The unbearable heaviness of being

(Here’s another excerpt from my second A Course in Miracles essay collection, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want.)

The Friday before my daughter’s Spring Break we gathered to remember a 20-year-old college student who had been heading to California on holiday when her personal story abruptly and inexplicably ended. Rain turned to snow–and back again–as we headed with hundreds of family members, friends, and acquaintances to find seating in the back of a packed Lutheran church.

Beside me my daughter’s shoulders remained admirably straight as we watched the girl’s family proceed to their seats in the front pew. I squeezed my daughter’s hand but she did not return the pressure. She finds it difficult to accept comfort; always has. She likes to show the world just how strong she can be. I know that one. Just behind us, one of my daughter’s teachers choked back tears.

We stared at the photograph of a young girl with a winning smile standing on a beach, waves crashing behind her. We listened to her sister–my daughter’s classmate–sing the Dolly Parton song I Hope You’ll Dance, a heart-wrenching, courageous performance still replaying itself in my head. We listened to the girl’s church youth group, high school, and college friends describe her sense of humor, her zest for life, her energy, athleticism, and kindness. We read along with prayers and watched a video celebrating her life. We dabbed at our eyes and did our best not to sob. We did not even know this girl, only her younger sister, and yet like every human in that church we knew her story all too well.

The minister talked about how children are a gift. But he skirted the central question weighing on everyone’s mind, the question that never gets answered and rarely even asked in our experience here in the dream. What kind of father would take back a gift so soon? What kind of parent would give a gift that didn’t last in the first place? What kind of “gift” is this life anyway? A cruel gift which—regardless of length—always ends the same tragic way; always causes the same unbearable suffering in those left behind.

As we fought our way back to the car in the escalating snowstorm I took my daughter’s arm. She was wearing the same expression she had worn as a three-year-old listening to TV reports about Congressional efforts to cut programming for PBS children’s television. Brows furrowed; eyes narrowed, fists clenched; the tasty word “bad” on her tongue.

“I want you to know that God would never do that to someone,” I said, sitting in the car, staring straight ahead, longing to connect. “Not to those parents. Not to that child.”

I wanted her to know what I was learning in A Course in Miracles and beginning at least sometimes to actually believe. I wanted her to share in the only real hope we have in this world: that its story of seeking and never finding that ends in death is not our reality but a defense against the eternal, undivided, abiding love of our true nature. That beyond this world there is a world we want, a world we have turned our backs on in our fear and selfishness but can just as easily learn to embrace right here and now in the condition we think we’re in.

She broke down. “It’s just not right,” she sputtered.  “It doesn’t make any sense. I mean what kind of God? Why would …”

She didn’t know a whole lot about God. Despite a couple of years during her childhood in which we intermittently attended a Unity, Divine Science, and Protestant congregational church we were not a religious family. I had rejected my Catholic upbringing and my attempts to replace it with other organized religious paths left me feeling like a serial hypocrite. Mostly I had spoken to my daughter as a child about finding the God in her heart. A God I had always sensed we existed somehow within despite all evidence to the contrary in our human experience. I urged her to remember that she was a part of God and could always go within to the God in her heart for comfort and guidance. I had no idea whether any of it made sense or had taken. Even so, I reached for the God in my heart now.

I held her as she cried. I don’t know what I said but I know it came from a heart beyond this body because I lost track of my false self and hers, time and space as I spoke.  I could feel her relaxation in my own loosening limbs, accepting for a moment God’s real “gift,” the only true comfort available to us here; the memory of our one, whole mind that has never forsaken and will never forsake us. Despite our hallucination of banishment to a realm of mortality in which we obsessively reenact the original choice for individuality, casting our guilt over that alleged decision onto others to relieve ourselves of its crushing weight, continuing to push away the truth that the “tiny mad idea” of separation from our source never happened.

For one moment, face to face with the unbearable heaviness of being in this illusory world as seemingly demonstrated in a life cut short, we joined our mind with the incredible lightness of our true nature and were healed. Until our fear came boomeranging back and we went off to California for spring break, seeking for ourselves once again where we can never be found.


Foundation for A Course in Miracles Announcements

Latest Book

A Symphony of Love is an compilation of selected writings of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, including autobiographies, poetry, short stories, and articles.

Programs through March 2017

Please view our latest Temecula Schedule page   to see the Seminars and Academy classes, including Live Streaming of the classes, currently scheduled through March 2017.
(You can register for upcoming live and streamed classes taught by the amazingly gifted Foundation for A Course in Miracles teaching staff; who continue to communicate Ken’s work with such clarity and grace, here: 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! 🙂 NEW INTERVIEWS with Rosemarie LoSasso and Jeff Seibert coming to my site in 2017!)

Two NEW Audio Releases

MP3-CDs To Be Discontinued

The Foundation continues phasing out its MP3 CDs. The fourth grouping of MP3 CD titles to be discontinued can be viewed here. These titles are on sale at a 40% discount, and are available through February 28, 2017 only. Please note that all orders containing MP3-CDS will be shipped at the end of February.

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.


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. These interviews provide a wealth of practical information about learning to live a truly forgiving life, as well as some history of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles.


In this NEW VIDEO, friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles and I discuss the challenges of trying to practice A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 330: “I will not hurt myself again today.”

In this NEW AUDIO, CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I discuss A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 190: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”

In this RECENT AUDIO recording of a show I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, we review the practice of forgiveness through A Course in Miracles workbook lessons 5 and 34

MY LATEST BOOK, FORGIVENESS: THE KEY TO HAPPINESS,, along with my second book in the forgiveness essay collection series, FORGIVENESS OFFERS EVERYTHING I WANT:  are currently DISCOUNTED on Amazon.

Schedule individual MENTORING sessions with Susan Dugan here:  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!)


Here’s a recording 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!

A recording on Changing the Purpose of the Body from Prison to Classroom:, and another on what it means to go “above the battleground” (ACIM Text 23, Section IV)

And a recording in which we talk about ACIM workbook lesson 101: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness” and 102: “I share God’s will for happiness for me.”  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 video I did with Bruce Rawles on sharing perception with the Holy Spirit:

Here’s a talk I did with Bruce Rawles on Section 16 of The Manual for Teachers: “How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day.”

In this VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss A Course in Miracles lesson 190: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”


The Denver-based School for A Course in Miracles (formerly the School of Reason), an A Course-in-Miracles teaching organization continues to offer great new and ongoing classes based on Ken Wapnick’s teachings.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Center for A Course in Miracles, 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.

In this video Bruce Rawles and I discuss themes from my most recent book, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness: 

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

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 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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