Truth or Cake?

 (Here’s an excerpt from my latest essay collection Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness  on learning to live a truly forgiving life and smile: )

cakeI have stored in my bodily memory an image from early childhood of a perfect autumn Sunday afternoon. Burnished maple leaves still wanton on their branches waving in a spicy breeze, the scent of engorged apples nearly ready to relinquish their final grip. I am six or seven years old. We are visiting parents of my parents’ friends. I careen about the still lush grounds of a modest farmhouse anchoring acres of green, perched on the edge of the mighty, mythic Hudson River forging forth thousands of feet below toward Manhattan.

About to execute another somersault, I catch a glimpse, through the open kitchen door, of a vision so exquisite, I pause, and gasp. A beam of sunlight illuminates the white caps of boiled frosting on a just-baked Devil’s Food cake, perched on a pedestal-stand in the center of a kitchen table. I freeze, immobilized by desire to taste it, yet suddenly and painfully aware that it can’t possibly deliver on its promise. The anticipation of it, the desire, the meaning I have given it, cannot possibly be realized. Not in a single bite. Not in a million.

And so I stand perfectly still, savoring a longing I somehow can’t help but realize can never be filled, has never been filled, will never be filled. Not by the cake on the counter. Not by the church where each Sunday I drag a self, already dense with accumulating sins, for absolution that never comes. Not by my parents sitting inside in the adjoining dining room, drinking yet another cup of coffee; acting like everything is OK. Not by the life I’ve imagined for myself, the trip to the moon I plan to make, the stories I will write, the end to the Cold War I plan to negotiate; the frog I will transform into royalty and protect from all possible harm with a single, sweet kiss.

And still I stand, transfixed, struggling to prolong a lingering hope that I am wrong. Waiting and waiting for some kind of sign I somehow know will never come. I bite down hard on my fist to keep from weeping, only babies do that–my younger brothers, my many little cousins—but I am strong. I seize control of myself, and stuff the unwelcome thought back down into the Pandora’s Box from which it sprang, uninvited, clown-like, before the old woman calls us in to sample her latest confection.

Lately, I have been once more aware of what I have always known, but struggled to deny: that nothing in this world–however promising and tantalizing–will ever satisfy the longing for love I came in with and continue to crave. For decades I did a pretty good job burying that awareness whenever it once more crept, uninvited, into my peripheral vision. But it never worked for long. My life has been a half-hearted effort to give all the world’s offerings one more shot. You know, in case I missed that one remaining treasure that might yet perfectly slip like a missing puzzle piece into the hollow space in my heart.

A Course in Miracles does a really good job explaining why the world we made ultimately fails us, why we need to see that, and why we must ultimately quit trying to drag an all-inclusive, loving God (who doesn’t know about pretend kingdoms) into the mess we think we made. According to the Course’s creation myth, in the beginning, we experienced ourselves seamlessly fused with our creator in a manner that defies our current, seemingly differentiated understanding. Into that state of perfect unity and boundless joy—for reasons that also defy our current comprehension—there crept a “tiny, mad, idea,” that we should somehow separate from our source to experience ourselves individually.

Had we remembered to laugh at the impossibility of fragmenting infinite, indivisible wholeness we would never have experienced ourselves as fugitives from the one love “joined as one” we remain. Instead we took it seriously, and perceived ourselves figuratively cast out of heaven, believing we had forever forsaken our real Self. The one mind then appeared to split over the crushing guilt of that belief into the ego, the part of our mind that believed we pulled off the separation, and the right mind/Holy (Whole) Spirit that remembered to smile. In our fear and guilt and continuing desire to taste what individuality might offer, we followed the ego into an entire projected universe of fragmented forms to hide out in. And to ensure we never got back to the “scene of the crime” in the mind, we figuratively fell asleep, and now find ourselves dreaming a dream of exile that—like our apparent sleeping dreams—seems very real, but in no way affects our waking, united reality.

Yet here we seem to find ourselves, adrift in an illusory world attempting to satisfy our longings by bargaining with other selves to get our physical and emotional needs met, to fill ourselves up with promising substances that never deliver, all the while recognizing, if we are deeply honest, that it does not, has not, and will never work. Even though we study and may intellectually grasp A Course in Miracles’ challenging metaphysics, we continue to want to have our cake and our Course, too. We spin out our days attempting to entice the Holy Spirit into an illusory world to help us cook up a sweeter dream to satisfy our perpetual hunger. Rather than asking for help to heal our minds of the belief in separation that led to dreaming up all these futile substitutes, and prevents us from experiencing true nourishment.

Today, in my classroom, I am that child again, watching my temptation to reach back into the illusion to satisfy my desire for assurance that I am still loved and loving, my craving to have my cake and my Course, too. Even though I know, with growing, welcome clarity, as I again reach for the memory of my right mind; that the cake can never deliver on its promise. The anticipation of it, the desire, the meaning I have given it, cannot possibly be realized. Not in a single bite. Not in a million. And in that recognition, outside the circular bondage of time in which innocence for one and all prevails, I am once more cured of all craving, completely completed, along with you. A little less invested in the allure of the world’s confections; a little closer to opening my eyes on all I ever wanted, and never really threw away.

“Today we pass illusions by. And if we hear temptation call to us to stay and linger in a dream, we turn aside and ask ourselves if we, the Sons of God, could be content with dreams, when Heaven can be chosen just as easily as hell, and love will happily replace all fear.” (From A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 272, paragraph 2)

 

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 six-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 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

Here’s a NEW 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 a recent recording I did with CA 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

Here’s a RECENT AUDIO I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, on ACIM workbook lesson 138: “Heaven is the decision I must make.” Despite the countless decisions that appear to confront us throughout our days there is really only one choice to make right now: Heaven or hell? Do I choose to side with the inner teacher of separate interests and root myself more deeply in this dream of exile from all-inclusive Love or choose the inner teacher that will help me take another step toward awakening to our prevailing innocence? http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=AC6D703F-26B9-4187-86E87DD038247D38

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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