Celebrate with Christmas Miracle Mugs

It is a cause of great joy to give these Christmas Angel Miracle Mugs as reminders of the reason for the season. The light has come as a weary world slumbers, Awaken and share the gifts. Suitable for all ages. Specifically for Christians, but everyone can share in the Christmas spirit with these miracle mugs.

Distinctive and original angel illustrations by Rev. Carmen Cameron blend pleasing form, colorful design and meaningful inspirational miracle quotes makes giving and receiving these best-selling gifts a truly memorable occasion, with a miracle Christmas mug that will continue to give pleasure and value for many years to come. You can start a new family tradition with these delightful gift mugs.

Celebrate the birth of holiness into the world.

The original angel illustration by Rev. Carmen Cameron was first titled “The Chain of Forgiving Hearts,” and it was chosen to adorn this miracle mug for its fresh exhibition of heavenly angelic joy at the time of Christ. This is a perfect gift you will be glad to give for all the smiles and laughter the gift will inspire.

Celebrate the birth of holiness into the world
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Christmas is not a time, it's a state of mind.
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It is in your power to make the time of Christ be NOW
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The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind of anyone, is asked by him.

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Give each other hope, for hope and mercy are yours to give, given to you by God.

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The time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy.

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Un Curso Sobre Milagros

The Course In Miracles Society has released a Spanish translation of the Original Edition.

Un Curso Sobre Milagros - Edición Original Comentada de la Sociedad Un Curso Sobre Milagros. Traducción de Juan Jesús Zaro y Armando Brons   

For those who do not know, the Original Edition contains the unaltered English words of A Course In Miracles transcribed by Helen and Bill, before the ego-mind got hold of it and changes a few things here and there, to make it more "acceptable."

Cover design by Carmen Cameron, with a little help from me.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Twelve years of silence

In 1968, after the first volume of A Course In Miracles (the Text) had been transcribed, Bill Thetford and Helen Schucman began shopping the manuscript around, looking for a publisher. These two letters have never before been made public.

Carmen and I obtained copies of these letters on June 22, 2000.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

The crisis next time

Within the span on one short week we have seen the U. S. House of Representatives pass an amendment to a defense bill that would prohibit the Department of Defense from planning for the effects of climate change, on the one hand, and the Environmental Protection Agency announcing new rules that call for a 30% cut in carbon emissions from electrical power plants because of climate change, on the other hand. Our society, clearly reflected in our government, is pulling in two opposite directions.

June 16 is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's famous "House Divided" speech of 1858.

"Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention.

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.

"We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confident promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only, not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached, and passed.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

"I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. . . . "
Like Lincoln, I believe that split-mind thinking will not long endure.

"It will become all one thing or all the other" and that will seem like a crisis.

The phrase "a house divided" comes from the Gospels and it was likely chosen by Lincoln because his audience was familiar with it in that context.

" And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? " Matthew 12:25 - 26
Jesus "knew their thoughts" and he compared their thinking to a house divided.

Jesus was teaching psychology!

What could possibly be more clear than this? Existential dilemmas and crisis are not about climate change, slavery or casting out demons. Existential dilemmas and crisis are all about split-mind thinking.

Consider the possibility of not enjoying the drama quite so much.

Boredom is good.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

History of ACIM refresher

 First there was the handwritten version which was typed daily - This typed version is called the urtext.

Starting in 1965, the ACIM Text was first, then the Workbook and finally the Manual for Teachers.

These were all completed by 1972 The text had been edited to the extent of omitting certain parts. Most notably, all discussions of homosexuality and sex were deleted. Very few changes were made to the Workbook or the Manual for Teachers. Hugh Lynn Cayce, at the A.R.E. in Virginia Beach received a photocopy in 1972,

From 1973 to 1973, Ken Wapnick and Helen Schucman performed a more extensive edit and modification of the Text.

The first printed version of this edited ACIM was in the summer of 1975. It is called the Criswell edition after the name of the printer. Four perfect bound volumes with yellow paper covers. Generally speaking, it was a half-assed printing job. 300 sets were printed. The Crisswell is pictured here.

The Clarification of Terms was added in late 1975

The three-volume blue books were first printed in 1976, including the Clarification of Terms. Millions of these were printed.

