I will step back and let Her lead the way

OK the actual title of today’s ACIM workbook exercise is:

I will step back and let Him lead the way

As far as I’m concerned the Ultimate Reality (God, Tao, The One) is beyond all words and concepts. As the Tao Te Ching says:

The Ultimate Reality which is described in words is not the true Ultimate Reality….

Even so or especially so I do not like the fact that A Course in Miracles keeps using the pronoun him, his etc.

From today’s ACIM workbook:

There is a way of living in the world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance, though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene; your eyes are quiet. And the ones who walk the world as you do recognize their own. Yet those who have not yet perceived the way will recognize you also, and believe that you are like them, as you were before.

The world is an illusion. Those who choose to come to it are seeking for a place where they can be illusions, and avoid their own reality. Yet when they find their own reality is even here, then they step back and let it lead the way. What other choice is really theirs to make? To let illusions walk ahead of truth is madness. But to let illusion sink behind the truth and let the truth stand forth as what it is, is merely sanity.

This is the simple choice we make today. The mad illusion will remain awhile in evidence, for those to look upon who chose to come, and have not yet rejoiced to find they were mistaken in their choice. They cannot learn directly from the truth, because they have denied that it is so. And so they need a Teacher Who perceives their madness, but Who still can look beyond illusion to the simple truth in them.

If truth demanded they give up the world, it would appear to them as if it asked the sacrifice of something that is real. Many have chosen to renounce the world while still believing its reality. And they have suffered from a sense of loss, and have not been released accordingly. Others have chosen nothing but the world, and they have suffered from a sense of loss still deeper, which they did not understand.

Between these paths there is another road that leads away from loss of every kind, for sacrifice and deprivation both are quickly left behind. This is the way appointed for you now. You walk this path as others walk, nor do you seem to be distinct from them, although you are indeed. Thus can you serve them while you serve yourself, and set their footsteps on the way that God has opened up to you, and them through you.

Illusion still appears to cling to you, that you may reach them. Yet it has stepped back. And it is not illusion that they hear you speak of, nor illusion that you bring their eyes to look on and their minds to grasp. Nor can the truth, which walks ahead of you, speak to them through illusions, for the road leads past illusion now, while on the way you call to them, that they may follow you.

All roads will lead to this one in the end. (A Course In Miracles starts with the idea that it is a required course – the only choice we have is when we take it). For sacrifice and deprivation are paths that lead nowhere, choices for defeat, and aims that will remain impossible. All this steps back as truth comes forth in you, to lead your brothers from the ways of death, and set them on the way to happiness. Their suffering is but illusion. Yet they need a guide to lead them out of it, for they mistake illusion for the truth.

Such is salvation’s call, and nothing more. It asks that you accept the truth, and let it go before you, lighting up the path of ransom from illusion. It is not a ransom with a price. There is no cost, but only gain. Illusion can but seem to hold in chains the holy Son of God. It is but from illusions he is saved. As they step back, he finds himself again.

Walk safely now, yet carefully, because this path is new to you. And you may find that you are tempted still to walk ahead of truth, and let illusions be your guide. Your holy brothers have been given you, to follow in your footsteps as you walk with certainty of purpose to the truth. It goes before you now, that they may see something with which they can identify; something they understand to lead the way.

Yet at the journey’s ending there will be no gap, no distance between truth and you. And all illusions walking in the way you traveled will be gone from you as well, with nothing left to keep the truth apart from God’s completion, holy as Himself. Step back in faith and let truth lead the way. You know not where you go. But One Who knows goes with you. Let Him lead you with the rest.

When dreams are over, time has closed the door on all the things that pass and miracles are purposeless, the holy Son of God will make no journeys. There will be no wish to be illusion rather than the truth. And we step forth toward this, as we progress along the way that truth points out to us. This is our final journey, which we make for everyone. We must not lose our way. For as truth goes before us, so it goes before our brothers who will follow us.

