Friday, December 26, 2014

Starting Again

Happy New Year!
New Year’s Day is a time for resolutions and the hope of starting again – doing whatever or not doing whatever. I don’t know about you, but my resolutions have never lasted very long. Stop drinking. Stop smoking my pipe.  Start meditating more regularly and more often. Stop raising my voice when irritated or angry. Regardless, I don’t have a good track record when it comes to keeping New Year’s resolutions.
That’s one of the reasons I love A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Since the world I see is illusionary, it doesn’t really exist in the mind of God. The “sins” I think I have committed are not recognizable by the God of my understanding. They are simply errors of judgment. They are simply wrong or unhelpful decisions I’ve made. They are only decisions that reinforce – to me – the “reality” of my egoic or illusionary world I perceive.
So, in effect, I can use every day of the rest of my life as I normally would use January 1st – a time for starting again – over and over.  God isn’t just turning a blind eye to my perceived misdeeds. He doesn’t see them. I can remember watching my son toss, turn and thrash as he slept through a bad dream. I had no idea what his dream was about. The only way to help him was to wake him. That’s exactly what God is doing in ACIM. God literally cannot see my illusionary world. My perceived misdeeds are simply that – my perception of my created reality. His love for me is the only reality there is. But I’m too mired in my EGOIC ME to recognize that reality.
His will for me is to begin understanding the blocks I, as an individual and as a member of the human race, have created that obscure my awareness of His love. Please notice, my issue is not to try with all my might and will power to force myself to perceive differently. I am too entrenched in this egoic world to accomplish that. I can, however, begin to train my mind to “see” when my ego (which I call Felix) is driving me and stop and ask for the willingness to see with Spirit’s vision rather than with my optic nerves. That’s all I need to do – be honest, open, willing.
I think that’s what I’ll do this New Year’s Day: Ask for openness and willingness to see things differently. Be honest about implementing the direction His vision provides. Thank Him for my sobriety. Start each day anew. On my knees.
I can do that.
When I misstep – I’ll simply start again.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
I wish each of you a superb 2015.
#3 December 2014

Copyright, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Walking The Talk During The Holidays

The holiday season always has a way of getting me down. Although I understand it, it still happens. I also know I am not alone in experiencing this feeling.
At least now I know what to do. One thing is to do what I’m doing right this minute – namely, talking about it. That always seems to help – some.
The season – the bells, the tinsel, the Salvation Army’s Red Bucket, the television ads featuring Norman Rockwell families having a perfectly joyous holiday meal perfectly prepared – always reminds me of my perfectly dysfunctional relationship with my family. It reminds me of my role as the “black sheep.” All those powerful images also tell me I still have residual expectations that I believed I had worked through.
So, I get down during the season and then get down on myself for getting down.
The second thing I do, in addition to talking the talk, is to remember to walk the talk. Inevitably, I’ve relaxed my diligence in doing my morning meditations. I’ve become slack in doing my daily readings. Sure enough my internal serenity, which relies on the health of my spiritual awareness, begins to wane and the seasonal doldrums enter without much resistance.
I’ve begun to reaffirm my spiritual connection to my Self. I’ve begun to re-establish my routines of quiet times, readings, meditations, and listening to the quiet whispers of (what I refer to as) my Holy Spirit. Duh! Miracle of Miracles! My spirits begin to lift. This is all so simple and straightforward – but it always seems to be the last thing I think about doing.
I am now looking forward to Christmas – the celebration of the birth of a baby boy who lived in constant contact with his Holy Spirit in the eternal Now. He talked the talk and walked the walk – living in a state of constant Holy Encounter where miracles are commonplace. We, of course, misread, misunderstood and misinterpreted Him. We began to institutionalize the remembrance of His sayings, parables, and homilies. We made a religion out of his life, words, and works. He only wanted us to do what He did.
Some of that I had glimpsed and wrote about in my book – How the Bible became the Bible before I experienced all this. Some of that I have subsequently learned in A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Mostly, however, I am so grateful for experiencing a Holy Encounter in Alcoholics Anonymous that transformed me. I am eternally grateful for experiencing His life, teachings and message of acceptance. Having experienced it before having time to convert my experience into dogma or ritual, the universal reality of the Truth of His life and message resonated profoundly in me.
I’m grateful this Christmas for His birth, and because of it, for my rebirth.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
I wish each of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, or Happy Holidays.
Love, Don
#2 December 2014

