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Articles Written by me Based on A Course in Miracles

Articles écrits par moi et basés sur Un Cours en Miracles  (French translations of my articles)

New 128 page eBook - articles plus bonus chapters from Healing the Cause & The Findhorn Book of Forgiveness

Part 6

ARTICLES INDEX


1. Giving Up Judgement

2. Beyond good and bad

3. What Am I?

4. Reality Versus Thinking

5. Can we stop thinking?

6. The Seeker’s Quest - A Story

7. What is Forgiveness

8. The number one requirement for awakening is to desire it above all else.




1. Giving Up Judgement

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgement.
A Course in Miracles. T-3.VI.3.

We are addicted to judgement; it is the food of the ego. It maintains the seeming separation. The ego is the thought that the separation is real. And we, as the sleeping sons of God, relish this thought and strive to keep it alive by judging.

If we stop judging ourselves or others this dream of seeming separation will start to seem less real. Our beloved individuality and uniqueness will seem less solid and fear will arise. Who are we without our ego? How can we function without a sense of a separate self?

To judge anyone is to see them as an ego, as a body.
To see another as an ego (separate) is to reinforce the ego in oneself and thus lose our peace - an example of what you give (teach) you receive (learn).

One powerful definition of forgiveness in the Course is:
Forgiveness... is still, and quietly does nothing. .... It merely looks, and waits, and judges not.
W-pII.1.4:1,3

This means we stop labeling what we observe in ourselves and in the world.
No more good and bad. It's the ego that takes sides. No right or wrong.

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
William Shakespeare

This does not mean we do not act when confronted by actions that could lead to suffering. If we witness a child being severely beaten what do we do? If we judge and label the beater ‘wrong’ and  ‘bad’ our heart has closed, leaving the ego to make the decision, which is a guarantee of the wrong response. Without the judgement our heart stays open, allowing ourself to be guided by spirit. We will not know what we will do ahead of time but it will be appropriate.

I was told a story by a woman who was abducted by two men and taken to a forest to be raped. When they got out of the car they approached her. As she looked at them all judgement ceased and she heard herself saying "You two must have suffered a lot." One broke down and cried and they put her back into the car and returned her safely to her home. She had not planned to say that, it just happened.

How can we know the history of those two men. What pain they had suffered?

It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot.  ... he puts himself in a position where judgement through him rather than by him can occur.
M-10.2.

Only the Holy Spirit knows how to judge.

And this judgement is neither "good" nor "bad."  It is the only judgement there is, and it is only one: "God's Son is guiltless, and sin does not exist."

In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgements on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his  judgement would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?
M-10.3.

Thus ego judgement must always get it wrong.

The Course does not ask us to drop all judgement, only value judgements - right and wrong, good and bad. You need judgement to decide many things during your day. What to wear and eat, how to get to a certain location, etc. But these are not value judgements.

Through awareness you start to observe the constant value judgements we have - both of ourselves and others. Don't try to eliminate all these or the guilt level will only increase as we hopelessly fail. Rather, try to observe the judgements without judging them. In this way they start to slowly lose their effect. Some Course students think we should stop judging and have an observant eye on other students and are happy to inform them when they are judging.

It is far better to learn to smile at the ego's judgements than to try to suppress them. The ego hates not to be taken seriously, as it feels you do not take it as real - which it isn't.

The Holy Spirit is the only true Judge.

There is Someone with you Whose judgement is perfect. He does know all the facts: past, present and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgement on everyone and everything involved in any way.  And He is who  wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.
M-10.4.

Thus the Holy Spirit's judgement is a win-win judgement. He does not see anyone deserving punishment - only, as the Course states, people asking for love or giving love. This is the highest judgement and this learning goal awaits us at the end of our journey.

Therefore lay judgement down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude. Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it. And it was all illusion. Nothing more. Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on. Yet it is not only this that is his benefit. His sense of care is gone, for he has none. He has given it away, along with judgement.
M-10.5.

It is not difficult to relinquish judgement. But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it.
M-10.6.

Depression follows judgement. We may not experience depression at the moment of our seemingly justified anger but it will always follow. Deep down we know our judgement is dishonest. What we hate in ourselves we deny and project out onto others. We are not the evil one, they are.
Thus we try to escape our guilt by making others guilty. Unless we have compassion for another’s behaviour we carry that ‘sin’ in ourselves.

Anger is always a red flag to something unhealed in ourselves. And the stronger our illusion the more we need to defend it. There is no righteous anger.

When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired.       
When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are. All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. The strain of constant judgement is virtually intolerable. It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished.
T-3.VI.5.

Slowly we start to see that no one gains by judging. We begin to see our judgements as clear signals of what is unhealed in ourselves. Instead of judging what we see within we slowly start to smile at our insane egos. Taking the ego less seriously it starts to wither away, revealing the joy and peace we eternally carry: our uncaused state of happiness. Finding that we lose our happiness by judging we naturally learn the futility of judging and also the healing we can give from an open heart - to ourselves and others.

The teacher of God  lays it (judgement) down happily the instant he recognizes its cost. All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome. All of the pain he looks upon is its result. All of the loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it....Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace. Can it be difficult to want but this?
M-10.6.

The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness.
T-23.I.1.

The release of judgement brings not only peace, but the remembrance of who we are. Forgiveness ends judgement, clearing a space in our minds for God to enter. Once we remember we are eternal, formless, perfect spirit we will know that all living things share this and judgement becomes impossible.

