”

My imaginary Jesus, in signature nubby robes and sandals, sat humoring me, as always; bless his forever-beating heart.  I hadn’t seen him since Saturday morning when, alone in my kitchen, inexplicably filled to the brim with love for all sentient and insentient beings while blasting the song You Get What You Give by the New Radicals, he popped right in to join in the festivities. I handed him another invisible microphone and we sang, more like screaming, really, in the best possible way, at the top of our lungs. “You’ve got the music in you!”

For several days prior, I had not (I am sorry to report) had the music in me, instead siding with the discordant inner teacher of special love gone missing in the form of my cherished daughter off at college. I’d been feeling the hollow ache of her absence again. A more pronounced, cavernous version this year in which—understandably and rightly more involved in the whirlwind of campus life–she wasn’t visiting on breaks, often crashing here with her friends, the way she had freshman year. I’d been asking for help in seeing this differently through the wacky, pink, right-minded shades of you know who to no avail when, suddenly, blasting this CD collection my daughter had burned for me as a birthday gift a few years back, I felt the music in me welling up again, the mistaken sense of lack eternally filled. Bathed and enveloped once more in the memory of that same old forgotten song that, in truth, has never stopped playing in anyone, the hymn of our forever supported, completed, loving, undifferentiated union.

One of the less observed (but nonetheless truly endearing qualities) of hanging out with Jesus? It offers all the benefits of being alone, without feeling alone. By that I mean you can do anything you freaking please, go as wild and goofball as you wish, with absolutely no fear of being mocked. In fact, he didn’t miss a beat, now, as I continued to belt out the lyrics, jumping up and down and all around the room like someone, well, his age.

Afterwards, I had him help with the dinner I was preparing for two dear women friends coming over that night, the Mario Batali turkey meatball and Martha Stewart spaghetti sauce recipes I had chosen, the latter of which I couldn’t resist tweaking by adding white wine and extra chopped basil. Because, I mean, who better to indulge an underlying authority problem with than Martha Stewart?  Or, well, Jesus, for that matter.

When we’d finished, I took him to my tai chi class and had to laugh watching him stumble around, secretly thrilled to have found such a good-sported, if invisible foil, someone worse at this practice than me!

I paused in my reverie, sighed.

Jesus continued to fiddle with the little snow globe I’d given him for Christmas that never failed to crack him up.

I snapped my fingers. “Pay attention,” I said. “This is important.”

He did his best to look serious but, frankly, acting (unlike singing and dancing), is no more his forte than Tai chi. He cleared his throat. “And then?” he asked.

“And then we drove home,” I resumed, remembering.

And I found myself feeling victimized again, this time in the form of an absence of expected communication from  another special relationship who appeared to have completely disregarded me anew, leaving me feeling once more unloved and, in rightful retaliation, unloving. I will spare you the gory details that, in retrospect, make no real sense at all. Suffice it to say, the joy of my time spent playing with the inner robed marvel, hearing and singing and dancing to the tune of that forgotten song, must have scared the crap out of the part of me that clings to the coveted IV of my special identity. Because I found myself  suddenly alone again, stranger in a strange and threatening land within a dream of exile of my own making, fighting to reinforce and defend the terms of my special relationship bargain and longing to punish its perceived violator.

“The special love relationship is the ego’s most boasted gift, and one which has the most appeal to those unwilling to relinquish guilt. The ‘dynamics’ of the ego are clearest here, for counting on the attraction of this offering, the fantasies that center around it are often quite overt. Here they are usually judged to be acceptable and even natural. No one considers it bizarre to love and hate together, and even those who believe that hate is sin merely feel guilty, but do not correct it. …” (From paragraph 3)

I spent the next 36 hours indulging my persecution fantasies, spinning my case, engaging others to agree with me, now and then asking for help to see myself and this person through the robed- marvel-seemingly-gone AWOL’s right-minded shades, but unwilling to relinquish the self-righteousness required, despite the unbearable pain of clinging to having things my way.