We walk to God. Pause and reflect on this. Could any way be holier, or more deserving of your effort, of your love and of your full intent? What way could give you more than everything, or offer less and still content the holy Son of God? We walk to God. The truth that walks before us now is one with Him, and leads us to where He has always been. What way but this could be a path that you would choose instead?

Your feet are safely set upon the road that leads the world to God. Look not to ways that seem to lead you elsewhere. Dreams are not a worthy guide for you who are God’s Son. Forget not He has placed His Hand in yours, and given you your brothers in His trust that you are worthy of His trust in you. He cannot be deceived. His trust has made your pathway certain and your goal secure. You will not fail your brothers nor your Self.

And now He asks but that you think of Him a while each day, that He may speak to you and tell you of His Love, reminding you how great His trust; how limitless His Love. In your Name and His Own, which are the same, we practice gladly with this thought today:

I will step back and let Him lead the way,
For I would walk along the road to Him.

If only you knew who walked by your side…

I typically edit the thoughts for the day but today’s piece was so beautiful that I didn’t feel cutting a single word.

Another way of saying the above is:

Be still and know that I’m God.
When we are still, when we quieten the monkey mind, when we get out of the way, the truth shines forth.

When you allow the Truth to be, when you are present, you can gladly smile and know that everything is a gift from the Creator. You can face each thing while smiling knowing that She leads the way.

I am among the ministers of God

I’m going to concentrate on the first paragraph of the ACIM workbook for today:

Let us today be neither arrogant nor falsely humble. We have gone beyond such foolishness. We cannot judge ourselves, nor need we do so. These are but attempts to hold decision off, and to delay commitment to our function. It is not our part to judge our worth, nor can we know what role is best for us; what we can do within a larger plan we cannot see in its entirety. Our part is cast in Heaven, not in hell. And what we think is weakness can be strength; what we believe to be our strength is often arrogance.

True humility is accepting what is and being ready to share it with others with neither pride or shame. We are as God created us and are beloved children of the creator. We each excel in somethings and not in others. If we use the same attitude of gratitude – all things are created by God and hence good and we can thank God for them – to ourselves as to others we can find peace…

The workbook continues:

Whatever your appointed role may be, it was selected by the Voice for God, Whose function is to speak for you as well. Seeing your strengths exactly as they are, and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom and when, He chooses and accepts your part for you. He does not work without your own consent. But He is not deceived in what you are, and listens only to His Voice in you.

Again we see here that we are lovable (as are all others) because we are doing God’s work no matter what. I’m not implying that we cannot improve. That is the whole purpose of existence to continue evolution (cosmic, biological, and personal) toward ultimate spiritual betterment. It is only through acceptance of what is (A Zen attitude), and a state of no blame that we can evolve easiest and fastest.

The affirmation for today is:

Our lesson for today is stated thus:

I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that
I have the means by which to recognize that I am free.

As far as I’m concerned that last recognition is the most important thing: “I’m free.”

Acceptance allows that freedom to flourish.

In my defenselessness my safety lies

Yesterday I had a thought which allows me continue A Course In Miracles workbook. Today’s thought of the day is:

In my defenselessness my safety lies

The workbook says about today’s thought (my comments in parenthesis):

You who feel threatened by this changing world, its twists of fortune and its bitter jests, its brief relationships and all the “gifts” it merely lends to take away again; attend this lesson well. The world (as you perceive it) provides no safety. It is rooted in attack, and all its “gifts” of seeming safety are illusory deceptions. It attacks, and then attacks again. No peace of mind is possible where danger threatens thus. (But once you know that all is created by God and hence good you have no need for defensiveness – you accept whatever is lovingly).

The world gives rise but to defensiveness. For threat brings anger, anger makes attack seem reasonable, honestly provoked, and righteous in the name of self-defense. Yet is defensiveness a double threat. For it attests to weakness, and sets up a system of defense that cannot work. Now are the weak still further undermined, for there is treachery without and still a greater treachery within. The mind is now confused, and knows not where to turn to find escape from its imaginings.

[] Attack, defense; defense, attack, become the circles of the hours and the days that bind the mind in heavy bands of steel with iron overlaid, returning but to start again. There seems to be no break nor ending in the ever-tightening grip of the imprisonment upon the mind.