An online version of the 1972 ACIM Text can be found here

.The 1973 - 1975 editing of ACIM Text, Chapter One, can be downloaded here, Other subsequent chapters were also heavily edited by Wapnick and Schucman, but Chapter One underwent the most significant revisions.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

A necessary realization: Your plans do not work. Ever.

Pity the successful, as the world measures success, and be glad for the pratfalls, pitfalls and face-plants in your life. A Course In Miracles makes it very clear that your plan for salvation does not work.
"The key you threw away God gave your brother, whose holy hands would offer it to you when you were ready to accept His plan for your salvation in place of yours. How could this readiness be reached save through the sight of all your misery, and the awareness that your plan has failed, and will forever fail to bring you peace and joy of any kind? Through this despair you travel now, yet it is but ILLUSION of despair. The death of specialness is not YOUR death, but your awaking into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you."
If you are among the fortunate few who have failed spectacularly and repeatedly to reach the impossible goal of salvation by means of your own pitiful schemes, please learn to appreciate the lessons. There is no need for guilt, regret or self recrimination for your many painful blunders in life. They are a tool for your awakening. How else could you become ready to accept the need to awaken, except through the awareness that your plan has failed?

Don't waste time by feeling sorry for yourself. Learn the lesson and move on. The world needs you. Rejoice.
"What do your scripts reflect except your plans for what the day SHOULD be? And thus you judge disaster and success, advance, retreat, and gain and loss. These judgments all are made according to the roles the script assigns. The fact they have no meaning in themselves is demonstrated by the ease with which these labels change with other judgments, made on different aspects of experience. And then, in looking back, you think you see another meaning in what went before. What have you really done, except to show there WAS no meaning there? But you assigned a meaning in the light of goals that change, with every meaning shifting as they change."
Your plans for success come from the ego, and the ego wants you to fail. If the voice for the ego is strong in you and you manage to play the world's game by the rules of the world, you can generate the illusion of success. Your slumber will continue undisturbed. The ego wins and you die.

Be happy for your failures. The recognition that your plans lead to death is your main chance for life.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

A Miracle on Fourth Street

Some ten years ago, Carmen was working as Head Concierge at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. I drove her to and from work, especially on those days that she worked second shift. The employee parking lot was a block away from the hotel and the streets of downtown Louisville are dark and lonely as the night reaches toward midnight.

 The second shift supposedly ended at 11 PM, but it was a very rare event for Carmen to actually leave the job at that scheduled time. I would arrive by 11 and wait in the car in an alley next to the Brown, near the employee back entrance. Sometimes I would wait there for more than an hour before Carmen finally emerged. Sometimes I would take a nap while waiting.

One warm summer evening I got a sudden urge to stop and buy a pack of Kool filtered cigarettes at the Seven - Eleven as I headed out from home for the fifteen minute drive downtown. I don't know why. Kool is not my brand of cigarettes. I had not bought a pack of Kools in the ten years before that day, nor in the ten years since then. But, I had the idea and it seemed important, so I did it. I stopped and bought one pack of Kool filtered cigarettes. 

I opened the pack and smoked one of the Kools as I drove I-64 toward downtown. I didn't like it that much, so I set the pack on the seat next to me and forgot about it.

Carmen was working later than usual that night. As I waited in the car nearly dozing, I spotted a figure in the rear-view mirror walking up the alley from behind me. It was a young black man wearing jeans and a tee-shirt walking barefoot, with a pair of heavy work boots tied by the laces slung over his shoulder. He looked tired and running on empty.

As the young man passed the back of the Brown Hotel, he stopped to pick a few cigarette butts from the employee's ashtray before continuing on. I just sat there, watching quietly.

As the young man came to the end of the alley at Fourth Street, a jolt ran through me. I should give that unwanted pack of Kool cigarettes to this guy!

I fished a five dollar bill out of my pocket, slipped it behind the cellophane cigarette pack wrapper, got out of the car and trotted after the young man. By the time I got to Fourth Street, the young man was already nearly across Theater Square and he was about to turn down another alley toward Fifth Street.

Chasing strangers down the dark alleys of Louisville in the middle of the night did not appeal to me, so I yelled, "Hey, man! You dropped this!" as I held the cigarette pack above my head and waved it at him. It was a lie, but he stopped and turned. I threw the pack of Kools at him and it landed at his feet. As he bent to pick it up, I turned and went back to my car.

