Salvation is the End of Me.

December 18th, 2014

When I was asked to write something for another blog as a guest writer I was stumped. I haven’t written much in recent years. I remember from the movie “The Razor’s Edge” that the main character had gone to Tibet seeking enlightenment. The guru had sent him to spend some time alone in a hut with several holy books. After weeks he returned to the main monastery and proclaimed that he now knew what was in all the holy books of the world…WORDS! And the best use he had found for these books was for starting a fire. So, what is the use for more words? At any rate, for whatever value they might have, here are some more…

Recently I posted on Facebook a quotation from Anthony deMello which begins, “Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep…..” The comments I got were laughable. The vast majority agreed and, more or less, claimed to be awake. If one were truly awake, to whom would he proclaim it? Unfortunately, so many students of A Course in Miracles I have met over the years think that some sort of ability to massage and postulate the concepts of ACIM are evidence of their awakening.

Several years ago I wrote a long essay “Salvation is Undoing” which you might wish to peruse. In this essay I outline all the things that must be undone. However, all other considerations notwithstanding, salvation (aka Atonement, enlightenment, the happy dream, awakening) is simply a matter of the end of me, the separate, personal identity. When there is no more me, there is only I, everywhere, the eternal subject without an object. Moses heard it from the burning bush, “Eyeh asher eyeh”, “I am what I am.”

There is no gain whatsoever to the me from awakening (aka Atonement, Salvation, etc.) and that is why there is so much resistance. No more ownership, no more accomplishments, no more competition, no more acquiring, just Being.

“ The search for truth is but the honest searching out of everything that interferes with truth.”

ACIM  T.14.VII.2.1

And, stripped down to its ultimate simplicity, there is only one thing that interferes with truth – the concept of separate, personal identity…me.

A Question about Predestination

December 17th, 2014

I recently received the following email. My answer follows the email.

Hi! I like your website. You seem to really know your stuff where ACIM is concerned. I wonder if you could take a moment to help me with a troubling question I struggle to answer. How much of the script of our life is written before we reincarnate? How much are we truly in control of our decision making and how our lives turn out? I realize we face again forgiveness we didn’t master in previous lifetimes but this is a question that really burns in me. Do you have any thoughts that might help?

Mark
Orlando, Fl

I would like to begin by reiterating what I said on the home page of the website: “Your questions are far more important than my answers.” If you are truly interested, enquire. And settle for nothing less than first-hand KNOWLEDGE of the answer. That is the problem, as I see it. Most people are all too ready to accept belief in place of actual knowledge. And beLIEf has a lie in the middle of it. If there is a God, certainly he/she/it is worthy of more than belief. We must go beyond belief to actuality, to Knowledge. For example – reincarnation…what actual direct knowledge do you have that reincarnation exists? And, if it does, what relevance is it today? The only relevant question is: Can you see? right now? Seeing in the sense meant by ACIM – spiritual vision, eyes of Christ, salvation, forgiveness, the happy dream…these are words pointing to the same experience.

From Introduction to the Manual for Teachers,

“The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, ‘How did the impossible occur?’, ‘To what did the impossible happen?’, and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you.”

Your question regarding predestination is an interesting one. One of the most troubling lessons in ACIM for me personally has always been Lesson 169. I suggest you reread this lesson carefully and meditate upon it.

In any case, do not believe anything. Do not settle for anything less than your direct experience of the Truth. Books, gurus, belief systems…all nonsense…only experience is real.

Lesson 169 says, “It (the mind) has become aware that there are things it does not know, and thus is ready to accept a state completely different from experience with which it is familiarly at home.”

Merry Christmas and let us remember that Christmas is a word derived from Christ Mass and holiday is from holy day.

Let’s look…once more…at forgiveness

January 9th, 2013

I get so weary of reading blog after blog, Facebook post after Facebook post, droning on and on about forgiveness, all of which contain absolutely NO understanding whatsoever of what A Course in Miracles means by that word. And they usually promote the type of attack that is called forgiveness by the world.

