Calling All Japanese Course Students:
Here is a wonderful website to help in understanding and applying…
“A Course in Miracles”
And for JACIM.com youtube channel…
Every first Wed. we will give a brief history of the Course, an overview of its three books, and an intro to its unique metaphysics and its non-traditional message of forgiveness. You will be presented with a basic understanding of the Course’s goal of inner peace and how to get there. And you will leave with a few simple ways to experience the Course’s process of forgiveness.
Presented by facilitators from School for A Course in Miracles (sfacim.org).
Call 720-391-9294 for info.
Come on down and check it out. Everyone is always welcome.
(By Tim Wise)
Watching the news last night really brought home to me how much relentless pain the planet seems to be in… both at home politically, and abroad (there were horrible present war-torn news clips from Iraq.)
And then there is our own personal pain: physical, emotional, psychological… sometimes in spurts, at times chronic… sometimes mild, sometimes horrific.
Is it possible to somehow transcend all this stuff, and move beyond it in our true being to a higher awareness, without being uncompassionate, uncaring, and disconnected?
A Course in Miracles discusses pain throughout the entire book, using words like suffering and pain more than 600 times. Two sections, that spend a lot of time looking at pain and its purpose, are “The Attraction to Pain” in Chapter 19, and Lessons 190, 193, 194, & 195 in the Workbook.
One of the most humiliating (to our egos anyway) and sometimes downright infuriating things that Jesus tells us about pain is this… It’s not that we don’t like pain or try to avoid it, but we are actually attracted to it. Really?
It gets worse… He continues with statements like: “In your suffering of any kind, you see your own concealed desire to kill.” (Text, p.659, par.15)
Ok, wait… back up…if that’s even possibly true: what, how… why ??
From Jesus point of view, pain is the great and grand witness to our supposed separation from Our Father. It screams our separated selves are real, and proves it by loudly proclaiming “I’m real, I exist, because look how much pain I’m in!”
(First off, don’t be a martyr. Even Mother Teresa said, if you’re in pain, take your medicine if you wish to. Jesus concurs. If you have a headache, or whatever, take an aspirin, take a walk, or do what makes you feel better. It would be silly not to.)
Unconscious pain permeates all three parts of our make-believe “Disconnect from Heaven” story of sin, guilt, and fear… each component of that saga can at least be described as incredibly painful.. the separation from Source (sin), the feeling of awfulness (guilt), and the sweat of terror of impending doom (fear).
[Click here for the Course story of how we got here.]
But what if the pain was simply made up to reinforce the seeming reality of the story. We are God’s Son after all, and our cosmic make-believe might not only seem actually real, but so real that we even convinced ourselves to believe it… especially by adding the element of pain to the drama…
“If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real , there is no God.”
(WB#190, par. 3)
Ok, ok… we sorta get the metaphysics, but what do we do now? How do we start to ‘undo’ this whole thing?
When I began working the lessons way back when, I realized one of my problems was… I didn’t consciously believe any of the Lesson titles. For example take one of the the first in-your-face lessons, WB #5 … “I am never upset for the reason I think.” Not maybe, not sometimes, but never.
Seriously? I’m always upset for the reason I think… that’s why I’m upset in the first place. I wouldn’t be upset if it were not for… ok, whatever. At least I can admit that’s what I believe. But, like Byron Katie always says in her sessions with others… “Is that true?”
So to start, I put a what if in front of the lesson (and actually all Lesson titles)… What if I’m not upset for the reason I think? Am I even a little willing to go there? Some part of me says yes. That at least opens the door for me to look at maybe another possibility.
So, what then might be the real reason I’m upset? This is when we/I definitely need to ask Jesus for help to be able to ‘see outside the box.’ My ego experience has always locked me in to blaming others for my pain… sometime myself or my own behavior, but mostly others.
What if I’m upset, in pain, feeling terrible physically or psychologically… simply because I’ve dropped Jesus hand, left my Father in Heaven, and am pretending I’m this separated thing that can feel pain and eventually die… ? Would I even be willing to entertain the possibility that I made this up?
Another reason we really need Jesus or the Holy Spirit’s help when looking at this is… not only do we not believe it, but it’s really ego-easy to begin beating ourselves up if we did choose something this stupid…. Now I’m not only in pain, plus now I’m blaming myself for creating this mess in the first place… a double whammy ! I hear myself begin the ego litany… “Bad Course student, bad… !”