Forget not that the motivation for this course is the attainment and the keeping of the state of peace. Given this state the mind is quiet, and the condition in which God is remembered is attained.
T-24.in.1.


2. Beyond Good and Bad

.... for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
from Shakespeare's Hamlet.

To judge anyone is to forget they are the eternal, formless, perfect Spirit (Christ) that God created and to see them as a body, an ego.
To see another as an ego is to reinforce the ego in ourselves and thus lose our peace - an example of what you give (teach) you receive (learn).     

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgement.
A Course in Miracles T-3.VI.3.

We believe we are qualified to judge, we know what is right and wrong. Our culture, family, religion, society have educated us in this matter.
The Course disagrees with us:                                                              
It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot.... he puts himself in a position where judgement through him rather than by him can occur. And this judgement is neither "good" nor "bad." It is the only judgement there is, and it is only one: "God's Son is guiltless, and sin does not exist."
M-10.2.

Only the Holy Spirit knows how to judge and He only sees people either asking for love or giving it. There is no sin, only error. If our actions could change what God created - the Christ - then it could be said there is sin. But what God created is outside time, (the ego's invention) and thus can't be changed.

 In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgements on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgement would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?
M-10.3.

Thus ego judgement must always be wrong. This is not to say we must not make judgements in practical things e.g. what to eat and wear. The Course is referring to 'value judgements' - what is right and wrong, good or bad.

There is Someone with you Whose judgement is perfect. He does know all the facts; past, present and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgement on everyone and everything involved in any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.
M-10.4.   

The Holy Spirit does not take sides. His judgement is always win-win. Taking sides is the hallmark of the ego. It is an interesting exercise to watch the news and see how often we label persecutors as wrong and bad, deserving of punishment as opposed to healing. An enlightened society would seek to heal and not punish criminals. Despite appearances everyone is try their best.

Therefore lay judgement down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude. Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it. And it was all illusion. Nothing more. Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on. Yet it is not only this that is his benefit. His sense of care is gone, for he has none. He has given it away, along with judgement.
M-10.5.   

The following true story from Kenneth Wapnick, a teacher of A Course in Miracles, illustrates the blessing given and received when right and wrong are dropped. Our judgements keep our hearts closed and when we release them our heart wisdom and love can flow out to any situation in the world.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Plato

The Burglar
 from The Meaning of Forgiveness  by Kenneth Wapnick.

Several years ago, I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sudden realization there was someone standing in my room.  After the momentary shock, I remembered “there is nothing to fear” (workbook lesson 48), and calmly asked my uninvited guest:  “What can I do for you?”  The situation was not obscure, however.  It was clear that the man was on drugs and desperately needed money for his next fix;  burglars rarely enter occupied apartments.  He threateningly held his hand in his jacket as if he had a gun, to punctuate his demand.  My defenselessness seemed to change the atmosphere in the room, however, and the man soon began apologizing for having broken in and disturbing my sleep.  I gave him whatever money I had in my wallet, and the man paused as he took it and then returned a couple of dollars, saying:  “This is all your money, I can’t leave you with nothing.”  And he went on apologizing.  I assured him it was all right, and urged him to do what he had to do.  As I ushered the man to the hall, waiting with him for the elevator, I said:  “God bless you.”  HIs final words as he disappeared into the elevator were:  “Please pray for me.”  I assured him I would, although I knew that this holy encounter had been the prayer.  No injustice had been done, for there had been no real loss.  The amount of money was small “price” indeed for the blessing of forgiveness that had been given and received as one.

Some of our most strongly held values of right and wrong are in our sexual attitudes. The ego identifies the body as its home and takes it very seriously - what the Course refers to as "the hero of the dream"(lesson 185). Certain parts of the body are given special and important significance and can only be touched by the "right" people. The joining of two bodies is seen by some as a 'holy' act and thus of great significance, whilst the Course points out that only minds can join.

Yet if we study different cultures we soon find different and sometimes opposite views on what is considered important. Certain tribes find kissing repugnant. Some societies allow more than one wife or husband. In parts of Tibet a woman not only marries a man but all his brothers. Some Inuits share their wives with their friends.
Who is 'right' and who is 'wrong'?

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there. 
Rumi
Religion is another area where there are strongly held values of right and wrong such that much persecution has been perpetrated and wars fought to try to establish the 'right' belief. The Course points out that there is no difference between those who believe in God and those who don't as neither actually knows the truth. The aim of the Course is that through forgiveness our minds will quieten and we will remember God and know. Only those who don't know have beliefs and to make themselves feel secure want others to share them. Jesus challenged the beliefs of his time causing great insecurity and thus had to be killed.

Nor is belief in God a really meaningful concept, for God can be but known. Belief implies that unbelief is possible, but knowledge of God has no true opposite.
P-2.II.4.

The following true story from Byron Katie illustrates the power of dropping value judgements, being in the present moment, and allowing the heart-wisdom or Holy Spirit to guide her.

