M. Grow as the flower grows
N. Finding the Peace of God
O. Forgiving Jesus
P. Dedicating Your Day to Peace
Q. Creating our own reality
R. Opening to the Light
M. GROW AS THE FLOWER GROWS
Those who seek the light are merely covering
The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 188
The Futility of Seeking
If there is something wrong with our body we attend to it. For example, if a finger is cut we would cover it with a plaster. We normally would not try to pretend it was not bleeding. But if there is something wrong in our minds we often seek to escape from the problem. For example, we might turn to alcohol to try to escape from sorrow. To heal the mind we must stay with the problem so it can be healed through forgiveness.
One escape from the pain of living in the ego's judgmental mind is to seek the light or God. It is not easy to see that the pain in our mind and the object of our search are both created by the ego. Now the solution to the suffering in our mind may appear to lie somewhere in the future instead of in the present moment, the only place where the Holy Spirit can help us with the aid of the holy instant or miracle.
We think by searching we can find truth/God which also implies we will recognise it when we find it. We can't search for something we cannot recognise - otherwise how will we know when we find it? It must be similar to something we already know. But what if God is totally beyond what we are familiar with, as the mystics have assured us it is? We are then doomed never to find the goal of our search. "Seek and do not find" (T-12.IV.1:4) is the ego's dictum.
So don't seek to become free of desire or "achieve" enlightenment. Become present. Be there as the observer of the mind. 'The Power of Now: A guide to spiritual enlightenment' by Eckhart Tolle.
You can do nothing to bring (the awareness of God) about, but you can avoid creating obstacles.
'I Am That' by Nisargadatta Maharaj
When the mind is no longer seeking, no longer breeding conflict through its wants and cravings, when it is silent with understanding, only then can the immeasurable come into being.
'Commentaries on Living. Third Series' by J Krishnamurti
The Trap of Dependence
During this hopeless search for God we may be tempted to depend on a guru or teacher to lead us to truth. This reminds me of a story from Anthony de Mello's book 'One Minute Wisdom':
To a visitor who asked to become his disciple the Master said, "You may live with me, but don't become my follower."
"Whom, then, shall I follow?"
"No one. The day you follow someone you cease to follow Truth."
Jesus asks us to follow his guidance which becomes clearer as we practice our daily forgiveness lessons. We can, of course, learn from other teachers and spiritual disciplines but should not forget we carry our teacher with us in our right minds. Our task is to remember that we can always turn to this teacher instead of the ego.
God Knows The Way To Us
It is the arrogance of the ego that thinks it knows the way to God. Jesus reminds us gently that we are but confused children lost in our dream of separation and driven mad by guilt. Put that way it perhaps make sense not to trust our own good intentions!
Is it not He Who knows the way to you? You need not know the way to Him. Your part is simply to allow all obstacles that you have interposed between the Son and God the Father to be quietly removed forever. God will do His part in joyful and immediate response.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 189
Thus Jesus is telling us to relax and stop striving after God. Let us just do our part and then God will do His - but in His own time, not ours.
When one finally gives up one's futile attempts to make reality conform to one's own wishes, and allows it to unfold on its own terms, all the energy that was tied up in foolish attempts to manipulate the universe is freed up.
'Halfway up the Mountain - the Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment' by Mariana Caplan. Hohm Press
In reading the lives of saints we can discover people who seem to have reached exalted states and we can be tempted to desire the same for ourselves. After all, who would not want to be one with God? However, can the unenlightened judge who is truly enlightened or are they forced to always be dealing with their own ideas and projections of what the enlightened state is? Is a permanent union with God a realistic goal and is it actually possible whilst we still desire to exist as bodies?
Sometimes a teacher of God may have a brief experience of direct union with God. In this world, it is almost impossible that this endure. It can, perhaps, be won after much devotion and dedication, and then be maintained for much of the time on earth. But this is so rare that it cannot be considered a realistic goal. If it happens, so be it. If it does not happen, so be it as well. All worldly states must be illusory. If God were reached directly in sustained awareness, the body would not be long maintained. M-26.3.1:8
The body, which was created so we could hide from God, could not last long in the presence of what it was originally designed to hide from.
