The quiet center

120px-pia19339-mostluminousgalaxy-wise-j224607-57-052635-0-20150521“You’ve gone pretty minimalist, I see,” I said, taking in the glowing, spherical space in which I found myself, attempting to make light of it. Despite the fact that it took every ounce of my once-upon-a-dream legendary restraint to keep from flinging myself into his outstretched arms. After all, I’d almost given up on finding those clear, certain eyes, that je-ne-c’est-quoi smile of his, again.

All summer long, as one startling, riveting dream sequence after another appeared to rock my world, rooting me ever more deeply into the sordid soil of my unconscious guilt over the belief in separation, the decision-making mind outside the dream the Course alludes to seemed but an ancient enemy. I couldn’t seem to locate my inner professor, however half-heartedly I occasionally tried to extract myself from my hallucinations’ hold to hunt him down.

I’d only recently discovered I’d been looking for him in the wrong place. He had apparently abandoned his former office in the ivy-adorned, brick building in which I’d imagined visiting him for years. After repeated, stymied attempts to locate it at all, I’d finally found the building boarded up, decaying, as if vacated long, long ago; the surrounding campus grounds overgrown with vegetation, reclaimed by the North Country woods from which they’d once been painstakingly wrested as triumphant proof of man over nature. (Game over, man—yikes!)

That’s when I got really scared. After all, I’d yelled at him at one point a while back; I’d never gone that far before. “Read him the riot act,” (as my mother used to say and frequently demonstrate) as I sat in my parked car outside the doctor’s office, pounding on the steering wheel like a thwarted two-year-old in frustration. Why had my inner teacher abandoned me? Hadn’t I done everything he’d asked? Tried as hard as a person who still believes the woman she sees grimly staring back at her in the mirror every morning is all she has left could possibly be expected to. What had I done to deserve his defection? And could he possibly forgive me for the string of highly unenlightened words that had just fired, as if of their own volition, torpedo-like from the apparent hostage of my mouth.

He smiled now, as if reading my thoughts, motioning with his fingers like grand piano keys for me to come and sit beside him as I continued to puzzle over how I’d suddenly found myself inside this hollow room with no visible doors—open or closed—to rap on, at last. No doors, no desk, no chairs, no worn, woven carpets, no book shelves groaning beneath the weight of accumulated, worldly knowledge.  No beveled windows through which to observe the first sepia tinge of autumn, the ruffled crisping of the linden leaves. Enveloped by a light that seemed to contain all possible colors within it, a haunting hum into which my whole being involuntarily relaxed.  Enabling me to breathe; I mean, really, finally breathe!

I joined him, cross-legged, on a surface neither hard nor soft that seemed to spontaneously conform to the contours of the body I still think I am, perfectly supporting my weight. “So, you just up and decided to move,” I said, after a while, afraid to look at him. Afraid to let him see how scared I’d been. “Change jobs. Without notifying your students?”

“Why are we whispering?” he whispered back.

I leaned toward him. “I don’t want her to hear us.”

“Who?” he asked.”

“My decision-maker.”

His brows shot up the way they do.

“She’s been a whack job all summer,” I explained. “If she gets a whiff of me here at peace with you even for a nanosecond, there’s no telling what she’ll do next.”

“We’ve talked about this,” he said.

“What hologram was that in?” I asked. “But seriously, you have no idea what’s been going on down there while you were off on your little summer junket.”

He tilted his head; continued to smile. “I’m here now,” he said.

He had a point. He always does. I knew I should fill him in, look with him at all that still seemed so frightening and threatening that I might finally see it as it really was and not the way I’d set it up, but where to begin? I drew another deep breath and sighed. It didn’t really matter, I decided, and told him about visiting my daughter in Seattle in mid-June. How I’d been missing her so again, thinking that visiting would solve that ache within, only to discover that however wonderful it was to see and touch her, to hear her voice and lilting laugh, it really didn’t solve the problem of emptiness we all walk around with as fugitives from real love. Never had and never would.

I told him about the call from my husband while there with news of his elderly father’s sudden death en route to breakfast at the independent living facility he’d lived in since we moved him to Denver five years ago following my mother-in-law’s sudden death. About emptying out his apartment (we had only three months ago downsized him to) at the facility afterwards, about the extravagant, New Orleans-style funeral celebration of his life that had begun in that wild Southern city that we went on to host in our yard a few weeks later.

I told him about the “very atypical” and thankfully very minor heart attack I’d experienced apparently as a result of high blood pressure over the Fourth of July weekend. The way in which I’d vaguely sensed his abstract presence with me in the ER, cardiac unit, and during the cardiac cathertization that fortunately found no arterial blockages requiring stents. How I felt compelled to join with the nurses, technicians, and physicians attending to my body’s care even when I didn’t really agree with some of their decisions or conclusions about my treatment. How my fear for the fate of my body spontaneously took a back seat to my trust in a safety not of this world, the sense of loneliness that came and went over the next 48 hours of uncertainty assuaged by an uncanny sense of closeness to the strangers around me. Patients and practitioners, all in the same boat here, really. All terrified they will never find their way home. All desperately struggling to stave off the inevitable code blue, solve an essentially non-existent problem where it is not.