“It is in the special relationship, born of the hidden wish for special love from God, that the ego’s hatred triumphs. For the special relationship is the renunciation of the Love of God, and the attempt to secure for the self the specialness that He denied. It is essential to the preservation of the ego that you believe this specialness is not hell, but Heaven. For the ego would never have you see that separation could only be loss, being the one condition in which Heaven could not be.” (Paragraph 4)

By the time I actually conversed in form with the object of my projection, the pain was too great to hold onto anymore. Although my mind on ego made several runs at blame, a part of me could not help but recognize that attempting to have this person behave the way I wanted, honor my special needs, had and never would bring me the sustainably peaceful, joyful love I was really seeking. Trying to steal the love I was looking for and believed I lacked from another dream figure never had or would work. We continued to talk, our differences apparent but, our need to change each other somehow disarmed. I wasn’t exactly happily wrong. But I wasn’t unhappy, either, just willing to let the hurt go.

And then, standing there speaking with this other person I heard the phrase, “you are my fear of God.” And stood, momentarily breathless from awareness that I’d been using this relationship in one form or another for probably a gazillion lifetimes to prove I exist but it’s not my fault. To prove love had failed me (to cover the belief that I had failed it) through my decision to experience individuality and get away with it by burying the guilt in him. Only this time around, the other body refused to play the game. I had used that refusal for so many years to imprison myself, to nurture my guilt and fear and feed my bitterness, but now I saw it offered  my way out of prison, the open door I’d been looking for as long as I could remember, since the dawn of illusory time.

“Whenever any form of special relationship tempts you to seek for love in ritual, remember love is content, and not form of any kind. The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at raising the form to take the place of God at the expense of content. There is no meaning in form, and there will never be. …” (From paragraph 12)

“This year is thus the time to make the easiest decision that ever confronted you, and also the only one. You will cross the bridge into reality simply because you will recognize that God is on the other side, and nothing at all is here. It is impossible not to make the natural decision as this is realized.”  (Paragraph 17)

You are my fear of God, I thought, only you’re not here, and neither am I. Nothing ever happened to divide us. Not the moment we chose to believe we were other than one with God and each other, not in all these lifetimes spent acting out that belief, and not now. Using this relationship to prove my innocence by limiting love has never worked. But using it to release me from the bondage of this special relationship bargain made to uphold the lie that exclusion from real love is possible—dropping all my doomed-to-failure-anyway needs for you to be or act a certain way to make me feel safe, withdrawing the power I have given you to in any way affect my inner peace or our continuing connection—will.

We talked a while more, reaching no real agreements, forming no new bargains, and yet, somehow, it seemed, each feeling heard. Peace not of this external world’s bottomless neediness, born of the freedom available when we recognize only our sameness, washed over me.

“And then,” Jesus, whispered, smiling, even though he knew.

“And then, I was here again. Right here with you.”

“Ah.” He handed me the tissues.

I dabbed at my eyes.

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

“You usually do.”

“They grow up so soon.”

“Ha!”

“One more question?”

“Anything.”

“Could I get a commitment from you?”

“A commitment?”

“Yeah, I mean, this on again, off again thing is killing me.”

He threw back his head and laughed.

I had to laugh, too. There was really nothing else whatsoever in this whole seeming world left to do.

In this new video Bruce Rawles and I discuss themes from my new book, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vEbI3jH8Sk 

Here’s a new audio http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=B03288D7-26B9-4187-863B924A27E22730 I did May 28th with CA Brooks, 12Radio, on workbook lesson 155, “I will step back and let him lead the way.

My new book, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness, is available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.