The goal of A Course in Miracles is peace, brought about by forgiveness. With peace the memory of God returns and who we really are - the formless, eternal Christ. This is a realistic goal and one that is promised to all of us.
Once we begin to realise that seeking the light is but an escape from facing our pain and that we cannot know the path to God, we can really begin our journey home. When we realise the movement away from what is actually happening in our minds to the pursuit of some far-off solution is a false and useless journey, we can start the real work which will lead to peace of mind and the return of the awareness of God's love for us. Every day we are presented with fresh opportunities to look at our self-created pain, accept it and let it go with Jesus's help. The ego's advice to deny our guilt and project it onto others can now be chosen against. A constant vigilance or awareness of our ego thoughts is required so we can give them to the Holy Spirit for healing. This is not easy, as indicated in this remark to Helen Schucman by Jesus, "You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind's miscreations." (T-2.VI.4:6 ) When we fulfil our part in the plan for salvation we will experience peace.
Deepen and broaden your awareness of yourself and all the blessings will flow. You need not seek anything, all will come to you most naturally and effortlessly.
'I Am That' by Nisargadatta Maharaj
Our yearning for permanent peace and happiness can now be set aside and this energy directed into the daily classroom of our relationships. And we can smile gently at our desire to be enlightened in this life and leave the timing of that in God's hands.
Grow as the flower grows, unconsciously, but eagerly anxious to open its soul to the air. So must you press forward to open your soul to the Eternal. But it must be the Eternal that draws forth your strength and beauty, not desire of growth. For in the one case you develop in the luxuriance of purity: in the other you harden by the forcible passion for personal stature.
'Light on the Path' by Mabel Collins
For further quotations on this theme see The Enlightenment Trap
(Copyright) Michael Dawson
N. Finding the Peace of God
O. Forgiving Jesus
DEDICATING YOUR DAY TO PEACE
"Would You Rather be Right or Happy?" T29.VII.1:9
The purpose of A Course in Miracles is to teach us how to be at peace no matter what is happening around us. It also teaches us that this is the last thing we want. One look at the state of our lives and the world will bear this out.
Why would we not want peace? There must be something we are very afraid of here - and there is. It will cost us everything we cherish. Our individuality, our specialness, our need to be right, the seeming control over our lives or, in a word, our ego. The Course defines the "ego" as the thought of separation, our desire to separate from God and do our own thing. The egos song is "I did it my way". The ego believes it knows everything needed to find happiness in the world and does not require any inner guidance thankyou. Jesus points out that we could progress quickly on the path to peace and happiness by listening to the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit, but we find the idea personally insulting (M-9.2:4). It implies that all our hard-won knowledge and experience in life counts for nothing when it comes to finding real joy. He goes further and states that if we believe we are bodies then we are insane. And how can the insane possible know how to find peace? They obviously need help from outside their deluded thought system. We are all psychotic to Jesus and all need his help to extricate ourselves from the pain and loneliness we are in.
I remember a period in my own life when I felt little trust in anyone, thought everything was up to me to do and arranged my life so that I was self-sufficient. I bought a campervan so that I always had a home and the ability to go where I liked. Now I needed help from no-one. My illusion of self-sufficiency was soon shattered, however, when the campervan developed an illusive starter motor fault. The only way I could start the van was to get a push. This meant asking for help, and not just from one person but two as the van was too heavy to be moved by one person. I found this embarrassing to do and quickly took the van to the garage for repair. Each time I did this they could find nothing wrong. Nonetheless the van still managed to break down on a regular basis, forcing me to ask for help. Looking back I see what a good lesson that was for me and I gradually learned a little about asking for help.
The only way we can return to peace is to willingly give up the ego through the practice of forgiveness and turning within for help. But the ego is our creation, an idea the sleeping Son of God once thought was a very good idea (and still does). However, as the Course points out, our "tolerance for pain may be high but is not without limit." (T-2.III.3:5). To maintain the seeming separation from God is very tiring. To be at home in Heaven but pretend we are in time and space takes a lot of effort and we slowly begin to think there must be "another way".