But then, if I’m willing to listen and change ‘course,’ Jesus gently says to me…
“Stop, just stop. Look at me; talk to me instead. Tell me what you’re thinking. Sit with me for a while on this… then let me let you experience something else, something wonderful. Let me love you. Softly, hear me… you are not this separated alone-thing in pain. You and I are still marvelously connected to each other, and everyone else. Always have been, always will be. Be willing to feel that now, because God indeed loves us!”
Suddenly, as if someone threw a switch, I’m in a lot less pain, and I’m not as crazed as I was a moment before…
Jesus doesn’t tell me ‘no pain, no gain’…. he simply says ‘no pain… no pain.’
Ken was my teacher, living example of the Course and dear friend. My first experience of Ken was hearing a cassette of “this guy from New York who edited that course” explaining why I’d immediately forget the paragraph in the text that I just read. My last experience of Ken was at the Foundation workshop I attended last year where he once again illuminated the Course’s holy trinity: Forgiveness, Love and Joining.
I was overjoyed when the Foundation relocated to Temecula, and I could get my heart and soul refreshed and reawakened in The Oasis of Peace that Ken made the Foundation. I delighted in watching him welcome new and veteran Course students with smiles, hugs, the occasional prank and always loving attentiveness to each of us.
Ken truly brought the Course to life. I sought his help when I was in a desperate heart of darkness period. This was just one of the many conversations we had during that dark time. Through tears I said, “Ken, I feel as if I’ve painted myself into a corner and can’t get out.” Ken reflected a moment, and looking at me lovingly with his familiar impish smile said, “You don’t have to wait for the paint to dry.” I see his smile and feel his love now and always.
For an hour every Thursday morning, we will go over a couple of Course pages (lately it’s been in the WB), giving time for questions and comments. This class is online only… (the other classes listed on this website page are available both in-person and online.)
Click here for more info.
Questions? … call Tim @ 720-391-9294, and/or click here for more info on free Zoom live streaming.
Come and join us every Thursday morning online at 9:30 am for a one hour chat about the Course and its many wonderful insights into forgiveness…
You bring your coffee or tea. Lyn and Tim will give a brief presentation on a previously announced Course topic, while giving everyone time for questions and comments…
Our idea is to keep it informal and relaxed, open to both brand new folks to the Course and ongoing Course students alike.
The Meeting: it’s all live, online streaming with the free app Zoom, right in the comfort of your own surroundings. No need to get dressed up and go anywhere.
And no charge…
So the choice is yours about how you connect – computer, smartphone, tablet, or ordinary phone. Click below for more info on these four ways to attend…
PROJECTION & PERCEPTION:
Projection is the fundamental law of the wrong (ego) mind: what we believe we see inwardly (separation from God) determines what we seem to perceive outside our minds in the world. Projection reinforces and protects our inner guilt for believing we separated from Heaven, by displacing (projecting) that guilt onto someone else, and judging/condemning it in our perceived victimizers.
We then are unaware that we even have a mind, and that the actual source of our projected guilt is lurking there. We don’t realize that the problem (guilt) is not out there, but within our mind. And we also don’t realize that the answer to the made up guilt (the Holy Spirit) is in our minds too.
Projection is talked about in 22 of the 31 Chapters in the Text. It is mentioned and discussed more than 140 times throughout the entire Course, beginning in Chapter One.
The first real discussion of projection is Ch.6, p.96, par.1*,2*,3*,4,5,12.
The second is in Ch.7, p.128, par. 8-9, and p.129, par. 1 to 5.
The purpose of projection is twofold. To put it simply:
We maintain our own chosen belief we are a separated entity from God Our Father, proven by the made up experience of pain we feel for the seeming disconnection…
Then we project the source of pain outward, and now we believe the pain and guilt we feel is not coming from an inner choice, but from someone or something external. It’s their fault, not mine.
Classic Course statements about projection & perception:
“Projection makes perception.” Ch.13 p. 248, par. 3; Ch.21 p.445 par.1*
“Nothing so blinding as perception of form.” Ch. 22 p.476, par.6*
“Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.” T 21 p.445 par.1
“Beware of the temptation to perceive yourself unfairly treated.” Tp.563
“And in your suffering of any kind, you see your own concealed desire to kill.” Tp.659 par.15
This 2013 seminar discusses the dismantling of the ego’s serious thought system of sin, guilt, and fear. This is held in place by our projecting a serious world—personally and collectively—its purpose being to rivet our attention on the body. In this way we are distracted from the decision-making mind that is the source of the problem and the answer. But the ego is easily undone when we pay attention to the gentle little man (symbol for Jesus) just in back of us, always reminding us to laugh at his joke: “It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity… .” His loving presence encourages us to meet the ego’s seriousness—in all its forms—with a gentle giggle, tender tickle, and sweet smile:
The first striking thing hits us as we begin to look at these titles above!