Five minutes later, Carmen came out. I drove to the end of the alley and turned onto Fourth Street. I looked as we passed Theater Square and I spotted my unknown friend sitting on a bench with his face in his hands, sobbing.

Maybe one day I will hear his side of this story, but maybe not. That's OK.


-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Being truly helpful

One of the most practically significant affirmation contained within A Course in Miracles appears in the early chapters of the Text.

I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Christ, who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do because He who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

If the goal of the Course is the healing of our fragmented mind, this affirmation provides us with a concise blueprint of how that is accomplished by means of our individual intention manifested in daily practice and application. "I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal."

The first big problem is encountered in the first line of the affirmation. "I am here only to be truly helpful."  Quite apart from the impossibility of knowing what is and what is not "truly helpful" to the greater plan of atonement, there is the added challenge of holding a unified and consistent intention to want only that.

"The truly helpful are invulnerable because they are not protecting their egos, so that nothing can hurt them. Their helpfulness is their praise of God . . . The truly helpful are God’s miracle workers, whom I direct until we are all united in the joy of the Kingdom. I will direct you to wherever you can be truly helpful, and to whoever can follow my guidance through you. "

One cannot be truly helpful while listening to and following the voice of the ego.

"I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do because He who sent me will direct me."

Memorizing these five lines is a worthy and useful undertaking. Carmen and I have each done so, and repeat it to ourselves silently and to each other out loud many times each day. The value of doing this cannot be easily explained, but I recommend it.

  1. I am here only to be truly helpful.
  2. I am here to represent Christ, who sent me.
  3. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do because He who sent me will direct me.
  4. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
  5. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

One Course, Two Visions

One Course, Two Visions: A Comparison of the Teachings of the Circle of Atonement and Ken Wapnick on A Course in Miracles
by: Robert Perry, Greg Mackie, and Allen Watson,
Published by The Circle of Atonement., 2003

A person would need to be fairly familiar with the players and authors who have associated themselves with A Course in Miracles to recognize, however slightly, any of the names mentioned above. However, within the insular world of self-identified Course students, they are each well known. There has been a fair amount of history between Perry and Wapnick. History of the unpleasant political in-fighting and litigation type. The Perry camp and the Wapnick camp each have its die-hard supporters, and there are several other Course camps in addition to these two.

Free market ego competition at it's best? Worst? I don't know. It is what it is.

What these two competing camps have in common is the view that their respective understandings of what A Course in Miracles really means is superior to the other.

This book, One Course, Two Visions, does a good job of itemizing the specific areas of disagreement between Perry and Wapnick. For a beginner who is overwhelmed and intimidated by the prospect of actually studying the Course itself, this book might be a good introduction. Not only does the book cover a lot of ground in a summary way, its entire premise is an excellent reminder that there are many different ways to interpret the Course. Those who say differently ought be regarded with skepticism.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Navigating the invisible seas of spirit

A Course in Miracles is without doubt the greatest self-contained work on practical esoteric Christian mysticism of the 20th Century to first appear in the English language. Its influence is rivaled only by the collected writings associated with the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff from the first half of the last Century, but most of those works are available to English speakers only in translation. A notable exception is Maurice Nicoll's collected works published in Psychological Commentaries On the Teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) was originally published in multiple separately bound volumes. The first limited commercial printing of the Course was in four paper-bound volumes, known as the Criswell edition, in 1975. The next commercial printing in 1976 consisted of three hardbound volumes, in alignment with the principal divisions of the work into an explanatory and largely theoretical Text, the practical implementation of the ideas through daily spiritual exercises in the Workbook for Students, and a third smaller treatise called the Manual for Teachers.

By any measure the combined work collectively known as A Course in Miracles represents a large and challenging piece of reading material. The ideas presented are difficult to accept and the presentation is abstract. A Course in Miracles has the reputation, and deservedly so, of being a difficult read.

For this reason, among others, numerous authors have published many books attempting to explain the material in a less onerous fashion. Many people are drawn to the secondary explanations at the expense of neglecting the original.

This is understandable. Every book written about A Course in Miracles is easier to read than is A Course in Miracles itself. The general idea is, I suppose, to first gain a simplified grasp of the material before undertaking the difficult job of studying the original. But, there is considerable risk involved by proceeding in this way.

First, it has happened that erroneous ideas about the teaching of A Course in Miracles are accepted and take root in the mind of the student in a way that is difficult to dislodge.