Each day we have a choice to make. We can say, "I want to be right and happiness is unimportant," or we can say, "I want to be happy and peaceful, I dont need to be right." We should never underestimate our desire to be right. This is how the seeming separation from God started. We thought we knew how we could have something even better than Heaven. The idea of separate beings who could play at being God sounded right. What we have discovered is a loss of peace and joy, but we dont want to admit to that, and continue to try to find that elusive happiness here in the world. We are right but no longer happy. I will give a story from my own experience here that illustrates some of the points raised here.
One night shortly before going to sleep, Salice (my late wife) and I had an argument. My ego told me I had been unfairly treated and I should separate from her by not communicating. Salices ego had apparently given her the same advice, for neither of us was now talking to the other! I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. I saw a pack of Workbook Lesson cards and felt the impulse to take one. The title of the Lesson was "I could see peace instead of this." (Lesson 34) The significance of the Lesson was not lost on me and simultaneously another line from the Course came into my mind: "Do you prefer to be right or happy?" (T29.VII.1:9) For a moment I considered my two options and then said to myself, "Id rather be right" and put the Lesson card down again. Feeling miserable but justified in my pain, I returned silently to bed and fell asleep.
In the morning I woke up still feeling separated from Salice, as she did from me. I returned to the bathroom and remembered picking up the Lesson card from the night before. Out of curiosity I read the title again, ‘I could see peace instead of this, and remembered the choice I had to be right or happy. I became still for a moment and this time I chose to be happy. I felt the impulse to share what was happening to me with Salice. She was sitting quietly at the table and as I sat down next to her I said, ‘I want to let you know that Im not handling my side of this dispute very well. At this statement Salice began to cry and we began to share honestly with each other how we had been feeling.
Through this process we were able to understand each others fear and found ourselves quickly moving into a state of mutual openness, care and affection. In the language of the Course, we had joined and felt at peace. At these moments I always wonder why I choose to be right and not happy. However, I am also aware that it is taking me a shorter time to forgive than it has done in the past. What would upset me for days may only last a few hours now. I am also aware that some issues which triggered pain in me in the past no longer affect me. Progress on the spiritual path may be measured by how much of the day is spent listening to the ego compared to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
[reprinted from "Healing the Cause - A Path of Forgiveness" Findhorn Press. ]
At the start of Chapter 30 in the Text will be found a set of very practical rules on how to achieve a peaceful day. Actually, only the first rule is needed and reminds you, once again, that you only have a choice of listening to two counsellors in your mind - the ego or the Holy Spirit. And only the Holy Spirits counsel will give you peace.
Rules for Decision
Rule 1 - Today I will make no decisions by myself.
We are always taking advice, either from the ego or the Holy Spirit. Here we are being asked to ask advice from the Holy Spirit.
Rule 2 - If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me (peaceful).
To help reinforce your learning Jesus uses rule 2 as a reminder, to be used throughout the day.
Rule 3 - I have no question. I forgot what to decide.
A major problem to be avoided is setting up your own answers to a problem which you then ask the Holy Spirit to choose between. Humility is required of us here, a willingness to be open to any answer the Holy Spirit gives us - not just the ones we want to hear.
Rule 4 - At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now.
Rules 4 to 7 are ways to return to your goal of a peaceful day if you have started listening to the voice of the ego again.
Rule 5 - And so I hope I have been wrong.
Rule 6 - I want another way to look at this.
Rule 7 - Perhaps there is another way to look at this.
What can I lose by asking?
want the peace of God.
To say these words is nothing.
But to mean these words is everything.
If you could but mean them for just an instant,
there would be no further sorrow possible for you in any form; in any place or time.
Heaven would be completely given back to full awareness,
memory of God entirely restored, the resurrection of all creation fully recognized.