Jesus is telling us that the very qualities or feelings that we are attracted to… are not peace, not joy, and not love.
In our make-believe separated state, he literally says we are attracted to their opposites: we are really attracted to guilt, to pain, and to death. These unrecognized attractions to terrible stuff are three of our main obstacles to peace.
But, for many of us, is that experience in our awareness? Do we really believe that?
What if it’s possibly true though?… How often have we tried at peace, love, or joy, and seemed to miss the mark? Or even if we felt them temporarily, the other shoe eventually dropped. What if just below our seeming conscious desires for peace and love… something else is going on in our minds. What if we are really trying to push them away? What if we are not upset, or attracted, or whatever, for the reasons that we consciously think? (WB Lesson #5)
Then there’s the title of the fourth obstacle, “The Fear of God!” So it gets worse… even more insulting to our egos. Not only does Jesus tell us we are attracted to some real nasty things like pain and death, but then he says that what we are really fearful of isn’t the bad stuff, to which we are attracted, but God Himself. He says that we are not really seeking for God’s Love, but we have actually convinced ourselves we are afraid of It.
So once again is that possible? Is the Course correct, as the country western song laments… we are “lookin for love in all the wrong places”… because we are truly afraid to find it?
One way of looking at the order of the four obstacles and their development is to review our Wapnick Charts and the Course’s story of how we got here in the world (or at least believing that we’re here)…
“You are not really afraid of crucifixion (we think it’s God’s payment demanded of His Son). Your real terror is of redemption.”
The Atonement principle says separation didn’t and couldn’t happen. God’s experience of love and oneness in Heaven with His Son, which is our only true Identity, does not include or know any experience of a separated state.
These four obstacles and their order are basically the ego’s story of the unholy trinity: sin, guilt, and fear, that we told ourselves and believed:
1. sin (we threw peace away),
2. guilt (the pain we feel for doing just that, now projected onto the body and its ultimate death), and
3. fear (consciously of God’s punishment, but really of God’s Love)
So the process of forgiveness is to look at and uncover each of these stages (obstacles) and be willing to let each one go, not by ourselves, but with of ‘course’ the help of Jesus or the Holy Spirit by our side.
The question that Jesus recommends that we learn to ask about anything is…”what is it for?”
From the ego’s point of view the purpose of our obstacles to peace are just that… self-chosen obstacles that are kept out of our conscious awareness, so it looks like we are running after and chasing peace, when we really are not… the Course says our self-accepted ego mantra becomes “Seek but do not find.”
The Holy Spirit’s reverse purpose, for the obstacles we made up, is to…
1. look at and acknowledge them
2. see their insanity, and the pain (the cost) for believing in them to maintain a separated identity in something that we’re not, and
3. be willing to ask for His help in seeing beyond those obstacles to the “real world” (an experience that our innocence and our brothers’ innocence is still intact, despite what we think we see and hear…)
Two of the major themes that Jesus develops throughout this entire section (and especially in the section’s intro and the ‘Lifting of the Veil’ at the end) are that the way we move through and beyond each and every obstacle is…
With the Holy Spirit’s help, to have a Holy Relationship with the Holy Spirit in our minds. This then is reflected in our relationships with all our brothers.
He tells us that the first step in connecting with the Holy Spirit’s help is always to ask ourselves… are we willing to look past our judgements of each other, with His Help, to see the true innocence within? This begins the “Lifting of the Veil” of our belief in sin, guilt, and fear, and is specifically spelled out in the Text on p.421, par.8, line 7:
With each obstacle to peace, we used our brother’s body, personality, and actions as a scapegoat for our own inner choice to get rid of peace, and then blame our guilt and pain on him. To recognize that, by asking for the Holy Spirit’s help, is the only way back in in letting go of each of these obstacles to peace, these “blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence,” that we ourselves put there and then denied. (see the Course’s Introduction on p.1 in the Text)
Another way Jesus describes as the way to start this process is in the Text, p.441, par.9. He tells us don’t even ask how too see my my brother or myself without a body… but am I willing to see past my judgements and have an experience of his and my guiltlessness.
Ego Decision*Maker Holy Spirit
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
(I separated from Heaven)
Guilt…. I am guilty! | Healing
(I feel terrible now)
Fear…. I will be punished! | Holy Instant
(Uh oh…God is after me)
Sin…. You sinned (not me)!
Guilt…. You are guilty (not me)!
Fear…. You will be punished (not me)!