Second, the student never actually gets around to the study of the Course itself.

This is not to suggest the many and varied books about A Course in Miracles lack value. This is not the case, but their value lies in supplementing a student's study of the Course. Care must be taken to avoid using the secondary materials as substitutes for the original.

Reading the original material is categorically different from reading second-hand interpretations and opinions. It is different is a way that cannot be easily explained.

The intricate and sometimes seemingly convoluted connectedness between all the various ideas contained within A Course in Miracles cannot be expressed explicitly, but they must be discovered through experience, practice, and effort. The fewer the filters injected between the original and the student, the greater is the possibility for latency.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

A Course In Miracles 1975 Criswell Edition

In the summer of 1975 Judy Scutch had a small number of reduced photo offset reproductions of the edited  A Course In Miracles manuscript printed and bound as paperbacks. Because of the large size of the material, it was necessary to divide it into four separate bound volumes. A total of three hundred four-volume sets were printed that summer in 1975, in three separate printings of one hundred sets each. These have come to be known as the Criswell Edition, after the name of the printer. At least two complete sets of the Criswell survive today. Until recently, I owned one of these sets, but that is now held by the Course In Miracles Society (CIMS). a non-profit organization located in Nebraska. The other set has been owned by Stephen Horrillo. You can see photos of his set here.

The Criswell Edition did not include the Clarification of Terms, which now appears at the end of the Manual for Teachers,  because the Criswell Edition was printed in the summer of 1975, before the Clarification was written later that Fall.

The process of printing the Criswell Edition involved photographing each page of the typewritten manuscript and reducing the size from the original 8.5 in. x 11 in. U.S. letter size to the 5.25 in. x 8.25 in. size of the finished books.

The pages that were published in the Criswell looked exactly like the typewritten manuscript, but smaller.
As you can see, this contents page for the ACIM Text was printed from a photograph of a typewritten page. You can also see that the printing on the reverse side show through. This is indicative of thin, inexpensive and pulpy paper. This is not a criticism of the product, since inexpensive was the objective, so much as it is a  factor in evaluating the scarcity of surviving examples of the Criswell. Thin, cheap and pulpy paper deteriorates faster that more expensive acid-free paper and it is more easily damaged by use. You can tell by looking at the pictures of the Criswell set shown above that these books were never read or used. The spines are not broken, there are no loose or missing pages, the corners are not bent or rounded, there are no marks or writing on the pages and there are no creases in the covers. This set is pristine and rare, but by all the appearances that can be extracted by examining photographs, so is the other set.

At least two sets of the Criswell have survived and they each appear to have never been read. This may explain why they have each survived into the 21st Century in such good condition. If the original owners had used the volumes for any serious study, the books would have likely fallen apart fairly quickly. The spines would have been broken and the pages would have started to wear at the corners and fall out.

Here are the two set shown side-by-side. The difference in the colors of the covers does not mean anything. The only way to know if the two sets have the same color covers or different color covers is to have both sets in the same room under the same lighting condition at the same time, and viewed with the same pair of eyeballs.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Is A Course in Miracles a self study course?

Question "A Course in Miracles, has been described as a self study course. My question is: What does that mean, and is it practically possible? "

Response: It's a pun that originated with Bill Thetford, whom we know for a fact had a great fondness for puns. It may have been inspired in him from the Course's echoing the ancient wisdom, "know thyself." If 'know thyself" is a guiding principle, then the undertaking is a "study of self."  Get it? A course in the study of self is a self study course.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

A question of friendship

I remember weird tidbits, like "i" before "e" except after "c" and the word "weird." One such tidbit is from the 1980's Star Trek Next Generation. The android character Data was struggling with the concept of human emotions and attachments. In conversation with a crew member who was about to leave the Enterprise for a different assignment, she said to Data, "I'll miss you." Data responded, "My circuits have grown habituated to the frequent presence of your sensory input as well." Sigh. Is that what it is?

 Just yesterday, NASA's comet-chasing spacecraft "Stardust" was ordered to burn all its remaining fuel and to shut down permanently, after a very successful 12-year mission. For Allan Cheuvront, the Stardust program manager for Lockheed Martin, it was "Like saying goodbye to a friend." Cheuvront had worked on the probe since 1996, when it was still in the design stage. He had an emotional attachment bond with a piece of machinery millions of miles off in space. It was personal.