Forgiveness is the most easily misunderstood word of all in A Course in Miracles and the key to understanding its message. Everyone, everywhere knows that forgiveness is a “good thing.” The problem is this — our common interpretation of this word is synonymous with pardon — an act by a “superior” human in not taking vengeance upon another for a hurtful act. Yet the Course is clear that this is not what it means,

“The unhealed cannot pardon. For they are the witnesses that pardon is unfair. They would retain the consequences of the guilt they overlook. Yet no one can forgive a sin that he believes is real. And what has consequences must be real, because what it has done is there to see. Forgiveness is not pity, which but seeks to pardon what it thinks to be the truth.” [T528/568]

One sure test to see if you have forgiven anything — if you can remember it at all, you haven’t! True forgiveness actually “sees” and experiences in this way,

“Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin.” [W391/401]

HAS NOT OCCURRED! NOTHING HAPPENED! This is some statement! Any other interpretation of forgiveness then is attack. Perhaps the most succinct illumination of forgiveness comes not in the Course itself, but in The Song of Prayer, which followed the transcription of the Course. It calls the “normal” type of pardon, “forgiveness-to-destroy.”

“No gift of Heaven has been more misunderstood than has forgiveness. It has, in fact, become a scourge; a curse where it was meant to bless, a cruel mockery of grace, a parody upon the holy peace of God. Yet those who have not yet chosen to begin the steps of prayer cannot but use it thus. Forgiveness’ kindness is obscure at first, because salvation is not understood, nor truly sought for. What was meant to heal is used to hurt because forgiveness is not wanted. Guilt becomes salvation, and the remedy appears to be a terrible alternative to life.

“Forgiveness-to-destroy will therefore suit the purpose of the world far better than its true objective, and the honest means by which this goal is reached. Forgiveness-to-destroy will overlook no sin, no crime, no guilt that it can seek and find and ‘love.’ Dear to its heart is error, and mistakes loom large and grow and swell within its sight. It carefully picks out all evil things, and overlooks the loving as a plague; a hateful thing of danger and of death. Forgiveness-to-destroy is death, and this it sees in all it looks upon and hates.” [SOP9]

It is so important that we see the truth of this. Forgiveness as it is usually thought of, pardon of something which really happened, is attack, pure and simple. It retains guilt in the mind rather than expressing outright vengeance on the body or the person. This is no improvement. Lily Tomlin, in Jane Wagner’s one-woman show “In Search of Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”, playing one of the main characters who has married her “soulmate,” a very “spiritual” man, discovers that we all have mistaken passive-aggression for spirituality. This is indeed a profound and important discovery. It is just one more example of the activity of the perceptual mind, confusing form for content, behavior for truth. It seems that throughout Western history we have carried an idea of how a pious or “good” person should act. Yet A Course in Miracles tells us clearly,

“You must change your mind, not your behavior, and this is a matter of willingness. Correction belongs only at the level where change is possible. Change does not mean anything at the symptom [behavior] level, where it cannot work.” [T25/29]

It explains the reason for this,

“…you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so. This produces consistent behavior, but entails great strain. In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do. This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage….” [T26/29f]

Is it any wonder why, when pushed or threatened, many “religious” people become angry or depend upon an wrathful god to punish the “infidels”? It is the same reason why we as a society are so attracted to violent sports and entertainment. This is clearly projection, the unwillingness to own one’s deep feelings, particularly anger, and therefore to see them in and attribute them to an outside source. In the modern context, where “God is dead”, we have needed other angry ones — Hitler, the Communists, the Arabs, the blacks, etc., as scapegoats. It will be interesting to see where anger crops up with all of these “bad guys” gone.

This leads to one of the most powerful, but consistently ignored, sections of the Course,

“You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realize its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognizes it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.” [T225/242]

Who has realized the full extent of his hatred? Who is willing to see that he is not seriously disturbed by his hostility? Who has actually encountered within himself the fear of redemption, of love, the fourth obstacle to Peace — the fear of God?

So, what is forgiveness? Here, as with most other concepts, the Course begins by describing what it IS NOT. True forgiveness is so foreign to our habitual way of thinking, so antithetical to everything we, as separate human individuals, believe, that it cannot be “understood” by the linear intellect. Yet it is so simple. The Song of Prayer says it in 9 words,

“Do not see error. Do not make it real.” [SOP9]

That’s it! But what would make this possible? Certainly not a mere intellectual assertion of the words. Certainly not hiding one’s head in the sand, refusing to look.