[] Defenselessness is strength. It testifies to recognition of the Christ in you. Perhaps you will recall the text maintains that choice is always made between Christ’s strength and your own weakness, seen apart from Him. Defenselessness can never be attacked, because it recognizes strength so great attack is folly, or a silly game a tired child might play, when he becomes too sleepy to remember what he wants.

Defensiveness is weakness. It proclaims you have denied the Christ and come to fear His Father’s anger. What can save you now from your delusion of an angry god, whose fearful image you believe you see at work in all the evils of the world? What but illusions could defend you now, when it is but illusions that you fight?

[] We look past dreams today, and recognize that we need no defense because we are created unassailable, without all thought or wish or dream in which attack has any meaning. Now we cannot fear, for we have left all fearful thoughts behind. And in defenselessness we stand secure, serenely certain of our safety now, sure of salvation; sure we will fulfill our chosen purpose, as our ministry extends its holy blessing through the world.

Be still a moment, and in silence think how holy is your purpose, how secure you rest, untouchable within its light. God’s ministers have chosen that the truth be with them. Who is holier than they? Who could be surer that his happiness is fully guaranteed? And who could be more mightily protected? What defense could possibly be needed by the ones who are among the chosen ones of God, by His election and their own as well?

[] Today we practice in a form we will maintain for quite a while. We will begin each day by giving our attention to the daily thought as long as possible. Five minutes now becomes the least we give to preparation for a day in which salvation is the only goal we have. Ten would be better; fifteen better still. And as distraction ceases to arise to turn us from our purpose, we will find that half an hour is too short a time to spend with God. Nor will we willingly give less at night, in gratitude and joy.

Each hour adds to our increasing peace, as we remember to be faithful to the Will we share with God. At times, perhaps, a minute, even less, will be the most that we can offer as the hour strikes. Sometimes we will forget. At other times the business of the world will close on us, and we will be unable to withdraw a little while, and turn our thoughts to God.

Yet when we can, we will observe our trust as ministers of God, in hourly remembrance of our mission and His Love. And we will quietly sit by and wait on Him and listen to His Voice, and learn what He would have us do the hour that is yet to come; while thanking Him for all the gifts He gave us in the one gone by.

In time, with practice, you will never cease to think of Him, and hear His loving Voice guiding your footsteps into quiet ways, where you will walk in true defenselessness. For you will know that Heaven goes with you. Nor would you keep your mind away from Him a moment, even though your time is spent in offering salvation to the world. Think you He will not make this possible, for you who chose to carry out His plan for the salvation of the world and yours?

Today our theme is our defenselessness. We clothe ourselves in it, as we prepare to meet the day. We rise up strong in Christ, and let our weakness disappear, as we remember that His strength abides in us. We will remind ourselves that He remains beside us through the day, and never leaves our weakness unsupported by His strength. We call upon His strength each time we feel the threat of our defenses undermine our certainty of purpose. We will pause a moment, as He tells us, “I am here.”

Your practicing will now begin to take the earnestness of love, to help you keep your mind from wandering from its intent. Be not afraid nor timid. There can be no doubt that you will reach your final goal. The ministers of God can never fail, because the love and strength and peace that shine from them to all their brothers come from Him. These are His gifts to you. Defenselessness is all you need to give Him in return. You lay aside but what was never real, to look on Christ and see His sinlessness.

My reaction and meditations:

  • Before I even start the first meditation the thought comes to me: “Be still and know that I’m God.”
    As I enter the stillness state of deep meditation I realize that a Zen attitude of acceptance is the same as defenselessness and of course it is not the same as passivity as once you accept whatever is you have more power to act correctly out of loving compassion.
  • I immediately did a much longer meditation. As I entered the stillness state my nose itched a huge amount I became defenseless to it and thanked God and it disappeared. Knowing  that all is created by God (by you as a co-creator) allows you to accept easily ans lovingly and all danger disappears.
  • I had to go to my dentist for my quarterly deep cleaning which used to hurt a huge amount (until I started to use hypnosis for anesthesia)  – this time in fact I could not quite get into a deep hypnosis at first. I had a little pain. So I just thought that this was a gift from God so it was good. The next instant half an hour had past and the hygienist had finished with the deep cleansing and was polishing my teeth.
  • They say when the student is ready the teacher appears. In this case I needed opportunities to be defenseless, and I had a lot of such opportunities. On the freeway drivers pulled out in front of me. I smiled and remained calm. In the dentists office we discovered that I needed a couple of fillings. Again I accepted it peacefully. Later at the gym in the sauna I met someone who bothers me as he always aggressively shoves my towel aside and places his towel to dry. OK I used to be so petty. The point is that today, I smiled at him and offered the spot to him. He thanked me and I felt good. So by accepting anything that happened to me as gifts from God all was wonderful.

Anything that God produces is good

I just heard the idea,  “Anything that God produces is good,” on an audio as a belief of many mystics. In fact it is a belief that I have when in deep, deep meditation and a state of union with God.

The new thing that I had not thought of in relations to ‘A Course in Miracles,” is that everything that is has been created from God and is hence good. So our challenge is to see the good in anything.

It is not that as ACIM states God did not create this illness, war, whatever, so it is not real but that God did create this illness, war, whatever so it is good and let’s find out why and how it is good.

This allows us to be positive paranoids in the words of Zig Ziglar. He says that a paranoid thinks everyone is conspiring to harm him.  A positive paranoiac thinks that everything and  everyone is conspiring to help her.

So with this new and different understanding of the statements in ACIM I can restart the workbook.

Tomorrow I’ll do lesson 153.

The beginningness created the gods, heavens and earths

This is dedicated to fundamentalists of all religions:

May the Creator grant you some intelligence

I’ll write about Christian fundamentalists since I know more about the Bible than other holy books. The main thrust of this article applies to others as well.

Points about the old testament:

  • It was written in Hebrew without any vowels, spaces between words and sentences, and there were no punctuation marks. Thus it can be read in many, many different ways. Imagine how these three sentences would be if written without those signs which allow us read English:
    twswrttnnhbrwwthtnvwlsspcsbtwnwrdsndsntncsndthrwrnpnctatonmrksthstcnbrdnmnmndffrntwysmgnhwthsthrsntncswldbfwrttnwthtthssgnswhchllwsrdnglsh.
    Just taking the first few letters (twswrttnn) let us see how it could be read in different ways:

    • tow sow rotten in
    • to was war toot nun
    • tows awe rat tin on
    • it wise write ten no

    There are actually some clues in Hebrew such as letters change at end of words or it may be beginning (I cannot remember just now). Also the priests (rabbi) knew how to read the Hebrew Bible according to tradition.However, the tradition could be wrong and at times different readings are possible which could change the meaning one hundred and eighty degrees.

  • There is a false claim that every Hebrew Bible is identical to ever other one. There is the claim that after copying the bible was checked and if a single letter was wrong it would be burned. This is a lie. In fact no two manuscripts are letter perfect identical to another one.
  • The oldest extent Hebrew Bible (has everything) is about a thousand years old. There was so much excitement when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered because a few sentences were checked against the existing text.
  • The reality is that the Hebrew Bible is poetic and metaphorical. It was never imagined (by the Jews) as a book of science and fact.

So it is impossible to have a single reading of the Hebrew Bible (I’ll write about the New Testament at another time). A mystical reading of the first sentence of Genesis is: ” The beginningness created the gods, heavens and earths…”

This reading agrees with that of Kabbalh which has the unlimited light before emanation and tree of life. I’ll write more about this later too.

The main point is that imagining that a certain English translation of the Bible could be precise is plainly stupid and sacrilegious. However, the fundamentalists will be way too stupid and ignorant to understand that.

Aesthetical design

When the fundamentalist lost the battle about cretin nonsense (they call it creation science – it is not science and is sacrilegious to tellthe Ultimate Reality, God, Tao, the Creator how it/she should have created the universe) against evolution they tried to come back through the back door with a nearly as stupid idea as “Intelligent design.” This brings back god of the gap and god of mysteries.