What we see in the above Chart is a depiction of three different levels expressed in the Course:
The Course spends only a little time talking about Heaven, and what the experience of Heaven is like, but not too much… since that experience is beyond words, and time and space, and even the mind.
The Course also spends very little time discussing the bottom level, the world, with all its insane behaviors and judgements, which the Course insists are all illusory projections anyway and not the real problem.
However, what the Course does talk about the most is the place deep inside of us, called the mind, where we chose to believe in a separation from God in the first place. It is helpful to note (and note well!) that when the Course uses the word “mind” it never (ever) is talking about our brains and our bodies. Even more importantly, note the words “we chose to believe in separation.” It didn’t really happen. We simply chose to believe in it.
The mind is always the deeper internal “place” (not our brains and what our brains think), where we choose between one of two teachers. One the Course calls the ego or the voice for our belief in separation. The other is the Holy Spirit, God’s Voice for sanity that says separation is impossible.
The overall Course story (myth, if you will) goes something like this:
Once upon a time, we were all sitting around in Heaven as God’s One Son. The Course tells us that in Heaven there is no place where God the Father ends, and God the Son begins… whatever that oneness is, it’s not anything like what we experience in our world of time and space.
Then what seemed to happen is the Son of God pretended to step outside of Heaven, and play with the thought of separation. We say “seemed” because the Course’s Atonement Principle is that the separation never, and could never have, happened.
There were then two reactions to this “tiny mad idea of separation”. One, the part of our mind the Course calls the Holy Spirit (right mind), said that idea is impossible and silly and could not take place.
The other part of mind the Course calls ego (wrong mind), said yes: we want to pretend separation is true… take it seriously… believe it… and run with it.
And of those two reactions or voices, the part of mind that chooses between these two (Ken Wapnick uses the term “Decision Maker”), chose to listen to the ego. This all took place in the internal place inside of us that the Course consistently calls mind.
The Story of Sin, Guilt, and Fear
In choosing to take the TMI (tiny mad idea of separation) seriously and listen to the ego, we then made up an ongoing separation story, and chose to believe each part of its three part narrative: (1) sin, (2) guilt, and (3) fear. But it was all “make-believe.” In other words we made it up, and then distracted ourselves with each part of the story into believing it.
These three steps (of sin>guilt>fear) mistakenly “proved” to ourselves that we had really separated from our Father in Heaven.
(Once again, mind is a part of us beyond time and space, beyond behavior in the world, and our identification as personalities with brains and bodies. The Course talks about and uses the word mind more than two thousand times.)
All this was the motivation for us to leave the realm of the mind and escape “God’s wrath.” This precipitated in what scientists today call the Big Bang, the beginning of the entire physical universe of time and space. The Course calls this universe of form “the world.” We basically took our awareness of ourselves as one gigantic separated Son of God, and then seemed to”explode” our consciousness into a billion billion parts. We fantasized an entire universe of tiny atoms, molecules, cells, and bodies… all the way up to star systems and floating galaxies.
In doing this we achieved two goals in our separation story;
The “beauty” of this, from the ego’s point of view, is that now we are totally convinced we are individual bodies in the world… with no awareness at all that we have a mind and that we could actually go inside and choose another Voice (the Holy Spirit’s) and be taught that this is all made up.
Forgiveness: “The Way Back”
This is when the Course comes along and says things like Workbook Lesson #5: “We are never upset for the reason we think.”
And Lesson #34, “I could choose peace instead of this”… by going inside and asking the Holy Spirit for help to see it another way.
Meaning: It is possible for me to have an actual experience where I realize that all this separation and pain is made up. These separate identities and bodies are not who we truly are. And even though I’m still seeing images of separation in the world, I can experience peace right here, right now, by asking the Holy Spirit for help in realizing this. “I’m not a victim of the world I see.” (Lesson # 31)
And that, in a nutshell, is the Course’s process of “Forgiveness.” It is also synonymous with the words “Healing” & “Holy Instant” in the Chart under the “Holy Spirit.”
I don’t forgive you or myself for what either of us did behaviorally…
But I forgive: by asking for Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit’s help, I am willing to let go of believing we are separated minds living in separated vulnerable bodies that could attack each other and ourselves in the first place… I become aware that our real connection and innocence as One Son of God is still intact, no matter what you or I do behaviorally as bodies. Our holiness and wholeness as God’s One Son is, and always will be, who we truly are. (Click here for discussion of these “Three Steps of Forgiveness.”)
Then I can share that profound awareness with everyone I meet or think about… not necessarily verbally, but with a simple, gentle, and kind inner awareness.