Portions from A Course in Miracles®1975,
reprinted by permission of the
Foundation For A Course In Miracles® 41397 Buecking Drive, Temecula, California 92590-5668, USA
Q Creating Our Own reality
I was recently asked the question "To what extent do we create our own reality over a lifetime?". This is an interesting topic and brings up the old issue of free will versus predetermination. A number of present day teachers stress that everything is predetermined; we are simply pawns in God's great cosmic play. Some people are created as murderers whilst others are their victims and neither one has any choice in the matter. The Course, however, stresses we do have choice although its not infinite. To understand the Course's position we need to go into its teachings on time which means looking first at the metaphysics of the Course. After that we can look at what the Course says about decision-making.
Jesus states we need new ideas about time but also says how difficult it is for us to understand these ideas. Linear time is what we take as the truth, whilst Jesus tells us that time is holographic - everything is happening in one moment.
The ego uses time to preserve itself. It tells us that in the past we decided to separate from God and achieved this. To save us from the resulting overwhelming guilt, it advised us to deny this ever happened. This imagined sin in the past is experienced in the present as guilt leading to a fear of punishment in the future. All our fear stems from this unconscious guilt from a separation that never really happened.
In contrast the Holy Spirit reminds us that the "tiny mad idea" (see below) of separation was undone by the Holy Spirit the moment it was thought.
God gave His Teacher to replace the one you made, not to conflict with it. And what He would replace has been replaced. Time lasted but an instant in your mind, with no effect upon eternity. And so is all time past, and everything exactly as it was before the way to nothingness was made. The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first. And in that tiny instant time was gone, for that was all it ever was. What God gave answer to is answered and is gone. A Course in Miracles T-26.V.3:1-7
In that "tiny tick of time" the whole universe was born, evolved and died along with all the thoughts we experienced.
"All thinking produces form at some level." (T-2.VI.9:14), and so all these thoughts manifested in time and space. This is somewhat similar to parallel universes hypothesised by some quantum physicists - that all possible results of an experiment exist and the participating scientist chooses one of them to manifest. Although everything was corrected in that original instant we have chosen not to accept the Holy Spirit's correction and perversely continue as if we are still special individuals separated in space and linear time.
The world of time is the world of illusion. What happened long ago seems to be happening now. Choices made long since appear to be open; yet to be made. What has been learned and understood and long ago passed by is looked upon as a new thought, a fresh idea, a different approach. Because your will is free you can accept what has already happened at any time you choose, and only then will you realize that it was always there. For we but see the journey from the point at which it ended, looking back on it, imagining we make it once again; reviewing mentally what has gone by. TM-2.3:1-5
To help make this a bit clearer I will use a couple of analogies. There are currently available novels which give the reader a choice of which plot to develop. At the end of each chapter you choose from several plots; for example, if the hero gets married or decides to say single. You are then directed to the appropriate page and the story continues based on your previous choice of plot. A multiple, but not infinite, story line. In that original instant of seeming separation we also had an enormous, but not infinite, number of stories which we now reviewing in our time and space theatre.
Dr Kenneth Wapnick, in his excellent book, A Vast illusion - time according to a Course in Miracles, uses the analogy of the VCR. The sleeping son of God or decision-maker is sitting there watching video tapes of what occurred in that "tiny tick of time". He has a choice between two huge and equal piles of video tapes - the ego tapes and tapes of their correction by the Holy Spirit. One of the correction tapes is entitled 'Atonement' in which the sleeping son of God finally wakes up and joyfully realises he never left his Father's home and that time and space are illusions. At this point he stops the pointless practice of viewing videotapes of what has already occurred.
The purpose of the spiritual path is to speed the time of awakening. As Jesus states a few times in the workbook, we could save thousands of years (many reviews of ego tapes) if we did a particular lesson correctly. Thus time can be collapsed through forgiveness. As an example, your partner may suddenly die and leave you heartbroken. In that original instant you may have had two thoughts - to turn to drugs to alleviate the pain or dedicate your life to finding a peace that no death can take away - the choice of two videos to review. If you turn to the Holy Spirit for guidance He will urge you to review the latter and so save time.