I told him about the overwhelming fear that set in later during follow-up doctor’s visits and recommendations, about visiting lifelong friends who’d relocated to a lovely, Spanish Colonial city, artists’ and expat community in the mountains of Mexico in early August, where I immediately developed a recurrence of the diverticulitis I’d first experienced eight years ago. How the language barrier resulted in inadequate treatment that prevented a medical emergency requiring surgery but did nothing to allay the excruciating symptoms. How hard I tried anyway to socialize with my dear friends during a week-long itinerary of festivities. I told him about the two-week multi-antibiotic and dietary regimen back in Denver that finally corrected the condition and feeling terribly victimized much of the time, unable to find him.

“Is that when you lost it with me?” he asked.

“Somewhere in there,” I said, still afraid to meet his eyes. “Sorry about that.”

“No problemo,” he said, smiling. “Sounds like a pretty bad string of dreams.”

I nodded. “But I think I know what you’re really saying,” I said, because, I suddenly did. “Even though I couldn’t find you in your office,” I began, “even though it seemed like you had flown the coop, you must have been right there with me. There in the moment I realized that however much I loved my daughter it would never replace the love I think I lost and deserved to, for example. There during the planning and execution of my father-in-law’s celebration and my husband’s emotional volatility, in the ER and cardiac unit and again in Mexico where I also found myself “making it about them,” as Ken Wapnick used to say. Taking that purpose more seriously than my fear and pain. There, even in the long weeks during which I turned away and tuned you out in my fear, and even the day I yelled at you and it had no effects on our relationship at all.”

He nodded. “Flown the coop?” he said, after a while, eyes dancing.

I sighed, smiled.

“Do you think you can look at me again now?” he asked, after a while.

I turned toward him and there he was, still. There I was, there we all were, forever together, alive, aloft, loved. I had to look away again pretty quickly, but still, I knew.

“Did I mention my husband ate the perfectly bulging, Purple Cherokee heirloom tomato, the only one to survive the flea beetles that got the  rest of our fruit, right out of the still life I just set up to work on this morning for my drawing class?” I asked, in my normal voice. No need to whisper anymore. The decision maker really wasn’t up there somewhere messing with me, after all. I had decided to see that now.

“No way!” he said, shaking his head.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” I agreed. “Meanwhile … I don’t suppose you’ve been following the U.S. presidential race?”

He started to laugh out loud then; and who the hell could blame him? From wherever the hell we were right now, it did seem pure slapstick comedy, without the vaguest hint of looming disaster.

I threw back my head and laughed, too.

“Love always answers, being unable to deny a call for help, or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it from every part of this strange world you made but do not want. All that you need to give this world away in glad exchange for what you did not make is willingness to learn the one you made is false.” (A Course in Miracles Chapter 13, VII. paragraph 4, lines 3-4)

“Christ is still there, although you know him not. His Being does not depend upon your recognition. He lives within you in the quiet present, and waits for you to leave the past behind and enter into the world He holds out to you in love.” (A Course in Miracles Chapter 13, VII. paragraph 5, lines 7-9)

“To do anything involves the body. And if you recognize you need do nothing you have withdrawn the body’s value from your mind. Here is the quick and open door through which you slip past centuries of effort and escape from time. This is the way in which sin loses all attraction right now. For here is time denied, and past and future gone.” (A Course in Miracles Chapter 18, VII. paragraph 7, lines 1-4)

“Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. From this center you will be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this center from which the body is absent that will keep it so in your awareness of it.” (Paragraph 8)

(My contemplation of “the quiet center” in this essay also reminded me of this video of Ken Wapnick’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIpxFB3JliY and this 2010 interview I did with him https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/the-quiet-center-an-interview-with-ken-wapnick.  :))  

I’m delighted to be participating once more in Miracle Share annual virtual conference, October 21st-23rd. This year’s topic is “Healing All Relationships,” which means choosing to heal our mind about the only relationship truly in need of healing within every frightened heart: our relationship with our all-loving inner teacher through whom we remember our only real, uninterrupted relationship with God. Danielle Scruton and I will address the topic of “Healing Our Mind about the Parent-Child Relationship,” a subject close to both of our hearts and at the center of our classrooms that we also addressed all too briefly in a webinar last January. You can hear our recorded conversation and join us for the Q & A session, while also availing yourselves of a weekend chock full of presentations about A Course in Miracles’ view of healing by many different teachers (including Bruce Rawles and Cindy Lora-Renard) by signing up here: http://www.miracleshareconference.org/?ap_id=sadugan

Schedule individual MENTORING sessions here: 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. 

Susan’s mentoring sessions provide valuable support in our forgiveness practice from a Course student and teacher deeply committed to awakening through learning and living true forgiveness. While keenly aware of our resistance to Jesus’ loving message from first-hand experience, she remains faithful to opening her heart to the Course’s universal answer for all frightened hearts and to sharing her ongoing learning and growing trust with kindred faithful, but sometimes frightened and confused, fellow students.

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!)