There is something too complex for us to understand at this moment so ET did it. Then somehow ET ends up being the God of fundamentalist Christianity.

As far as fundamentalists are concerned lets examine the word. Your fundaments are what you sit on (your arse if you didn’t get it). And mental – yes they sure are.

Anyway, intelligent design claims to be truly scientific and fails so miserably that it lost the second monkey trial. Darwin won, and the monkeys lost…

Aesthetical design has nothing to do with science. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.”

He might have said that all things outside spirituality are other (non-religious) domains and religion only deals with how we treat ourselves and others and our relationship with Ultimate Reality…

The other day I was doing a walking meditation and I heard the most beautiful sound of some birds singing. There are no behavioral reasons why aesthetics should exist. We could be zombies (automatons) and yet behave in identical way that we act.

I don’t think the existence (the perception) of beauty proves the existence of God. It is something which points to the possibility of a good loving God…

By the way I do not see any contradiction between science and true religion (rather than forced fundamentalism). Science shows what is. If you believe in some form of creator then evolution was her/his/its way of creating and developing life which was bound to lead to sentient loving beings.

And if you don’t, then there is no need for the creator. If you do not however, think about beauty. Is its perception an evolutionary advantage?

Maybe.

I don’t know.

The power of decision is my own

When I read the thought for today I liked it very much for it reminded me of responsibility if by that we mean response-ability. That is to say we, and we alone can face up to the vicissitudes of life and respond to whatever happens. In fact from an existentialist philosophy point of view, we could say that we are doomed to respond and doing nothing or freaking out, even committing suicide are all responses.

Every action (karma) has a reaction (more karma). You cannot get away from it…

That to me is the moment to moment decision that we have to make:

To be or not to be…

From the ACIM workbook for today:

No one can suffer loss unless it be his own decision. No one suffers pain except his choice elects this state for him. No one can grieve nor fear nor think him sick unless these are the outcomes that he wants. And no one dies without his own consent. Nothing occurs but represents your wish, and nothing is omitted that you choose. Here is your world, complete in all details. Here is its whole reality for you. And it is only here salvation is.

The first sentence I love if we talk about psychological loss for events have no meaning as ACIM has repeated over and over again from day one of the workbook. The later thoughts I do not understand. If everything is based on unconscious wishes, God knows…

and later the ACIM workbook continues with the practice:

We think of truth alone as we arise, and spend five minutes practicing its ways, encouraging our frightened minds with this:

The power of decision is my own.
This day I will accept myself as what
my Father’s Will created me to be.

This part I love as peace comes from acceptance. In fact that’s the meaning of Islam (surrender to the will of God). This is Zen. And ultimate;ly when you accept what is you can cause change much easier.

That’s why the first step in the twelve step program is to admit (accept) that you have a problem.

All things are echoes of the Voice for God

I have started the A Course in Miracles workbook again.

But as I mentioned I’ll do it my own way. Today’s thought is:

All things are echoes of the Voice for God

This is like the idea I have had that the phenomenal reality is all dreams in the mind of God.

I was telling a friend about a mystical experience I had many years ago when all duality ceased for an eternal instant and I was (what I called at the time) face to face with God.

I observed (later) the following from my experience of that moment:

  • You cannot get away from the here and now – the eternal now is all that exists – you can fool yourself into imagining that you are not aware of it but the Ultimate Reality is there all the time.
  • Whereas the ego (which is aware of consensus day-to-day reality) thinks it is in control, the reality is just the watcher – real awareness – pure consciousness with no judgments – ACIM workbook for today says:
    No one can judge on partial evidence
    . That is not judgment. It is merely an opinion based on ignorance and doubt. Its seeming certainty is but a cloak for the uncertainty it would conceal. It needs irrational defense because it is irrational. And its defense seems strong, convincing, and without a doubt because of all the doubting underneath.
    The pure consciousness watcher is like watching a movie. Sure you get caught in the vicissitudes of life’s ups and downs – but deep down you know it’s only a game (maya means game and illusion comes from  the Latin root of Ludere which means game or to play).
  • Since I was “face to face” with God, I have not been afraid of death. This is something that most who are revived after clinical death (all of those who have the traditional near-death experience) say too.
  • I came to believe that there’s only one entity (radical monism) and since we are all one I realized that I can only forgive myself and I could only harm or be kind to myself.