A man sticks a pistol into my stomach, pulls the trigger back, and says, "I'm going to kill you." I am shocked that he is taking his thoughts so seriously. To someone identified as an I, the thought of killing causes guilt that leads to a life of suffering, so I ask him, as kindly as I can, not to do it. I don't tell him that it's his suffering I'm thinking of. He says that he has to do it, and I understand; I remember believing that I had to do things in my old life. I thank him for doing the best he can, and I notice that I'm fascinated. Is this how she dies? Is this how the story ends? And as joy continues to fill me, I find it miraculous that the story is still going on. You can never know the ending, even as it ends. I am very moved at the sight of sky, clouds, and moonlit trees. I love that I don't miss one moment, one breath, of this amazing life. I wait and wait. And in the end, he doesn't pull the trigger. He doesn't do that to himself.
A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are
By (author) Byron Katie, With Stephen Mitchell

There is a temptation to believe that perhaps some 'good' and 'right' thoughts are really true and aligned with God's purpose for this world. Surely God would like us to start a healing centre or a Course in Miracles centre, publish books, give healings, help the poor? If we are called from within to do this we need to realise there is nothing 'holy' about this but our path of forgiveness. One persons path of forgiveness may be to sweep the streets another's to write books on healing. The Course gives a powerful warning on this;

Anything in this world that you believe is good and valuable and worth striving for can hurt you, and will do so. Not because it has the power to hurt, but just because you have denied it is but an illusion, and made it real. And it is real to you. It is not nothing.  ... Who can believe illusions are the same, and still maintain that even one is best?
T-26.VI.1.

The Course is written on many levels, there is something for everyone. This can lead to seeming contradictions in some of the statements unless this is held in mind. The following quote could be described as an "end of the line teaching" for those who are ready for it. It asks us to let go of what we consider right or wrong, good or bad and to go as far as releasing ALL concepts, even those in the Course. The Course does teach concepts but only to replace they painful ones we hold. In the end even these must be let go.

This will create a great emptiness in our minds such that finally the truth can enter and teach us Who we really are. With this our virtual life of believing our thoughts and judgements as truth will finally end, and peace and quiet joy will awaken in us.

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God. 
Lesson 187



What Am I?

 

Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the escape from concepts.

A Course in Miracles T-31.V.14-3

 

Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 per cent of everything you think, and of everything you do, is for yourself — and there isn't one. Wei Wu Wei, (Terence Gray)

In our dreams last night we enacted certain roles, had experiences and were certain of who we were. On waking we see that nothing of the dream was real including ourselves. But did we awake this morning?

Dreams show you that you have the power to make a world as you would have it be, and that because you want it you see it. And while you see it you do not doubt that it is real. Yet here is a world, clearly within your mind, that seems to be outside. You do not respond to it as though you made it, nor do you realise that the emotions the dream produces must come from you. It is the figures in the dream and what they do that seem to make the dream. You do not realise that you are making them act out for you.... You seem to waken, and the dream is gone. Yet what you fail to recognise is that what caused the dream has not gone with it. Your wish to make another world that is not real remains with you. 
A Course in MiraclesT-18.II.5.

What keeps the dream going is that the world of separation, specialness and uniqueness can only operate in a dream state. If we want to be separate we must dream for separation cannot occur in Heaven, a state of perfect oneness.

You dwell not here, but in eternity.You travel but in dreams, while safe at home.  
T-13.VII.17:6-7

You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awaking to reality. 
T-10.I.2:1

As we grow older many of us realise that much of the world of separation is painful and is no longer attractive. However, if some parts of the dream still seem attractive the dream will continue so we can fulfil these desires. We have forgotten that it is the absence of desire which brings happiness, our natural state.

And what you seem to waken to is but another form of this same world you see in dreams. All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. Their content is the same. They are your protest against reality, and your fixed and insane idea that you can change it. 
T-18.II.5.

We have rejected the perfect oneness of Heaven believing we can create something better. We want to be God and not God's Son. We know better than God and want to prove it and, given enough time and lives, we hope to achieve our goal.

But who is this "I" that thinks it can improve on God's creation? This question is rarely asked as it seems obvious who we are equating ourselves with (mind, body and emotions). When we seek to go deeper and enquire who we are we cannot find any real, eternal "I". Just thoughts, feelings and physical sensations but nobody who has them. What is found is awareness but nobody who is aware.

 

 

The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that. It does not battle with the Son of God. It does not hurt him, nor attack his peace. It has not changed creation, nor reduced eternal sinlessness to sin, and love to hate. What power can this self you made possess, when it would contradict the Will of God?

W-pI.93.5.     

 

The "I"or me is as much a part of the dream as the rest of the dream. We are simply a thought in our heads. To find out who we really are we have to let go all that we have thought ourselves to be.

 

Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.

W-pI.189.7.   

 

We have great resistance to letting go our self image. It's who we have taken ourselves to be. As Byron Katie has asked "Who would you be without your story?" 

 

One day, I discovered I didn't need a personal history, so, like drinking, I dropped it. 
Carlos Castaneda in Tales of Power

Our life story may be positive or negative. It does not matter as it creates our identity which we cherish and are loath to release. It seems like suicide to let our image and history go

 

The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt. There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this: 

 

I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself. Yet in this learning is salvation born. And What you are will tell you of Itself.

T-31.V.17.

 

The word What in the last sentence above is capitalised to indicate Spirit. When we have at last emptied ourselves of who we thought we were a space is created for the Holy Spirit to tell us who we really are - the Christ - which is eternal, formless and perfect. This is a return to wholeness and Oneness and the death of separation. In losing our false self we become the Self. We are simultaneously nothing and everything. It is like a character on a cinema screen realising she is just an image made by light as is everything on the screen. Although things appear separate it is all an illusion. The one light illumines all the images on the screen. She realises her true reality is the lightbulb in the projector (God).

 

When I look within and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom.

When I look without and see that I am everything, that is love.

And between these two, my life turns.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

The Holy Spirit, ever practical in His wisdom, accepts your dreams and uses them as means for waking. You would have used them to remain asleep. I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams.

T-18.II.6.