We do not wish to see the power of our mind for then we would know that we are choosing what happens in our lives. It would be impossible to feel a victim, blame others or to experience justified anger - all things our egos love and use to maintain the ego. The Course tells us that the ego overcomes this problem by first making a decision and then immediately denying it has made it. For example, faced with a difficult decision you turn to the ego for help. It might suggest you avoid the problem by getting sick. You, the decision-maker, decide it's good advice and choose to get flu and retire to bed and thus postpone the difficult decision. The moment you decide to get the flu you immediately deny making the decision. You can no longer be blamed for postponing the decision as you are the unfortunate victim of a flu virus and are no longer in a condition to make appropriate decisions.
Due to our fixation with linear time it is hard for us to realise that all our problems are solvable instantly. The correction video has always existed and we need not delay in reviewing it.
I seem to have problems only because I am misusing time. I believe that the problem comes first, and time must elapse before it can be worked out. I do not see the problem and the answer as simultaneous in their occurrence. That is because I do not yet realise that God has placed the answer together with the problem, so that they cannot be separated by time. The Holy Spirit will teach me this, if I will let Him. And I will understand it is impossible that I could have a problem which has not been solved already. W-pI.90.3.
This also relates to the teachings in the text about the Laws of Chaos where it states there is no hierarchy of illusions, no order of difficulty in miracles. Any problem, irrespective of its seeming magnitude, has already been corrected and is simply waiting acceptance. Our job is to turn to the Holy Spirit and ask His advice on what video to review thus speeding the time to when we review, the Atonement video wherein we awake from this dream of separation.
To you who still believe you live in time and know not it is gone, the Holy Spirit still guides you through the infinitely small and senseless maze you still perceive in time, though it has long since gone. You think you live in what is past. Each thing you look upon you saw but for an instant, long ago, before its unreality gave way to truth. Not one illusion still remains unanswered in your mind. Uncertainty was brought to certainty so long ago that it is hard indeed to hold it to your heart, as if it were before you still. T-26.V.4
Some of the above material has been extracted from an article entitled "Collapsing Time" which can be found at http://www.acfip.org/art2.html
I was recently asked if our house in Australia is to be the Australian Centre for Inner Peace? I replied that it was too small to be a centre although it could accommodate small workshops. I would like to use the theme of this article to explore this question further. Can I and should I start a centre for inner peace? Drawing upon the metaphysics of the Course I find I can only relive what occurred in the “tiny tick of time” If a 'video tape' of an Australian centre for inner peace does not exist there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to create a centre for we can only review what has already happened. If there is a video tape existing I still have to choose to replay it. The only criterion for replaying it is if it would help or hinder my awakening. Jesus does not ask us to spread the word about A Course in Miracles but “to accept the atonement for ourselves” - that is, to awake from the dream of time and space and separation. I can't possibly know if it's in my highest interests to have a physical centre so I must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If there is a rightness about the project I must wait for the right timing and opportunity. If there is to be a centre at some point I will become aware of something new in my life, some current or flow that is asking me to move in a particular direction and I need to embrace it and flow with it. I have thus made a decision to accept this new direction although I do not know the final destination or the timing. The journey will be as important as the the destination on my path of forgiveness.
Every moment we are making decisions, in this we have no choice. Where we do have choice is with whom we make the decisions. No decision is made simply by ourselves. We always turn to the ego or the Holy Spirit for counsel.
And yet, you cannot (underlined) make decisions by yourself. The only question really is with what you choose to make them. That is really all. .... You will not make decisions by yourself whatever you decide. For they are made with idols (ego) or with God. And you ask help of anti-Christ (ego) or Christ, and which you choose will join with you and tell you what to do. T-30.I.14:3-9
It is here we create our own reality by choosing either the ego or the Holy Spirit as our advisor on which 'video' to review. The number of 'videos' we have to choose from is fixed and will depend on the number of choices we originally had in that "tiny tick of time". This is the predetermination part of the equation. Which 'video' we choose to review is where our free will comes into play. Our last act of free will will be to give it up and rely totally on the Holy Spirit's guidance. Only then will we experience peace as we drop forever our ego plans for happiness.
