You can go your own way

Ecola 2In my sleeping dream I’d been camping with a group of strangers who’d embarked on a journey to the top of a mountain range I somehow knew held the Holy Grail of all I ever wanted. Standing in a lush ravine, we gazed up at enormous mansions clustered like exotic fruit among the densely wooded cliffs.

“Just imagine what it would feel like to live there,” I whispered, to the hushed nods of a handful of others, similarly smitten, standing beside me on a steep road, spiraling upward.

Finished adjusting our backpacks and checking our gear, we had just started walking when we encountered another party that had gone ahead, only to abandon the mission before we could meet them, as planned. We must turn back, they told us. It was just too dangerous to proceed. Not enough oxygen or water to survive up there. Story of my freaking life, I thought. And I stood bereft; my last hope of finding my way home apparently shattered, obviously not evolved enough to withstand the rarefied air of the “chosen ones,” luxuriously sheltered in those stylish houses in the sky. Well, enough was enough. I would just have to take my chances and go it alone. Need I mention, again?

I awoke (and I use the term loosely) on another Monday morning in my own bed, my little dog cleaved to my ribs, the Fleetwood Mac song, “You can go your own way,” spinning like a disco ball in my puny little head. Mocked by the tabula rasa of another new week rolling out in this journey without actual distance, and realized that’s exactly what I’d been doing, trying to get somewhere with this Course (as if there were some destination “out there,” “up there”?), all by my lonesome. Need I mention again?

And I found myself once more instantly transported into the inner sanctum of my imaginary inner teacher’s office. He sat at his big oak desk, back-lit against the scant winter light outside the beveled windows behind him, playing with a little windup plastic nun my daughter had given me for Christmas and I had passed on to him, brown-nosing student that I am.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said, plopping down into the familiar chair in front of his desk as the nun sadly collided with a pencil sharpener and ground to a holy halt.

“You always do,” he said, folding his hands. Smiling that unwavering smile of his, which could get on your nerves, if you let it.

“I could go my own way, but that’s what got this whole mess of a dream started in the first place,” I said.

“Seriously?”

But I was in no mood for levity.

“I could go my own way, or I could see peace instead of this with you.”

“Remind me what we’re talking about again?” he said.

But where to begin?  For the last few weeks I’d been immersing myself in The Song of Prayer pamphlet’s sections on prayer and forgiveness for the class I was teaching on that very subject and feeling pretty damn holy about it. Listening to Ken Wapnick’s illuminating CD set (http://www.facim.org/bookstore/p-147-the-song-of-prayer.aspx) on the pamphlet, experiencing a deeper sense of integration and true empathy for all, and then suddenly finding myself once more abruptly derailed, seeming victim of sinister outside forces colluding to destroy my peace and obstruct my path.

My parents’ health issues appeared to have taken on a life of their own. Someone had taken offense at something they thought I was thinking (I know!). And I completely lost my mind after misplacing one of the CDs from The Song of Prayer set I’d been listening to and just had to share with my class, and spent the next couple hours anxiously ransacking the house for it. An irony not lost on the scant gray matter of this decision-making mind, but still, it was just the tip of the proverbial ego iceberg.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” I said, rising.

“Possibly even years,” Jesus said.

He was getting used to this, and cheerfully followed me into the little imaginary screening room next door where we often go to review another episode in the Sorry Saga of Susan. I dimmed the lights, settled in beside him, and hit the remote.

“Exhibit A,” I said, rewinding to a scene in which my husband had tromped into the house following our walk in the icy, snowy, slushy, muddy park with our dog without removing his filthy boots or even pausing, mid stomp, to wipe them on the rug. Traipsing about the house on the newly scrubbed hardwood floors in search of his cell phone, while I silently cursed him and, on my hands and knees, attempted to wipe up the trail of water and mud and slush he repeatedly left in his wake with a towel.

I hit rewind again, to allow Jesus to fully savor the spectacle of my husband’s infuriating march back and forth to the garage, in and out of the house, in and out of every room in the house, and even up and down the light blue carpeted stairs exactly eight (I somehow felt obliged to count them :)) times before finally realizing he had probably left the phone in the pet store we’d stopped at earlier. To procure the last Broncos doggie outfit available in this town on that morning of what turned out to be the big Super bummer-of-a Bowl game party we were hosting later that day.

After we had purchased Kayleigh’s ultimately humiliating outfit, we’d driven to the park where my husband did not take well to my suggestion that he slow down to more closely adhere to the residential speed limit. But I’d nonetheless managed to see (as I had failed to earlier in my Course practice) that his meltdown was not a result of my having chosen the ego. Within the dream, this DVD in which we appeared to costar had been around a long, long, time, after all.  Only my reaction to it revealed which inner teacher I had chosen. Reminding me I could choose again, as the temptation to perceive myself unfairly treated arose, to remember that I didn’t really want to hurt myself again.

I needn’t make a big deal over his outburst, or my temptation to defend myself; therein making what the Course calls the “error” of separation real for both of us and nourishing that guilt again. The ego does what egos do, after all, desperately trying to preserve the idea that we exist at God’s expense, but it’s not our fault. “I could see peace instead of this,” I silently reminded myself, as A Course in Miracles lesson 34, tells us; recognizing the only mind in need of healing as my own. And so I did seen peace instead of this, for Christ sake, and yet.