 

The ego greatly fears its end and so the Course mentions we gradually awake from nightmares, to happy dreams of forgiveness until we are ready for the full awakening - the Real World. This does not mean the death of the body, but the realisation we are not the body, mind or emotions. We become aware that we are awareness. Our natural state of peace and quiet joy returns to our awareness. Our body is now used as a loving tool of communication as we extend God's love and wisdom into the world.

 

God whose love is every where can’t come to visit unless you aren’t there. Angelus Silesius



Reality Versus Thinking

 
You dwell not here, but in eternity.
You travel but in dreams, while safe at home.
A Course in Miracles T-13.VII.17:6-7





Thoughts (clouds) appear that are mistaken for reality.
Reality can only be now whilst thoughts are about the past or future.


Most people's minds are continually filled with thoughts of which over 90% are repetitive.
We live in a virtual reality and the natural state is obscured and forgotten.
Only when these thoughts are not taken seriously will they die from lack of attention and allow peace and joy to return to their awareness.





If you judge something you make it real.
You cannot forgive and judge.
If you don't judge you don't take it seriously.
Not taking your thoughts seriously undoes the ego by starving it to death.
Thus the Course asks us to smile gently at our ego thoughts, to look without judgement.
This is forgiveness.

Forgiveness  ... is still, and quietly does nothing. .... It merely looks, and waits, and judges not. W-pII.1.4:1,3

A Course in Miracles introduces new concepts or beliefs to help undo the painful ones. But eventually even these must be let go.

Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God. L.189

As we learn to lose interest in thoughts and concepts that have no practical significance we make room for the truth to dawn in our awareness.

All that is asked of you is to make room for truth. You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognize again the presence of what you thought you gave away.  T-21.II.7.    


Can we stop thinking?

A quiet mind is all you need. 
All else will happen rightly,
once your mind is quiet.
 As the sun on rising makes the world active,
so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind.
 In the light of calm and steady self-awareness,
inner energies wake up and work miracles
without any effort on your part.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj -


This question is bound to arise on the spiritual path. We are told in many spiritual traditions when the mind becomes quiet, then spirit or God can enter us. As our awareness deepens, we can't help but notice a continuous train of thought in our mind. I'm not talking here about practical thinking, which is necessary. The American teacher Adyashanti refers to this type of mind as "toolbox mind". It's the other 99% of our thinking that I am referring to..

Today He speaks to you. His Voice awaits your silence, for His Word can not be heard until your mind is quiet for a while, and meaningless desires have been stilled.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 125.

The memory of God comes to the quiet mind. 2 It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness.
A Course in Miracles. T-23.I.1.

The miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still.
A Course in Miracles T-28.I.11.

It is easy to make the mistake of trying to make your mind stop thinking. In my early 20s I was following the path of Buddhism. I signed up for a seven- day meditation retreat - vipassana meditation. In this retreat we were supposed to watch our mind as much as possible, just noting the thoughts going by. This was meant to be a silent week, apart from our morning interviews with the meditation master.

Each day began with a one and half hour group meditation starting at 6 a.m. in a hut in the garden, then solitary meditation in one's room and in the gardens until the final group meditation at 7.30. At 9 o'clock we were allowed to just give up and relax. I went with the intention of clearing my mind of all thoughts. Big mistake! I was astonished at how little control I had over the thoughts passing through my mind, and stopping them was a virtual impossibility. Yet I tried as hard as I could, exhausted myself as well as becoming disappointed in myself. To make matters worse the group meditation hut in the garden had a metal roof. Birds and squirrels were continually running over it during the meditation. Some of my thoughts included "Why did they build this hut in this garden for goodness sake!".

Thinking happens. (This could become a new bumper sticker.) It will probably always happen — on its own, as it were. The option is NOT think versus decline to think. The option is, see that thought is occurring OR enter into it as though it were real life. Learn to see thinking as a phenomenon, just that. To stay outside of it and just let it do its thing, without your getting into the ring with it. You don't have to humor every thought. Jan Frazier

On the third evening of the retreat, while sitting in this hut, I just gave up. "Let the birds and animals run as much as they like over my head," I thought. Suddenly my mind became very quiet and memories from very early childhood began to surface. They were so interesting I started thinking again and off I went. But I had learned something important: to surrender, to give up control, seemed to be a doorway to a quieter mind.

Another time on the retreat was one evening approaching 9p.m., the time when we could, so to speak, stop being aware. I was looking forward to 9 o'clock. At the stroke of nine I collapsed on the bed and fell instantly into an amazing state of awareness. I could watch thoughts coming in, saying "My goodness this really is awareness!" But I still remained the quiet observer, and was not attached to these thoughts. It was very peaceful and without any effort. I was reminded of my earlier insight that I received in the meditation hut - surrender!

All the life you’ve ever lived occurred in a now. The rest of it is dry cardboard in the mind. Only you keep trying to invest it with reality. The mind thinks up a thought, and the ego invests it with reality. That’s what we do. But there’s nothing that says it has to be that way. The mind could think up a thought and you could just leave well enough alone, declining to take that next step. Jan Frazier

I like to meet and read about people who seem to have had a permanent awakening, and have lost their sense of personal identity, feeling at one with everything. Do they still have thoughts they don't really need? Yes, it appears that they do. However, they seem to have far fewer thoughts than they did before their awakening. Finding themselves in the now they have few thoughts about the past and future which consumes a lot of our thinking. They have dropped the thoughts of judgement which also take up a much of our thinking. Losing the sense of personal self and feeling one with everyone means there's no one left to judge, as everyone and everything is actually them.