Here’s the book description:

In Forgiveness: The Key to HappinessSusan Dugan continues to recount her personal journey in learning to change the purpose of our relationships from rooting ourselves more deeply in a childish dream of separation, to growing up to accept our shared interest in remembering the uninterrupted, eternal love of our true nature. Her deeply poignant, entertaining essays explore how to really live the teachings of A Course in Miracles, learning to view our lives as a classroom in which we encounter a better way of relating to each other through the inner teacher of forgiveness instead of sin, guilt, and fear. By making our relationship with our inner teacher the most important thing, we discover how to honor the power of everyone’s decision-making mind by connecting with our own, recognizing our own mind in need of healing in our desire to fix, change, and control others. Ultimately realizing, through moment-to-moment practice, how to relate to all there is from a healed perspective beyond guilt, blame, and need.

Reviews

“There is no doubt in my mind that Susan Dugan is going to burn to a crisp in hell for this book!”
– The ego, best-selling author of, well, that would be Everything! 

“This book cracks me up!”
– Jesus, author of the Indie sleeper, Seriously?

(Many of these selected and heavily edited–occasionally completely rewritten–essays first appeared temporarily as drafts on my blog at ForaysInForgiveness.com. Read consecutively, they reflect another leg in my seeming journey home through practicing A Course in Miracles’ extraordinary forgiveness of what never was in the ordinary “classroom” of my daily life.) 

If you read the book and find it helpful, please consider recommending it to your Course-student friends and posting a brief review on Amazon!

 

RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE FOUNDATION FOR A COURSE IN MIRACLES:

June Live Streamed Half-Day Seminar

The Foundation has recently changed its Live Streaming service provider resulting in a vastly improved viewing experience. If you are unable to attend the June 13 Half-Day Seminar in person, please join us online as this class is also being Live Streamed.

 

Seven Additional Downloadable MP4 Titles Now Available

The following titles are now available as MP4 downloads from our Online Bookstore. It has been reported to us that some MAC users have had an additional “.epub” extension added to their MP4 download. Simply rename the file by deleting this added extension.

 

The Happy Dream

The Inner Voice

“A Light of Laughing Flowers”: An Advanced Teacher of God

The Meaning of the Holy Instant

The Golden Thread of Hope

“Peace to Such Foolishness!”

The Transformed World

 

CD and MP3-CD Sale

The Foundation is offering twenty-five titles of our CD and MP3 CD sets at a 40% discount through the month of June. (Downloadable MP3s are not included.) These are different titles than previously offered in April and May. Please click here to find a listing of titles with links to the products included in this sale.

 

New ePub Release
From The Lighthouse, Volume Three

The final volume (Volume Three) of the three-volume anthology of articles written by Kenneth and Gloria Wapnick is now available here.

 

English Language Books on Sale

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

 

Spanish Language Books
by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick

Browse through the sixteen titles of our Spanish language books, which are currently on sale for 20% off the retail price.

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My Interviews page has been revised to make it easier to find and access interviews with Ken Wapnick and others including Gloria Wapnick, and FACIM staff teachers.

HALF-HOUR, FORTY-FIVE MINUTE, OR HOUR-LONG ACIM MENTORING SESSIONS 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 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!)

My good friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles, author of The Geometry Code, 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 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 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 including recorded talks available for purchase or free download.

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 School of Reason website to receive information about upcoming classes.

My previous ACIM essay collections, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want and Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness  are available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. If you read and find any of these books helpful, I would greatly appreciate you posting a brief (a sentence or two is fine) review on Amazon.

 

Comments

  1. You nailed the crazy heart of our insane ego’s secret dread which we project onto ‘others’: “you are my fear of God.” Yet all we have to do is look – without condemnation – at our inner cruelty teacher’s abysmal-yet nothing abyss of “seek but never find” dysfunctional dream dialogue and choose again against such silliness! Thanks for the reminder to keep practicing until I see clearly there is no value whatsoever in that masochistic practice, but infinite treasure in shared interests, seen by letting go of special attachments to specific outcomes, the dysfunctional dirge of dualistic demonizing. 🙂

  2. Thank YOU, Bruce! 🙂

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