A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through listening to Wisdom that is not its own. It waits until it has been taught what should be done, and then proceeds to do it. It does not depend upon itself for anything except its adequacy to fulfil the plans assigned to it. It is secure in certainty that obstacles cannot impede its progress to accomplishment of any goal that serves the greater plan established for the good of everyone. Lesson 135
To release control of steering our own boat through life and pass the tiller to a higher power is perhaps the hardest of our lessons to learn. Jesus says it was his final lesson:
It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice (Holy Spirit) and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn. It is the final lesson that I learned, and God's Sons are as equal as learners as they are as Sons. T-5.II.3:9-11
However, each day we can practise asking the Holy Spirit which 'videos' He would prefer us to review so that we can collapse time and speed the day we choose to review the wake up video of the atonement and remember our spiritual reality and our true home in heaven.
R. Opening to the Light
Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.
from A Course in Miracles W-pI.188.1:1-4
The light, love and joy of God are ever present and wait only our acceptance. We need not earn them as they were freely given at our creation. Nor is sacrifice or suffering required. So why do we rarely experience the light?
Within the illusion of time we long ago decided separation was preferable to oneness. We entered space and time seeking happiness outside ourselves. That we have not succeeded is obvious - one look at the world clearly shows this. However, we are still optimistic and carry on searching for that elusive peace and joy. At times we find it only to see it slip away from our grasp. Our ego encourages us to keep trying not mentioning its real goal is to ensure we never succeed.
I have said that the ego's rule is, "Seek and do not find." Translated into curricular terms this means, "Try to learn but do not succeed." T-12.V.7:1-2
The ego is the thought of separation that we, the sleeping Christ, have created. It lives as long as we give it power and we will continue to do this while we think it serves us. It wants to continue and thus seeks ways to keep us believing it's worth keeping. As we begin to slowly realise that following the ego's thought system of separation brings only pain we start to turn to the Holy Spirit in our mind for help. We start to open to the light.
Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point. T-2.III.3:5-7
OBSTACLES TO THE LIGHT
The ego becomes alarmed at the direction we are starting to take and counsels us to return to him. He warns us that the Holy Spirit works for God and don't we remember we broke up Heaven, took God's power and set ourselves up in time and space where we hope God will not find us and exact his just revenge!
I have watched participants on workshops having some form of experience that brings them closer to God's love and light and then a short time after they experience some fear, depression or sickness.
As the light comes nearer you will rush to darkness, shrinking from the truth, sometimes retreating to the lesser forms of fear, and sometimes to stark terror. But you will advance, because your goal is the advance from fear to truth. T-18.III.2:1-2
On the one hand we are starting to tire of the ego's ways of attack, judgement, justified anger and victimhood but are terrified of losing our sense of identity, specialness and individuality. We are strongly attached to thinking we are a body with important roles and ambitions in the world. The notion of spiritually advancing and finally sitting on the right hand of God is very appealing. But notice something about this picture. You are still there! Duality has crept into the oneness of Heaven. This is the ego's version of spiritual growth - you take him with you to God.
In the fifth stage of the "Development of Trust" in the Manual for Teachers Jesus tells us we will all go through a "Period of Unsettling". Although we are close to the top of the ladder of trust, the Real World, we may remain a "long, long time" at this penultimate stage. Why? We need to willingly release the sense of "I", of a "me" before we can return home.
Peace and joy exist only in the state of oneness or union with God. To know this means releasing our investment in the ego's thought system of separation. Our dilemma is illustrated in the following story.
A man is swinging on a trapeze. He knows this trapeze well but is starting to tire of it. He is not happy where he is and knows he must change something. Suddenly he sees an empty trapeze swinging backwards and forwards in front of him. On closer inspection he sees his name written on the bar. He knows he must let go of his familiar trapeze before he can grasp the new one. His fear of the new and the death of the old make him want to hold onto the old trapeze with one hand whilst trying to grab the new one. An impossible task. Likewise, the ego still has a powerful hold on us whilst we are being drawn ever more strongly to the light of the Holy Spirit.