When the teacher Jack O'Keefe was asked about this she said, "Yes there are still some thoughts. It's like having a radio on in the background. You know it's playing but your not interested in listening to what is saying". Another time she referred to these thoughts as the surf noise in the background when you're staying near the sea. You know the sound is there but you pay no interest.

When Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked if he still had old selfish ego thoughts he replied "Yes, occasionally one does appear in my mind. I see it arise, I give it no attention, and it just dies away."

But what about how "good thoughts"? Should we not hold on to them? Here is what the Course tells us:

In selecting the subjects for the application of today's idea, the usual specificity is required. Do not be afraid to use "good" thoughts as well as "bad." None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. The "good" ones are but shadows of what lies beyond, and shadows make sight difficult. The "bad" ones are blocks to sight, and make seeing impossible. You do not want either.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 4

Thought is at a remove from life. Period. It will never be otherwise. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “true” thought or a “good” thought. (The ego doesn’t like that.) The only useful thing to do in relation to a presently-occurring thought is to see what it is: a thing produced by the mind. Not to step into it and live within it, as if a play could become life itself. When the play is being lived in, life is being missed.
Jan Frazier

We are clearly being told here to let go of our attachment to all non-practical thinking. These thoughts just get in the way of discovering our spiritual identity. So, what to do?

You need not stop thinking. Just cease being interested. It is disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all.
Nisargadatta Maharaj

The Course encourages us to be patient with ourselves, smile gently at our ego thoughts, to let them come and go with an effort not to become interested in them. Here is Jesus's reply to Helen Schucman, the scribe of A Course in Miracles, when she asked Jesus to get rid of her fear thoughts.

The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate. At that level you can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind's miscreations.
A Course in Miracles. T-2.VI.4.   

We need to wait and watch. Hoping that these endless thoughts will start to die down with this practice is just another thought we get caught with. A large percentage of our thinking can be taken up with what we think is right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly. These are all ego judgements and we can become very attached to them.

  ........  for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Hamlet. Shakespeare

As we learn to give up these thoughts we will start to experience the peace that the Course teaches.

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.
A Course in Miracles. T-3.VI.3.


6. The Seeker’s Quest - A Story

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. Light is not of the world, yet you who bear the light in you are alien here as well. The light came with you from your native home, and stayed with you because it is your own. It is the only thing you bring with you from Him Who is your Source. It shines in you because it lights your home, and leads you back to where it came from and you are at home.
A Course in Miracles. Lesson 188

Once upon a time there was a land called Noisy. All the people who lived there spent most of their time being noisy. Everywhere they travelled they made noise. It was natural for them, for it was all they ever knew. Some people were a bit more noisy than other people and sometimes they were judged for that. But, bottom line, they were all noisy. When the noisy people came together they all created more noise.

One day a group of noisy people were talking together when one of them said that he had heard there was something called ‘silence’. The people wondered what that could be? Most of the people thought there could not be such a thing and laughed at the idea. The person who had first spoken about it claimed that he had had brief moments of silence. He said they were wonderful, peaceful and joyful. But then the noise would return again. Most people listening to him thought he was a fool and laughed at him.

One of the noisy people became interested in what he had heard. Somehow he felt that there was some truth in what this man said. He could not even explain it to himself, just at some level of his being it seemed to ring true and to be possible. He thought he would try to find this silence. He became a silence seeker.

He started to spend more and more of his time reading about silence, going to workshops on silence and  traveling to places where he thought he might find the silence. He went to temples and mountaintops. He did have his brief moments of silence and he saw and felt how wonderful it was. Always the noise would return, however.

He knew he had to redouble his efforts if he were to be successful. More and more books were appearing about how to find the silence. He consumed them. He particularly liked the books (and these were the ones that sold the most) that stated you could actually possess the silence along with your noise. You could add the silence to the noise and have the best of both worlds. They gave all sorts of ways and techniques for success. This was very appealing -  he could still be noisy and then add the bonus of silence to himself.

There were also some rather disturbing books and workshops that said if the silence is to be, the noise cannot be there as well. But he was the noise! They seemed to be asking him to commit suicide if he was to know the silence! This can't be true, he thought. So he decided to return to the other popular books and workshops. He now felt much safer and was joyfully looking forward to the day when he would find that silence and add it to himself.

It takes humans a long time to realize that there is no concept for God and no direction to Him. The oneness we crave dissolves the moment we set ourselves on a path. To stop in the oneness requires dissolution of ourselves, so we keep moving on our path hastily.
MG

Remember: if you can cease all restless activity, your integral nature will appear .... live a quiet and simple life, free of ideas and concepts.
Hua Hu Ching

One of the popular approaches he was taught was that when he was making noise he needed to fight and suppress it. He did have moments of success but always the noise would return again, and sometimes it would be even noisier. When he spoke about this to his teachers they told him to redouble his efforts and try even harder to suppress the noise. So he continued and tried even harder but always the same results - some success followed by return of the noise.

He eventually became dispirited, feeling this was all very unfair considering the efforts he was making. One day he became so tired with all this seeking, all this effort, he just gave up. He said to himself that obviously he was failure and that there was no point continuing. At that moment there was a wonderful burst of deep silence that flooded his awareness. He was absolutely amazed. He realised his true nature was silence and not noise. He had stopped doing anything to achieve silence and there it was! He was so excited at what had just happened the noise returned again. But he had seen something, tasted something, that was much deeper than before. The silence came when he gave up searching for silence!