“You cannot lay aside the obstacles to real vision without looking upon them….” [T204/220]

The only thing that makes true forgiveness possible is a profound and radical shift in perception. The word shift here is carefully chosen by the Course to imply a quantum leap, a definite break with established patterns. This new way of “seeing” is not something which comes gradually, but more like light when the switch is turned on. In fact forgiveness is the shift in perception. It is not an activity of thought, of the separated self thinking about some thing or event differently. It is not something one does for another. It is not forgiveness for anything, but an entirely different way of perceiving that sees nothing to forgive — no error, no attack, no harm at all. Forgiveness is that radically different perception to which A Course in Miracles is pointing — a totally new WAY of seeing. In this fundamentally changed perception one actually “sees” and concretely experiences,

“The world you see does nothing. It has no effects at all.” [W351/362]

In the Manual for Teachers, the Course gives a further clue,

“Forgiveness, salvation, Atonement, true perception, all are one.” [M81/85]

Without Atonement, which means undoing; without salvation, which is true healing; without true perception, which sees this world as without real power or effects; forgiveness is not possible. As long as one believes he is a separated body/personality/mind, forgiveness is a fiction, a complete “unreality.” When one finally “sees” and directly experiences that it is the body/personality/mind which is actually unreal, then forgiveness is automatic and miracles are natural.

Salvation is undoing

November 18th, 2012

Understanding ACIM

June 13th, 2012

One of my very favourite quotes from A Course in Miracles is:

“You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing.”

T.18.IV.7.4

The tongue-in-cheek attitude hits straight at the arrogance of thinking the Course can be “understood,” which more accurately means to be interpreted or explained. Everywhere I look I see books attempting to “explain” (the derivation of the word means to flatten out) the meaning of ACIM…different ways of trying to make the teachings more palatable, less absolute…like Attitudinal Healing and others attempting to personalise and dilute the Course or turn it into some sort of New Age love fest. The Course means exactly what it says, no more, no less.

“Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology [philosophy, words, concepts, interpretations, explanations] delay you.”

C.IN.4.5

In the section of Chapter 14 called The Test of Truth, these instructions are given:

“Those who remember always that they know nothing, and who have become willing to learn everything, will learn it. But whenever they trust themselves, they will not learn. They have destroyed their motivation for learning by thinking they already know. Think not you understand anything until you pass the test of perfect peace, for peace and understanding go together and never can be found alone. Each brings the other with it, for it is the law of God they be not separate. They are cause and effect, each to the other, so where one is absent the other cannot be.”

T.14.XI.12.4 (bold added)

And what is this test of perfect peace?

“You have one test, as sure as God, by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God’s lesson, and not your own. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you,….”

T.14.XI.5.2

So, unless you have the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding….” (Philippians 4:7 KJV) then you have no understanding.

Whoa!!!!! So, sit down and shut up. Understanding is the booby prize.

The Fourth Obstacle to Peace

March 14th, 2012

I have spoken several times on the Obstacles to Peace. The fourth and final obstacle is The Fear of God. When presented with this, most sort of laugh it off. But this is serious. God is Absolute. God is Infinite. In this world of relativity, absolute is terrifying. “thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (first commandment). ACIM echoes, “God is our only goal, our only Love.” ONLY! No other goals, no other loves. Isn’t that scary?

Last night I was watching a program on BBC. During the program there was a reference to “The Hound of Heaven,” a nineteenth century poem by Francis Thompson. One of the lines repeats this theme:

” Yet was I sore adread
Lest having Him, I must have naught beside.”

Nothing else….only God! Who is not afraid of this? If I were to summarize this poem, I would say…

However much we think of ourselves as free individuals, we are in reality always running from God and he will pursue us to the End and possess us totally.

Isn’t that just a wee bit intimidating?

Meister Eckhart said that we are not truly seeking God, but that God is always seeking us. The problem is…we are not at home.

Are you ready to be Infinite, Absolute? I didn’t think so. The Fear of God is no laughing matter.

Living the concepts of ACIM

July 11th, 2011

It seems like everywhere I look these days someone is rabbitting on about “living the concepts” or principles of ACIM. There is NO SUCH THING! First of all A Course in Miracles is not a concept, not a belief “system.” And it has but one principle. ACIM is quite simple, clear and unequivocal. Either one SEES, in this moment, with spiritual vision, the eyes of Christ, or he sleeps and dreams in illusion. To see, in the terms of ACIM, means to recognize and realize there is no world, that none of what he calls “past” actually ever happened, that there is only One Life, and I am That.