Copyright, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Form and Content

The last message of November dealt with Acceptance and discussed the importance of distinguishing between FORM and CONTENT. I received several comments that indicated there was some confusion between the two.
These comments seemed to be centered around my paragraph: “My ego sees Form AS Content; the Holy Spirit sees only Content. Form is meaningless. Content is either an aspect of love or fear. To the Holy Spirit the difference between a hateful thought and a beheading is negligible. To my ego the difference in Form is exceptionally significant. But the Spirit’s reality is that hate is hate, fear is fear, anger is anger. It is of my ego – regardless of Form.”
I will elaborate.
If my perception reflects an aspect of fear, it is of my ego and cannot be an aspect of actual love. Fear and Love don’t mix, regardless of how well I try to shake them together. They don’t mix, regardless of the mental gymnastics I go through. Since Fear is of my ego, like every other egoic thing of mine, it is illusionary. It simply does not exist except within the universe of my perception.
The Holy Spirit understands this and will interpret my ego’s fear as a call for love, just as He will interpret your ego’s fear as a call for love. But the Holy Spirit needs human hands, eyes, and ears to help Him correct that perception. That’s where I come in. That’s where you enter the picture.
That’s our job. That’s our function.
To perform that job I need only do two things: I need to be willing – really willing – to see things differently; I need to learn to forgive.
The Holy Spirit helps me do both.
To try to forgive members of ISIS, for example, as an act of my egoic will is only a veiled form of insidious judgment. Conjuring up my egoic will, I will say to myself, “These ISIS folks are trying as best they can to find peace through their form of religious beliefs. They want to belong to something that provides a sense of meaning and purpose in their life. So, in fact, do I. Therefore, I must pardon their misguided acts of murder and hope they straighten-up and begin to fly right. I hope they begin to think just as I do. After all, I don’t go around and behead people. Help them, Holy Spirit to see the truth, as You and I both know it. Okay? Thank You. Amen”
I have just judged ISIS. It’s as if I were saying: I know better. I am more in tune with spirit that they. I believe in the Bible. They believe in the Quran. I know what’s best for them. All God needs to do is agree with me and grant my request to straighten them out – straighten them out as I see it, of course.
What preposterous BS!
True – I don’t go around beheading people. I just go around looking down my nose at bigotry, at ignorance, at self-centered power grabs, at fear-based political lies, at others’ obvious egoic behaviors. Yes, ISIS “sins.” Yes, I “sin.” But they really, really, really “sin.” I just sort of, kind of, “sin.” But my motives and intentions are good, I tell myself. How can theirs be?
All of this is FORM-based. All of this is illusionary.
But the Spirit’s reality is that hate is hate, fear is fear, anger is anger. It is of my ego – regardless of Form.
Rather than willfully trying to pardon ISIS, I need to understand that ISIS is not upsetting my peace of mind. My thoughts about ISIS are upsetting my peace of mind. As A Course in Miracles tells me, I need to remember I am never upset for the reason I think. This is a hard lesson for me.
So …
·      I need to still my mind by not paying attention to my thoughts.
·      I need to understand I am reacting to my own perception – not God’s.
·      I need to understand I need another way of looking at this situation.
That’s as far as my higher egoic mind can take me.
At this point all I can do is ask the Holy Spirit for a different way of looking at all this. I can ask for the true willingness to see things differently. Then I can begin listening – not to the loud boisterous voices in my head – but to the whispers of Spirit. The Holy Spirit will provide me with a different perspective, if I will recognize it. He will work through my changed perception and perform miracles I cannot begin to imagine. In all of this I will find true, lasting peace.
The actual process of changing my mind or the actual process of seeing things differently is not my job to do. It’s the Holy Spirit’s. When I find it difficult to separate Form from Content, it tells me I am attached in some way to the reality of the Form I believe I see. Most often this occurs when the Form I see is one I believe is right and just. Yes, those can be as illusionary as my more unsavory egoic perceptions.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#1 December 2014

Copyright, 2014