There was a great clue here. He started to visit and study the people who lived in the silence. He observed that they only made brief noises to communicate with others. They all seemed to have the same message for him: don't fight the noises that you make. They asked him to simply listen to the noises he makes, not to try to change them, gently smile at the noises, accept them and start to lose interest in them.

You are where your mind is. Escape from the thought sphere, therefore, is the imperative. It is not accomplished by killing the mind, resisting thought or similar acts. Instead, it happens quite naturally by removing attention from thoughts. Without the energy of attention, thought dies. You need not stop thinking. Just cease being interested. It is disinterestedness that liberates. Don't hold on, that is all.
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

He learnt that this is a process over time. The noises will continue to return but without feeding them with attention they will start to wither and die away. You will not need to control and suppress them, they will simply start to stop arising. They are only there because you're interested in them and think they bring you something. But if you just step back and watch them quietly, with no judgement, with a lack of interest in what they offer, they will simply fade away.

Forgiveness  ... is still, and quietly does nothing. .... It merely looks, and waits, and judges not.  A Course in Miracles W-pII.1.4:1,3

As the noise begins to die, the silence which is always there will start to appear in awareness. He realised that when he gave up seeking, by being exhausted in his search, he stopped being noisy. He saw that fighting the noise, trying to suppress the noise, was just making more noise. He was using noise to fight noise - no wonder it never worked! More effort resulted in more noise. He laughed at himself, all these years of fighting noise, the discipline, the effort, was just more noisy behaviour.

What he realised is that it was important to stop the battle and to relax. Yes, the noises were still there, but he was learning to smile at them more and not to judge himself for having noise. At times he would get caught up in noise again and it would take some while until he became aware of what had happened. He learned not to feel guilty. There was a certain effort required in awareness, but this felt so much more gentle and easy, pulling back into awareness after catching himself being noisy again. He smiled in recognition that he'd fallen back into the old trap of being interested in the noise which allowed him to be gentle with himself and move back into a space of simply watching the noises he made.

Gradually he learned not to indulge in the noises so much, or feed them with his interest. He was content to wait and watch until the time came and the noise no longer held his interest. Gradually more and more of his time was spent in the silence and when he needed to make a noise to communicate the noise came from the silence and carried its wisdom and peace.

His early goal of adding the joy of silence to his noise was seen as impossible. Silence and noise cannot coexist together. He had spent years trying to achieve this impossible goal. Although it had not been necessary, he also realised he still had to do it before he could see the hopelessness of that approach. Those years of seeking were not wasted. He saw that he had to exhaust himself as a seeker of silence before the silence could dawn in his awareness.

As the silence deepened there were times he experienced fear. The fear was connected with the insight that to permanently enter the silence the noise must die. But he was identified with the noise - who was he without being noise? It seemed to be in invitation to death, to suicide.

Every man fears this Nothingness, because when he comes into contact with it, he becomes it in the same way as flame engulfs whatever it touches. Then, he is no longer something distinct.
Wu Hsin

This fear held him back from a deeper, permanent realisation about the truth of who he really was. The silence always existed, it was eternal, and there could be no noise without silence; silence was the eternal background to everything, was always there although not recognised.

The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them.  There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are.  It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound.  Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is.  When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt.  There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this:

 I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself.

 Yet in this learning is salvation born.  And What you are will tell you of Itself.
A Course in Miracles  T-31.V.17.   

The ones who had entered the silence and now lived there were aware of this fear. They counselled him that his fear was unreal, that all he would actually lose was an illusion of who he thought he was. They gently encouraged him on, to release his identification with noise and to surrender into the silence. They told him he would lose nothing and gain everything. When he needed to make noises to communicate that would happen naturally and spontaneously. He would not lose that ability, instead it would be greatly improved and effortless. He would now live his life from the silence, and the love and the wisdom that were there would now guide his life. There would no longer be effort or decisions to be made. He would know what to do, when to speak and where to go without ever having to think about it. His guide now would be the silence, that was all he would ever need.

Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and quiet in your body.  Then, when all these are quiet, don’t do anything.  In that state truth will reveal itself to you. 
Kabir

Gently, gently, I trained my mind to suspend its processes and thoughts. Then (in the windless calm), the flame of the Lamp, shining steady and bright, Revealed my true nature unto me.
Lalla
  


 

What is Forgiveness? 

From the perspective of A Course in Miracles.

by Michael Dawson

 

You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment.

A Course in Miracles

T-3.VI.3.

 

The purpose of forgiveness is to cause our minds to become quiet, so the memory of God can return to our awareness. With this will come an uncaused peace and quiet joy, our natural state.

 

The memory of God comes to the quiet mind.  It cannot come where there is conflict, for a mind at war against itself remembers not eternal gentleness. 

T-23.I.1.

 

The Course defines forgiveness in many places. I will start with the shortest definition and work through to some of the longer ones.

 

1. Looking without judgement.

This applies not only to what is happening in the world but also what is happening in our thoughts and emotions. This implies the letting go of concepts like right or wrong, good and bad. Often in difficult situations that arise we close our hearts and rely on our mind and its memories for the correct response to a situation. But laying aside the commentary of the mind we allow the heart wisdom/Holy Spirit to function through us and our response will be for the highest good of everyone.

 

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. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. 

W-pII.1.1.     

 

2. Smile gently at the ego.

The ego loves to be taken seriously. It does not want to be seen as simply a thought we are invested in, the thought of separation, specialness and individuality which we dearly cling to. The more we take the ego seriously, perhaps by feeling ashamed, angry or guilty, the more we strengthen it. If we can learn to smile gently at the ego's antics, the more we allow it to fade away into the nothingness from which it came. In time we will become less and less disturbed by our ego’s response. If we don’t feed it it will slowly fade away revealing the peace and quiet joy underneath.