Any other approach is to make the mistake of the religionists, present and past – to believe that there is some sort of model for a worldly life that would demonstrate one’s spiritual accomplishments and spiritual superiority. Nonsense! A distraction! Just more illusion. To think that one’s earthly actions would be any indication of his spiritual vision is to indulge in illusion.

It is incredibly simple and not subject to interpretation or any sort of relativity – either you see or not. There is no middle ground!

And, finally, spritual vision is not an accomplishment or achievement, it is a gift, already given. Failure to recognize the gift is purely and simply arrogance. However, in order to recognize it, one must first realize I am not me.

Beware the trap of spiritual specialness. Spiritual Person is an oxymoron of cosmic proportions.

No wonder I am an agnostic!!!

October 23rd, 2010

I was looking up something health related on the web the other day and came across this statement on a homeopathy site:

“Life is structured by the Creator to give to each human being some setbacks. That is the way a human being realises the power of God and gets closer to God.”

What a load of bull!! What sort of Creator creates flawed creations? Would that not mean that this Creator was itself flawed? How could a loving, perfect Creator purposely create something to suffer “setbacks?” And why would he/she? This is not a God, but a demon.

I think there is a need to question all the various sorts of gods that the world believes in. For the most part I want nothing to do with being part of the kingdom of any of these man-created gods.

“God created man in his own image
And man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.”

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

There is no way to reconcile ACIM with any form of psychotherapy

August 27th, 2010

A psychologist friend of mine and I were having lunch. I asked what is the function of psychotherapy. His reply was to help the person cope. I asked, “Is coping the highest level we can hope for?”

All forms of psychotherapy attempt to repair the individual and make him/her whole within himself. A Course in Miracles says that in Truth there is no such thing as the individual. The individual is the symbol of Brokenness Itself.  The only True wholeness is in the realization of Oneness.

The Paradox of A Course in Miracles

August 20th, 2010
Recently a friend emailed me with a question about what he perceived to be a cadre of well-known spiritual teachers who merely proclaim “the fact that this whole universe is a illusion. In most cases they dismisses religion completely and say there is no meaning here and it is a waste of time seeking anything here. There is no self and no duality. Everything here is meaningless.” He goes on to observe, “No mention is made of God, Jesus or Holy Spirit. Even forgiveness isn’t given much credence.” He then asks, “how they could arrive at the same conclusions (about the world being illusion) as in A Course in Miracles or other ancient (mainly Eastern) teachings and wondered how they sustain these conclusions without the backing of some spiritual teaching.”
 
MY REPLY
 
Well, let us look at it this way: The Course asks us to use reason. So, IF the Course is true, then the bottom line IS no self, no world, no duality and no perception. Correct? Even A Course in Miracles is unreal and illusory. Right? And forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Jesus are meaningless and never really existed. Can you see that?
 
However, we find ourselves firmly enmeshed in the dream of separation to the point that we believe it to be reality. True? So, A Course in Miracles comes to awaken the sleeping one (who now thinks he is a bunch of different oneS). To do so requires a very paradoxical approach. The Course must address you BOTH as you are AND as you think yourself to be. It must try every trick in the book to get you to perceive and experience a difference between you and Bill; that you are not completely, totally and exclusively Bill; that there is something else within you. To do this requires the introduction of language and concepts, none of which is true, but which point in the direction of Truth. A Course in Miracles is written in such a way that you might finally have a serious doubt about the nature of your reality as you perceive it now. Its main aim is to raise doubts and questions.
 
In addition, the Course suggests that the leap from the perception of duality to the absoluteness of no world, no self, no duality is too great and fearful to be made in most cases; that there exists a perception of unity, of relatedness, of non-separation: also unreal, but having no quarrel with the Truth. This perception it calls by many various names – the Happy Dream, forgiveness, salvation, spiritual vision, the eyes of Christ, Atonement, true perception, etc. It says this should be our goal and no more. The Course as you know, does not claim to be the only way, just a faster and more efficient way.
 
Now come the so-called teachers and baby gurus…proclaiming what they think they know. One of two things is true of these proclaiming no world, no self, no duality:
 
1) They have had and ARE HAVING AT THIS MOMENT the experience of no self, no world and no duality.
 
2) They are merely parroting concepts that they have read or been told.
 
Now if 1) is true, to whom would one be speaking in a state of no self, no world, no duality? Who would hear?
 
The guru trip can be very lucrative and give one a great feeling of power and experience of adoration. Therefore,
 
If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!
 
Seek not outside yourself!