Even after all these years of posting here, my wife Kay reads each new post to see if 'new people' were receiving a clear introduction to our Course. I don't honestly know how many 'new people' (I always get the image of people only now being made) come here. If you are a 'new person,' which I guess means to be reading these writings for the first time, please stop by in the comments following this to say hi, maybe share your impression of the ideas presented. Everyone is invited to share any questions that might come up for you, as making the effort to verbalize a question opens up channels to receive new insights. To get to the comments, simply click on the title of this entry, and a page will come up where you can easily scroll down to the comments.
To encourage Kay's happiness and contentment, we will have a brief introduction to the Course. It is based around the theme of Living in the Truth of the Present Moment, which is our title here. This Truth is what actually IS, right here and now, and not memories of the past, projections of the future, or just plain mental cogitations, figuring things out, going over and over things in the mind.
What actually exists in the present moment is different from appearances, or of our thoughts about what is. We easily live in an imaginary world, and our Course focuses on the process of waking up. This 'waking up' is coming to the awareness of what is here now, and all that is truly here now is Consciousness, or the Awareness of Being, sometimes referred to as the Self, and by many other terms. This Awareness of Being cannot be understood intellectually. Awareness is much more expanded in nature than is the mind, so we cannot comprehend Awareness with the mind. It must be actually experienced.
Of course, this process cannot all be explored or understood through one short reading. Understanding, or wisdom, does not exist in words alone. This is why I prefer to present higher Knowledge through an ongoing Course, so that one lesson can naturally lead to the next, so that a strong foundation can be built. Of course, it was considered to simply write a book, but a book can be read and put down and forgotten. Through the process of the Course, there are constant reminders, and regardless of what is going on outwardly in our personal life, we are always reminded of the higher Truth simply through our participation in the Course.
Participation in the Course is simple. We begin a new lesson, through email, every two weeks, and for those two weeks we simply focus on the principles presented in that lesson, and practice applying them in real daily life. Intellectual knowledge is of some value, but in itself it is not enough. We must be taken through a process of going from one level of experiencing and perceiving life to a more expanded level of experiencing and perceiving life. This expansion cannot be adequately described in advance; it must become our actual experience.
One way the principles are presented are through interaction in the form of responses to questions. This is offered here freely for anyone to read and make use of. The questions usually come in the comments, and you are invited to participate. An honest and open question and response is meaningful to everyone who reads it, and we each make use of the interaction in our own way. So now I will present some questions with their responses.
Q: "You have been writing lessons since 1975, which was a few years ago. I am wondering how your approach and presentation has changed over the years. How do you see what you are doing differently than, say, how you understood it twenty years ago?"
I am happy that you only consider the passed time to be only 'a few years ago.' To me it seems like a lifetime. It is true, I was quite different when I first started writing the lessons of the original Course in 1975. From my current perspective, I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was talking about in those days. I am amazed that anyone wanted to take those lessons, and even more amazed when I recall their feedback. One person wrote, on the original Lesson12--six months into the Course-- "Why is it that when I read the lessons, I experience inexplicable jolts of euphoria? The experience seems to have nothing to do with the particular words being read. It is a kind of energy that the words evoke from deep within."
I gradually realized that something viewed as valuable was happening to people attracted to these teachings, which come from way back and are simply being expressed in a modern way, and that they were being made available to those who were ready to open up to whatever they receive through the Course. More and more I began to trust it that it just happened, not because of me, but in spite of me. Also, more and more I began to write from my own experience, rather than relying only on what I had been taught by my own great Teachers. A true Teacher encourages the student to not merely accept anything on faith, or on blind belief, but prove the teachings true for himself. Don't allow it to be merely theoretical; for a principle of Truth to be helpful, it must be actually applied for results in one's own daily life.
Here is one major change between then and now. For many years, unable to define myself any more distinctly, I somewhat thought of myself as a 'spiritual teacher.' I suppose, through my work, I did function as a 'spiritual teacher' for many who needed that at the time. Today, however, thinking of myself as some kind of 'spiritual teacher' feels very pretentious, as though who could possibly imagine himself in that way? Who would he think he is, anyway?
I've had to understand that the teachings and spiritual energy (Shakti) I have received from my own Teachers are communicated and transmitted through these writings, and to accept that it can be trusted to be received and applied in all the right ways for the benefit of humanity. My own Teachers indicated that I should pass the teachings and the energy on to those who would come later. Maybe I am simply trying to say that it is just happening, and I am just as stunned and surprised by what is written as anyone else. Since this is what is happening, I am very happy that you are here sharing it with me. It gives us something very valuable to share together.