I rewound to the scene of my husband’s infuriating search for his phone, just an hour later, played it again for Jesus, and started to smile. “I think I’m starting to see what you’re seeing,” I said.

His brows shot up and down the way they do.

“The ego hates it when we don’t make a big deal out of its hissy fits—theirs or mine, it doesn’t really matter. I just became afraid again. Afraid of losing this me that takes everything that happens so freaking personally. Going ballistic over my husband’s behavior allowed me to make him guilty again, but the real target, the only target I’m ever really pointing a finger at, is me. That’s what I’m secretly fighting to preserve; the guilt that keeps the myth of me going. The only thing we’re ever really forgiving is ourselves, that’s what you’re really saying. That’s where the error started and that’s where it will end. I could have seen with you all along and simply smiled. If only I’d thought to call you in earlier.”

“You still think I go somewhere?” he said.

He had a point. He always did.

I started to tell him about my sleeping dream but that, too, appeared to have returned to the ether from which it sprang, as all dreams inevitably do.

I grabbed the remote, hit rewind, then, play. But the screen was blank.

“Imagine that,” the bearded wonder said.

We threw back our heads, and laughed.  We always (eventually) do.

“Forgiveness, truly given, is the way in which your only hope of freedom lies. Others will make mistakes and so will you, as long as this illusion of a world appears to be your home. Yet God Himself has given all his Sons a remedy for all illusions that they think they see. Christ’s vision does not use your eyes, but you can look through His and learn to see like him. Mistakes are tiny shadows quickly gone, that for an instant only seem to hide the face of Christ, which still remains unchanged behind them all. His constancy remains in tranquil silence and in perfect peace. He does not know of shadows. His the eyes that look past error to the Christ in you.

Ask, then, His help, and ask Him how to learn forgiveness as His vision lets it be. You are in need of what He gives, and your salvation rests on learning this of Him.” (From The Song of Prayer, FORGIVENESS, I. paragraphs 6 and 7)

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/.

Ken Wapnick Memorial Library: The School of Reason here in Denver is developing a lending library of Ken Wapnick’s lectures and seminars (to be made available on CD and MP3 formats at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center) to commemorate and share our beloved teacher’s prolific contributions. You can donate online at schoolofreason.org through the PayPal donation button at the bottom right of the homepage (scroll down to find). Please note on “special instructions to seller” on the PayPal review page that you are donating to the Ken Wapnick Memorial Library. You can also purchase yearly memberships to the library (separate from donations) for $25. All donations will go toward purchasing and sharing all 200 sets of Ken’s illuminating recordings through the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center.  

Here’s a recent ACIM hangout video I did with my friend Bruce Rawles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yogj9ckTXbc&feature=youtu.be . In this one, we talk about our love for our teacher Ken Wapnick, a demonstration of kindness to one and all, and how we can honor his life and heal our minds by living all he has taught us! 

HALF-HOUR 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 harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. One-on-one, hour or half-hour mentoring 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.)

I’ve made some exciting new changes to my Tuesday-night forgiveness class, designed to deepen our study and practice and accelerate our learning in 2014! (PLEASE SEE THIS SITE’S CLASSES/EVENTS PAGE FOR DETAILS.) We’ve begun the year by embracing true prayer, forgiveness, and healing as described in The Song of Prayer pamphlet (pamphlets available for purchase from the RMMC or already included within the most recent edition of A Course in Miracles). The Song of Prayer was scribed by Helen Schucman following the Course’s publication and helps clarify misunderstandings about its non-dualistic metaphysics. Our classes on this topic will conclude each week with an optional 20-minute true-prayer session.

We’ll devote the rest of the year to opening to the text, chronologically, from the heart, through selected readings, occasionally augmented by complementary workbook lessons and/or selections from the Manual, pamphlets, and recordings by premier Course Teacher, Author, and Scholar Kenneth Wapnick. Each week will conclude with an optional, 20-minute question and answer/comment/sharing session.

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 is also available at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center in Denver, Colorado, where I teach weekly on Tuesday nights, takes up roughly where my last ACIM essay collection left off, and conveys my growing faith that no matter how wrenching, wild, or wacky the dream of our lives may appear, we always have a choice about which inner teacher we are looking and listening with: the ego, the part of our mind that believed the “tiny, mad idea” of separation from our source had real effects. Or the “right mind” that remembered to gently smile at the bizarre thought of it. If you’re thinking about buying a book and live in Denver, please consider purchasing a copy from the RMMC to help support their great work.  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.

 

Comments

  1. Need I mention that I enjoyed your weekly post, again? 🙂 What if we were to keep practicing our footprint forgiveness lessons over and over … and over (like Phil in Groundhog Day) until there was nothing – truly – left to forgive (ourselves) for? With blank slate on the ego scorecard, what’s left to do but go home … to where we never left? 🙂

  2. I’ve got my fingers crossed on that, Bruce, I really do! 🙂

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