I don’t feel that I am overstating my capabilities when I say that I am a learner. Not in the traditional way of accumulating information to gain some advantage, but out of a deep curiosity about what lies beyond a self-centered perspective from which most of us view the world.
I was eleven years old the first time I had an “unusual experience” that gave me my first taste of an alternative point of view. I lived in the country, 14 miles from town, and being an only child I spent a lot of time on my own in nature. This particular time I was engaged in a favorite pastime at which I had developed great skill.
There was a river that ran through our property, and when the water was low enough, the larger rocks were exposed so that I could jump from rock to rock in a steady rhythm, running upstream like a salmon. Only one foot at a time could land on each rock and the game was to go as fast as possible without loosing my balance and dumping into the river. This particular time I suddenly found myself located outside my body in a timeless zone that was perfectly still and peaceful while my physical body kept jumping rocks. I never forgot the experience.
I was a freshman in high school the first time I heard the word enlightenment. I had no idea what it meant, but I caught the scent, like a hound on the trail of something big. The next time I was at the local library I checked out the only two books that seemed somewhat related to the topic. I remember one of the authors was Alan Watts. Nothing I read in those books satisfied my desire to know what enlightenment was. I continued my search off and on for years, knowing someday I would find something that could explain enlightenment and the timeless zone that I knew was more real than anything I had experienced since the river.
It was in the latter part of the 70’s when A Course in Miracles came into my life. I had just finished reading Jane Robert’s mind-blowing The Nature of Personal Reality which set the stage for the entrance of the Course. I immediately recognized it as the answer to my questions about why I was here, what gives meaning and purpose to life, why I was suffering and how it could end. And also how to get to the timeless zone and stay there forever.
As a beginning student of A Course in Miracles, I developed my own practice of learning. I was living in the mountains about 40 miles west of Denver so I didn’t know there were such things as study groups. As far as I knew the Course was a self study program. The only help available was through asking the inner Teacher to show me the meaning of a lesson or a complicated passage from the text. I would ask and somewhere in the course of my day there would be an incident or an encounter that would give me the understanding. The Teacher became very real for me, always answering in some form I could understand.
I started offering classes, workshops and retreats on the Course in 1986 and with a few brief sabbaticals have continued to do so until this day. Over the years I established several centers for the study of the Course, have been an itinerant teacher traveling the U.S, and most recently joined with some of my colleagues in establishing the School of Reason (now School for A Course in Miracles for students and aspiring teachers of A Course in Miracles. I also began this blog. The point of all our doings, mine or anyone else’s, is that they are a curriculum for our learning and vehicles for sharing another way.
The most repeated lesson in A Course in Miracles is “I am not a body. I am free”. Thank God, I can finally say it and know that it is true and not just some fluke that happened on the river one day. We don’t reside in a body and on some level we all know that this is true. That shift, from body to mind, is what A Course in Miracles is all about. It is a shift from a self-centered point of view to a transcendent presence that is mind. It’s a miracle.
It is not only possible to be in the world but not of it; it is essential. Our lives can reflect the ease and freedom of our real residence out of time where we are whole eternal minds in perfect communication with a non-physical universe of spirit comprised only of intangible Love.
The step out of time and into eternity (the timeless zone) calls for humility and the willingness to learn another way. We have to admit that we don’t know how to get there from here. Instead of it happening accidentally, like it did for me on the river, we have the inner Teacher that knows the way, and unlike my early experience that did not last, we can learn to reside there forever.
Here, in this world, is where our transformation takes place. We don’t die to get to Heaven. We just wake up. Enlightenment is not a place to travel to. It is right here. Right now.
School for A Course in Miracles is organized under the non-profit (501(c)3, Ark of Peace, which was founded in 1990 by school director, Lyn Corona, for the purpose of extending the message of peace through forgiveness as presented by A Course in Miracles. Since the inception of the Ark of Peace, for a few years it had a retreat center called Heaven on Earth in Pine, Colorado; a Miracles Center (1991) on South Pearl, which later moved to 924 Logan St.; The Pearl Street Abbey, a residential community for teaching and learning the Course; The Satsang Cafe, with an upper room for Course classes; and now the School for A Course in Miracles (formerly School of Reason)and the Ken Wapnick Memorial Library– all to fulfill its mission to extend the teachings of the Course.