 

What is the ego? Nothingness, but in a form that seems like something. In a world of form the ego cannot be denied for it alone seems real. Yet could God's Son as He created him abide in form or in a world of form? Who asks you to define the ego and explain how it arose can be but he who thinks it real, and seeks by definition to ensure that its illusive nature is concealed behind the words that seem to make it so. Clarification of terms C-2.2.        

 

3. Forgiveness  ... is still, and quietly does nothing. .... It merely looks, and waits, and judges not.

W-pII.1.4:1,3

 

It is important to realise that forgiveness, like the miracle, does not do anything. The practice of the Course is in undoing, not doing. We simply look at what is happening in our mind and in the world without trying to change it. In this quiet place, if some action is required it will come from that quietness, from being and not judgement. Forgiveness is a process, our daily classroom. We need to be content to wait and let this process unfold until the day dawns when we awake to our spiritual reality.

 

4. The three stages of forgiveness.

 

You are not trapped in the world you see, because its cause can be changed. This change requires, first, that the cause be identified and then [second] let go, so that [third] it can be replaced. The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. The final one does not. 

W-p1.23.5:1-4

 

In the first stage we recognise that what upsets us in the world is but a mirror to what is unhealed or unforgiven in our own minds. 

 

It is impossible to forgive another, for it is only your sins you see in him. You want to see them there, and not in you. That is why forgiveness of another is an illusion. Song of Prayer S10

If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself.

What isn't part of ourselves doesn't disturb us.

Hermann Hesse

If we do not feel compassion for the another person's negative behaviour then in some form it must be in us. We do not wish to see it there so we deny we have a similar characteristic and project it onto the other person. Thus in the first stage of forgiveness we had the difficult task of bringing our projections back to ourselves. 

 

And how else can one dispel illusions except by looking at them directly, without protecting them?

T-11.V.2: 2

 

The form of this negative behaviour in another may be different in ourselves. For example, we may get upset and judge when around loud, angry people. We may never have shown anger in our lives but deep down it broods silently and expresses itself in different ways, perhaps by cutting people off and not talking to them for long periods. The other person's anger reminds us of our unhealed quiet anger.

 

Conflict must be resolved. It cannot be evaded, set aside, denied, disguised, seen somewhere else, called by another name, or hidden by deceit of any kind, if it would be escaped. It must be seen exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it. For only then are its defenses lifted, and the truth can shine upon it as it disappears.

W-pII.333.1:1-4

 

In the first stage of forgiveness we recognise what needs to be forgiven in ourselves. 

 

In the second stage our challenge is to let this unforgiveness go. Many of us build our lives around our stories, our hurts, our past. We may be living the life of a ‘justified victim’ and feel reluctant to give that up and take on the responsibility that would come with it. We can no longer say “Don't expect anything from me because I was abused when I was young”. The second stage can be more difficult than the first stage, as we are so attached to our stories. 

 

Who would you be without your story?

Byron Katie

 

With the death of some part of our story life will change, and people will be aware of the difference. Some will welcome it some will not. If your forgiveness decreases your co-dependency in some relationship, your partner will feel it immediately and may feel threatened by this change. At some level we know this and we may fear to let forgiveness happen.

 

Until we are ready to let go of our hatreds, jealousies, victimhood etc. the third stage of forgiveness must wait. The Holy Spirit will never take away from us what we think is of value to us. We need the courage to let go and step into a new life no matter what the seeming consequences are. When we decide that life would be better without holding on to some unforgiveness it's at that point Spirit shines it away and we become free.

 

Below is a prayer of forgiveness that contains these three steps:

 

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace. 

I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise. 

I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. 

I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him. 

I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.

T-5. VII.6:7-11

 

False Forgiveness

This section is reprinted from The Findhorn Book of Forgiveness by Michael Dawson. 

The Song of Prayer (supplement to A Course in Miracles) describes four different types of false forgiveness, referring to them as different forms of  “Forgiveness-to-Destroy”. It makes the point that although at times some of them appear charitable, they are all forms of attack and have nothing to do with true forgiveness. 

1. Holier Than Thou 

In this form of false forgiveness we take up a position superior in relation to those we regard as transgressing. We are the better people and from our elevated position, we decide to act graciously and forgive others who are perceived as below our ‘holy’ status. In this attitude of arrogance, we feel our generous offer of forgiveness is really undeserved but out of charity we bestow it upon less worthy others. The true motivation behind this form of ‘forgiveness’ is to prove that we are superior, more spiritually evolved than those we forgive. If there is not sufficient gain to us, then forgiveness will be withheld. 

In this form of false forgiveness, sin is always seen in another and never in us. No responsibility is taken for ourselves for the other is solely to blame. The bad behaviour others exhibit is certainly not in us we say and so we take the high ground and generously forgive them, although they really don’t deserve it. Thus we are safely protected from seeing how similar we are to others and can continue to maintain our comfortable image of ‘holier than thou’. 

2. We Are Both Miserable Sinners 

In this form, we no longer assume a superior position to others. Instead, we see ourselves just as sinful as our enemies and both worthy of punishment. This way of thinking can be mistaken for true humility and may produce a ‘spiritual competition’ over who is the most sinful and humble. Not yet in our awareness is the concept of seeing sin as error that simply needs correction and not judgement and punishment. 