Q: "How can I best respond to a person that is describing a problem, disliking, or is seeing something as wrong, without sounding like I am correcting their view, or that I am giving advice?"
When someone describes a problem to me, or tells me about their dislikes, or expresses whatever they think is going wrong, I listen, and sometimes I may appear that I understand their view, I often make a lighthearted remark, demonstrating seeing the humor in things. I would NEVER attempt to point out that I disagree, for it feels weird to me to convince someone that they are wrong about something. Of course, if they really need to know they are wrong about something, that can happen too. I am happy to share my perspective if I am asked for it, but it helps no one to impose it on them before it is requested, as before that they are not ready for it.
Mostly, we have to be compassionate enough to allow others to have their own perspective of things. It is only when someone opens enough to try participating in a regular practice, like our Course of Training via email, that they are initiating a willingness to explore a more expanded perspective than what they are used to. This willingness to grow and to develop is what opens a person up to a new way of seeing and experiencing things. Before this happens, it is more harmonious to simply be compassionate enough to allow the other person their own point of view.
Q: "Karma is the law of cause and effect, so I think that we are accountable, yet, I am told that God is the author and the player and the stage of this drama or dance? I do not totally understand how this fits together. Please, explain this to me."
Your questions exist primarily because you are confusing different levels of Being. On the level of individuals, we each create our own perception and experience through what and how we think. As we say in the Course, what we think is what we get. Due to the law of cause and effect, which is more profound than what people often grasp, we experience, as karma, the effects of our own thoughts, words, and actions. So we are always accountable and invariably experience the consequences that we ourselves have created.
On a more Cosmic level, however, all individuals are manifestations of a single Consciousness that is eternal and all-pervasive. This Consciousness is the Source of all our thoughts, words, and actions. In this way, God does all things. Another way of understanding this is that all things, including all aspects of the karmic movie of the individual, are included in the play of Consciousness.
Q: "Why do we come back repeatedly to work through our wounds only to get to the understanding that our perspectives and personalities aren't even real? Am I really missing the whole point of all your wisdom? Should I put my head in a bucket of water now? What's really the end game here?"
You are not missing the point, but you have brought a bunch of things together that do not naturally go together. Ultimately, of course, everything is connected to everything else, but there are different realms and levels of Being and even various levels of understanding. This year we understand the things we know a whole lot more than we used to, even though we 'knew' it then. As we explore in the lessons, wisdom evolves, and understanding expands as we go along.
You are the actor, the soul is the producer/director, but what you have left out is that you are also the writer. You decide how the play will go, and you decide how to respond to challenges and obstacles. Mostly, you simply learn how to flow with change and remain in harmony at all times.
We don't come back to work on our 'wounds.' We come back to experience the karma that we ourselves have created. In this way everything is eventually balanced and harmonized. You don't have to be concerned with what isn't real. If it isn't real, it isn't worth thinking about.
Q: "In your blog you said 'I know that anyone who participates in the Course is taken care of for the rest of his or her life.' What a beautiful and comforting statement. Could you elaborate more on this?"
The Course contains everything one could possibly need to know to lead a powerful and successful life, impacting others in a positive and inspiring way. The lessons contain 'The Secret of the Ages,' and the truths that all the great Masters and Saints have taught over the centuries. Once a person begins the Course, he or she is immediately given the most powerful Knowledge a person could need to make it in this world. What's more, he or she receives the blessings and Shakti (spiritual Energy) from several different lineages and traditions.
This year marks 51 years since I first came in contact with the Truth of Being, and began studying with what would be many great Teachers of Truth, as well as studying and practicing various forms of yoga and meditation, as well as the teachings of applying Creative Energy for practical results in one's own life. Everything of value that I have gained in all those years are packed into the Course and made useful for anyone who will apply it in their own life.
So, yes, I feel that once someone begins the Course, he or she is in good hands from that point on, and there is no longer any reason to be concerned about them.
Q: "In a recent Lesson you write
'See what is'
SEEMS like a simple enough statement.
Is detaching and identifying being the witness the same as 'seeing what is'?
Or are you perhaps referring to a different perspective/state/realm?"
To see what is, as you say, is simple enough. It is simply seeing what actually is, instead of what we 'think' is, or what 'appears' to be. We usually tend to see appearances only, or we see what we think. It can be challenging to see what actually IS.
Q: "Thank you for your quick reply.
'To see what IS'
Beyond appearances and thoughts.
Quite a contemplation! My mind says "but there are so many levels beyond appearance!"
There is only one level beyond appearance.
More than one exists in appearance only.
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