I’ll be participating in a 6-week series of classes during the Sunday gathering at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center, 10/16-11/20, 11 a.m., on the “What Is?” questions in the second part of A Course in Miracles’ workbook. Here’s a link to all the information: http://www.schoolforacourseinmiracles.org/5641-2/  If you’re in the Denver metro area, please join us!

 

Foundation for A Course in Miracles Announcements

Programs through December 2016

Please view our latest Temecula Schedule page https://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx   to see the Seminars and Academy classes, including Live Streaming of the classes, currently scheduled through December 2016.
You can register for upcoming live and streamed classes (AND GET THE NEW SCHEDULE) taught by the amazingly gifted Foundation for A Course in Miracles teaching staff; who continue to communicate Ken’s teachings with such clarity and grace, here: https://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx. I really can’t recommend these classes more highly! Rosemarie LoSasso and Jeff Seibert continue to gently encourage us to bring the darkness of all we’ve dreamt up to hurt us (whenever we’re choosing to feel victimized and justified in victimizing others) to the light of the part of every mind that knows only our shared innocence and need to find our way home. Their classes offer us a safe, non-judgmental “space” above the battleground in which to allow the healing of our frightened minds. (And often laugh a lot, too! :))

Latest Audio Releases

The Foundation is pleased to offer two previously unreleased audio titles by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick. The first of these is a five-CD set entitled ” ‘A Hawk from a Handsaw; Discerning the Holy Spirit,” recorded in 2010, and the second is a three-CD set entitled ” The Godspot: Spirit or Body,” recorded in 2006. Both titles are also available as MP3 CDs and MP3 Downloads. (I’ve listened to these CDs and will be revisiting them again and again. Ken’s certain, reassuring presence and illuminating clarity has never shone brighter!)

Super Inventory Sale

We are continuing to clear out the warehouse of all printed books as we make the transition to electronic books. After the current supply of books is sold, the books will not be reprinted, and will be available only in digital download format.

You may view all of the books currently on sale here. Please note that some orders may take up to two weeks to ship after the order is received.

Closeout of Single DVDs
Classes on the Text of A Course in Miracles
Classes on the Manual of A Course in Miracles

Single DVDs of the Classes on the Text and the Classes on the Manual are now available for $3.00 each. This sale is restricted to the stock on hand, which is very, very limited. You can view the DVDs of the Classes on the Text here, beginning with the Introduction through Chapter 31. The DVDs of the Classes on the Manual can be viewed here, beginning with Volume 1 through Volume 10.

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Here’s a NEW AUDIO I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, in which we talk about the importance of catching our unkind thoughts and judgments and looking at them with the part of our mind that sees no differences and makes no comparisons … even while watching the news! http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=584A85D9-26B9-4187-86B672216F9D08E7

Here’s a RECENT VIDEO I did with Bruce Rawles, discussing Section 16 of The Manual for Teachers: “How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgHjOcxzrwg&feature=youtu.be

And a RECENT AUDIO I did with CA Brooks, 12 Radio, on Changing the Purpose of the Body from Prison to Classroom: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=C936F436-26B9-4187-862BC523BC16D778, and another on what it means to go “above the battleground” (ACIM Text 23, Section IV) http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=13D9C907-26B9-4187-86F1370A394E8755

MY LATEST BOOK, FORGIVENESS: THE KEY TO HAPPINESS, remains DISCOUNTED on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Happiness-Susan-A-Dugan/dp/0983742022 , along with my second book in the forgiveness series, FORGIVENESS OFFERS EVERYTHING I WANThttp://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Offers-Everything-I-Want/dp/0983742014/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=07RKZW8SHE2RNC209A2D

In this RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss A Course in Miracles lesson 190: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPqUpNmAmG0

Here’s a RECENT AUDIO I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, on ACIM workbook lesson 101: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness” and 102: “I share God’s will for happiness for me.” http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=16BFF184-26B9-4187-86DD07743FBB7355  You’d think we’d like to hear that God’s will for us is perfect happiness, but we can’t possibly believe that and also believe we attacked God and threw his love away.  Following our inner Teacher’s path of true forgiveness begins to dissolve the guilt in our mind, teaching us that it was just silly to believe we could oppose God’s will and create a separate one. Allowing us to gradually accept that we deserve the happiness we share within God’s presence and could never really destroy. Here’s a NEW AUDIO I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, on

The Denver-based School for A Course in Miracles (formerly the School of Reason), an A Course-in-Miracles teaching organization, has a beautiful new website: http://www.schoolforacourseinmiracles.org/, with information on great new and ongoing classes based on Ken Wapnick’s teachings.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Center for A Course in Miracles http://www.centerforacourseinmiracles.org/index.html, is an educational Center whose focus is to teach what A Course in Miracles says, address common misunderstandings, and help students develop a relationship with their internal Teacher, inspired and guided by the teachings of the late Dr. Kenneth Wapnick.

The Interviews page on my forays website been revised to make it easier to find and access interviews with Ken Wapnick and others including Gloria Wapnick, and FACIM staff teachers.

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

My good friend and fellow Course student, teacher, and author Bruce Rawles 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. 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.

 

 

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