3. Martyred Saint 

This form of false forgiveness is related to the ‘holier than thou’ form discussed above. We put on a face, which shows forbearance and meekness when under attack by others. The image we portray to the world is saintly and kindly as we bravely put up with the unjustified attacks upon us. We may even seek opportunities to be martyred under the impression that we are doing God’s work as He is asking us to sacrifice ourselves on His behalf. The road to heaven is perceived as one demanding suffering that must be bravely borne with a gentle smile. 

“No pain, no gain” is a modern statement of this thought. Although it is very true that we have great opportunities to learn and grow in times of crisis, is it also true that a loving God would demand pain and sacrifice before we could return to a state of peace and joy? Is not this idea of God merely a projection of our own mind, a God created by us based on our own ideas of punishment towards those who upset us? 

Beneath the mask of the martyred saint lie feelings of bitterness and pain at the outrage inflicted. “Here am I doing good work and just look at what others are doing to me!” is the silent cry of the martyr. Their suffering face is really an accusing finger pointing at others which declares them guilty and sinful and worthy of God’s punishment. Once again evil is seen outside the mind and having nothing to do with ourselves. The very fact that we are feeling angry shows we believe in attack even though we do not openly carry it out. 

4. Bargaining and Compromise. 

Here we seek to get something in return for our ‘gift’ of forgiveness. If we find a partner being unfaithful to us we may decide to forgive as long as their behaviour is not repeated. If the partner is caught being unfaithful, again the previous bargain that was struck between you both has been broken and could now result in a withdrawal of forgiveness. 

We do not see that what we give we also receive for we must always reinforce in our minds the thoughts we believe in. For example, if we believe we need to cheat to get what we want we must also believe that others value cheating and will try to cheat us. We now spend our lives trying to protect ourselves from others cheating us. If, however, we see that what we do to others we will also do to ourselves we will realise that to give forgiveness unconditionally to others will mean that we will also give it to ourselves. 




The number one requirement for awakening is to desire it above all else.

But isn’t desire an impediment to awakening?



Love waits on welcome, not on time, and the real world is but
your welcome of what always was. “A Course in Miracles” T-13.VII.9:7 

 Release is given you the instant you desire it.
“A Course in Miracles” T-18.VII.4:3

I have often pondered on a seeming paradox. Many awakened teachers that I respect state that the number one requirement for spiritual awakening - to enter the real world as “A Course in Miracles” states it - is to desire it above all else.

As soon as you want the truth more than anything else, you’ll get it.
That’s how it works. it’s pretty simple.
Adyashanti.

…. The means do not matter much; it is the desire, the urge, the earnestness that counts.
Nisargadatta Maharaj

The holy instant (spiritual awakening) is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else.    
“A Course in Miracles” T-18.IV.1:1-4

But as the Buddha and others have pointed out, desire is an impediment, a mind activity, and even the desire for truth-awakening must be given up.

Exchanging worldly desires for spiritual desires is
The last gasp of the separate self.
Wu Hsin
Vol. 2 The Lost Writings of Wu Hsin

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.
Nisargadatta Maharaj  “I Am That”

The reaching for enlightenment is the last thing this “me” you believe yourself to be does just before it dissolves into pure awareness, your natural original state.
Enza Vita  “Always, already Free”

Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.  “A Course in Miracles” Lesson 189

What I suddenly saw recently was this:

Say you want good health above all else. You don’t spend your time desiring it, looking forward to it, regretting you don’t have it, hoping health will come soon, envious of others who have heath, fear it will never come. No, you just do the things that bring health - good food, exercise, enough sleep, cut down stress, drink water etc. You do all this because it feels right. You forget about good health and get on with your life.

Same with awakening, enlightenment, liberation etc. You do the things that bring it about. You make your life more simple and unhurried, you relax, you gently watch the mind without judgement, you allow more silence into your life, you forgive, you let go right and wrong, good and bad, give up investment in beliefs and concepts and trying to figure it all out, forget all about if you are going to wake up and when. You do all this because it feels right. Thoughts about awakening are just that - more thoughts to gently watch and perhaps smile at.

Your day becomes your classroom: what’s happening now, if awakening happens then awakening happens. That’s not up to me so I might as well forget all about it.

I sent my insight to Jan Frazier for her opinion. I consider Jan to be an awake woman.
This was her reply.

Dear Michael,

Score!
One of the problems with desire is it tries to convince the mind that something later (the desired thing) can be real. This keeps time alive - which takes a person out of the now. Anything "have-able," anything knowable, can occur only in the now. So when desire is allowed to take its solitary expression, as you so well describe, in this moment, that is the only possible door.
Love,
Jan

So it seems we need to desire awakening above all but not fall into the trap of  over-striving, grasping, hoping and getting caught in time as in “When is this thing going to happen!”.


Adyashanti puts it like this;

The great hurdle to awakening is time.
If you are not thinking in terms of time, there is no waiting. Nor is their impatience. Your yearning and curiosity now becomes really powerful. The curiosity is there to clear out the debris, the obstructions.
Need to take all your interest and yearning out of time. There is not even a minute in the future. All of that comes back into the present. That’s the key.


The price is your life
We want to be free
lose the chains that bind us
reach the Sun
touch the face of God.

But we are in the way
we are the covering,
we are the veil,
hiding the precious one.

There is nothing we can do
but to leave ourselves behind
- to retain no traces of an I -
revealing all, hiding nothing.

Get out of the way,
vanish, dissolve, just evaporate,
and the glory of him, the Sun
will pervade the universe with its brilliance.  


Enza Vita   








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