The "Obstacles to Peace" in Chapter 19 of the ACIM Text spells out the various arguments the ego will use to persuade us to stay with him. He tells us the body is valuable for what it offers and that pain "proves" that it is real and the Holy Spirit is a liar when He says it's an illusion. Death is further "proof" that the body is real and separate from God. Our attraction to guilt, attack, hate and anger also act as a defense to experiencing the love of God, which would lead to the death of the ego. The ego warns us that God is waiting at the end of our spiritual path to exact his justified vengeance (so don't go there!) Better to get caught up in the world's ambitions, know the body is the only reality and don't rock the boat.
As we slowly start to desert our ego its cries will follow us until that day dawns when we finally give up all investment in its illusions.
And the illusions subtly change. Seeing through the cruder illusions of the eg (that materialism will bring us happiness), we then fall into the trap off spiritual materialism. Yearning for God and enlightenment can keep us trapped for a long time.
The desire for truth is the highest of all desires, yet, it is still a desire. All desires must be given up for the real to be.....When all search ceases, it is the Supreme State.
from I Am That by Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Knowing we will experience fear and ambivalence on our journey is very helpful. The journey back to God is not sweetness and light. As the ego continues to rear its ugly head we can start to practise forgiveness.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not. W-pII.1.4:1-3
This quotation is asking us to look quietly at our ego and not to fix them or improve it. We are asked not to hate or love it for it is nothing, simply the absence of love which is awaiting our welcome. It must wait while we welcome the ego instead. The ego, not being real, merely needs to be observed without judgement. As we learn slowly to maintain a witness attitude to our ego's behaviour we remove our investment from it and it begins to fade. Starved of attention and guilt its food supplies shrivel and it must start to lose its grip on our minds. But as soon as we feel guilty about its behaviour or thoughts we are saying to it, "You are real, I believe in you".
This is our day in and day out practice. Not yearning for God or enlightenment. Just watching our mind and not judging what we see while asking the Holy Spirit/Jesus for help in seeing the situation peacefully. Slowly we start to smile at the ego's goings-on. "Oh, I see I want to throttle the driver who just cut me off on the road. That reminds me of the anger I felt yesterday when someone jumped the queue I was waiting patiently in. So what's new!"
Many times we will forget to forgive and ask for help. On seeing this we can still learn to smile at our lack of practice, to forgive ourselves for not forgiving.
I recently saw someone had summarised my AAA approach to forgiveness and include it below.
What is denied cannot be forgiven. Awareness of our inner world is as important as awareness of our outer world. Our egos will fight our attempts to become more aware of our darker sides. Watch thoughts without judgment - develop a "compassionate witness." The ability to watch thinking means we are not our thoughts.
What you resist persists. Acceptance dissolves guilt. Acceptance invites healing and change. Change is feared and can block forgiveness.
3. ASKING FOR HELP
Awareness and acceptance are our responsibility. A genuine desire for peace invites healing. Our inner guide completes the forgiveness process and will choose the form forgiveness takes: our job is to surrender to its guidance.
Reprinted from www.care2.com - adapted from The Findhorn Book of Forgiveness, by Michael Dawson
As we practise our daily forgiveness lessons the wall of the ego starts to fade revealing God's light behind it - a light incapable of destruction, only of being hidden. The fear of God's love for us, which will dissolve our egos, begins to fall away and we understand and follow Jesus's guidance at last:
My brother, you are part of God and part of me. When you have at last looked at the ego's foundation without shrinking you will also have looked upon ours. I come to you from our Father to offer you everything again. Do not refuse it in order to keep a dark cornerstone hidden, for its protection will not save you. I give you the lamp and I will go with you. You will not take this journey alone. I will lead you to your true Father, Who hath need of you, as I have. Will you not answer the call of love with joy? T-11.in.4.
(The theme of this article is developed in my workshop "Opening to the Light")
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