Actually as I look at the title of this post I’m not sure I agree with it.  All things are not merely echoes of the Voice for God but are actually the Voice of God – all things are vibration and the Voice of God is the Om or Aum of the Hindu and Buddhist mantras…

Who is it who knows the ego is an illusion

A Course in Miracles and all other mystical systems I know of talks about the ego (normal conscious awareness that we associate with – that’s to say “I”).

So then I write, “I know that I do not exist.”

The sentence is nonsensical in English as is the phrase, “Life after death.”

Yet we understand the latter and anyone who has had a mystical experience will know what we mean when we say that I know that I’m not. This goes directly against the Cartesian cogito where René Descartes said, “cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am).

The few times that I have had a mystical experience I (the normal daily I) ceased to exist and I was at one with the all.

I knew that I was an illusion and yet there is always an observer which knows that the ego does not have an independent existence. When you dream all sorts of weird things may happen an yet there is always an observer. So long as you have any consciousness, this observer I exists and on some level you are aware of the existence of this observer.

It is this real non-judging non-acting I is the one which wakes up and you associate with when you awaken (become a Buddha) and enlightened.  This observer I is the I which knows the ego is illusory…

Plato and the world of ideas

A few years ago I was taking a class in Persian mystical love poetry (Rumi and Hafiz). I left after a couple of years as I thought (rightly or wrongly) the teacher was influencing the students too much and it was becoming more like a cult.

Anyway, as I had noticed that the main thrust of the teaching reminded me of Neoplatonism, I later studied Plato himself.

The teacher in the aforementioned class claimed Plato was always right and had forced us to study him. So now I was studying Plato critically.

Plato was no doubt a genius but he was a person of his own time (about twenty three hundred years ago). He could develop his philosophy based on the knowledge available to him at the time.

He did not have the advantage of modern physics, cognitive science, molecular biology and so on. In fact he had no scientific knowledge. The Greeks in fact had no use for science at all. The only thing which Plato cared for was rationality – I lie – actually he was a great mystic as well – but a superficial reading of his writings do not show this.

Plato claimed among other things that all learning is relearning. This in itself has the logical flaw that if all learning is relearning (from past lives presumably) there must have been once that the original learning took place. More importantly experimentally we see that learning follows rules which are emulated by artificial neural nets. So whether we have previous lives or not we do not remember (at least in the general case) mathematics and so on from previous lives…

In his later works Plato wrote about archetypes (original images) and ideas (ideal images) as the ultimate reality. To Plato mathematics had absolute truth, as did the world of ideas.

I have to explain what he meant by the idea or archetype. Plato wrote that say a chair may have many different implementation. But there was some aspect of “chairness” that all chairs shared. This essence of being a chair could be distilled in the ideal chair. This was the perfect chair which existed in the world of ideas. Each physical chair was an imperfect version of the ideal chair…

Plato’s most famous student, Aristotle, further developed the idea theory where the ideas (archetypes or perfect prototypes) were developed from the actual specimens. IE the idea of “chairness” is the amalgamation of all the real physical chairs rather than beings a disembodied perfect prototype as imagined by Plato.

Modern cognitive science and developmental psychology shows that concept formation follows the description of Aristotle rather than that of Plato.

I am writing this not as a critic of Plato’s genius or philosophy but to show that fundamentalism of any kind is to be avoided.

Writings from many years ago may have much poetic beauty and psychological insight. However, they are not scientific truth. This applies to every piece of writing whether inspired or not. And of course it applies to A Course in Miracles.

Moreover, it may be impossible to have a mystical writing like the Bible or ACIM without self-reference and hence self-contradiction.