 These attachment bonds are one way we maintain the illusion of continuity, identity and stability in an otherwise chaotic world. People come and go. Friends are made and lost. Some who run off to join the circus are remembered fondly with a wish to meet again. Others depart with a "Good riddance, I'm glad that's over with." A few hang around for a very long time. The Course tells us that all who meet shall meet again, but in an entirely different part of the book it describes what it means to really "meet" another, soul to soul.

 Did the NASA Stardust spacecraft have an inherent God-created identity, called a soul, for Cheuvront to meet and re-connect with? I don't think so, but there is no litmus test for this. Was the Star Trek character Data a creation of the Son of God imbued by his creator with the spark of eternity? Maybe, if you wish. It was just a story.
-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Space weather metaphors

There is an earth sky phenomenon known as the equinox auroral storms. They happen twice a year, during the spring equinox (now) and the fall equinox in September. When the north and south magnetic earth poles are aligned with the sun during the period of equinox, magnetic ropes form as a connection between the earth and the sun. These magnetic channels facilitate the flow of energetic solar particles from the sun to earth's upper atmosphere, which display as colorful dancing auroras in the night.
"What makes the northern lights dance? Measurements by NASA's fleet of THEMIS spacecraft indicate that these explosions of auroral activity are driven by sudden releases of energy in the Earth's magnetosphere called magnetic reconnection events. The reconnection events release energy when magnetic field lines snap like rubber bands, driving charged particles into the upper atmosphere. Stretching into space, these reconnection events occur in the magnetosphere on the Earth's night side at a distance about 1/3 of the way to the Moon." NASA
Reconnection events produce light!

This is a lovely metaphor for reconnecting to Source. Let there be light.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

The Egyptian miracle

In the Western esoteric tradition, ancient Egypt has frequently been used as a symbol for the world of flesh, or as it is named in A Course In Miracles,the world of the ego. The power of the Pharaoh was pervasive, capricious, indifferent, and seemingly absolute. The working out of history on a grand scale has been the story, repeated again and again, of escape from the conditions of slavery epitomized by the story of Exodus and the early Hebrews as captives of a cruel and despotic regime.

The United States of America, as a nation, can be rightfully proud of its role in history as a leader of evolving civilization by incorporating the principles of liberty and freedom as keystones in the structure of our self-government. Seventy years ago, on January 6, 1941, when the country was on the verge of confronting the dictatorial war machines in Germany, Italy and Japan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his eighth State of the Union Address, best remembered for his enunciation of the Four Freedoms.

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.

This famous speech was referenced in the ACIM urtext.
You have heard many arguments on behalf of “the freedoms,” which would indeed have been freedom if man had not chosen to fight for them. That is why they perceive “the freedoms” as many instead of one.

In recent days the good people of Egypt have risen up peacefully and fearlessly to protest their enslavement and to demand what is rightly theirs. As citizens of the United States, we cannot but in good conscious stand up along with our Egyptian brothers and sisters, and affirm with them the core beliefs of our own heritage:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
As the Course reminds us, "You must still choose freely to devote your heritage to the greater Restoration. As long as a single slave remains to walk the earth, your release is not complete. Complete restoration of the Sonship is the only true goal of the miracle-minded."

Still, there are many voices of fear yet yammering for attention in this country. There are those who look to the future with dread, and hope to bargain with the devil for a few more years of "stability" at the expense of our brothers and sisters in Egypt. The lunatic prognosticators are spinning their assorted scenarios of doom to come because of this recent upheaval, but the black vision of the frightened separated ones shall not prevail. Not this time.

The argument that underlies the defense of freedom is perfectly valid. Because it is true, it should not be fought for, but it should be sided with. Those who are against freedom believe that its outcome will hurt them, which cannot be true. But those who are for freedom, even if they are misguided in how they defend it, are siding with the one thing in this world which IS true.

Returning to Roosevelt's speech, he stated:
No realistic American can expect from a dictator's peace international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion — or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. "Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Be glad for the developments in Egypt and look to the future with a bright hope. Be at peace. As the Egyptian youth have declared, "Fear has been defeated."

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Who The Meek Are Not

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," says the Bible. That doesn't mean what most people think it does. The word translated as "meek" is the Greek word praus, which in ancient times didn't mean "weak-willed, passive, mild." Rather, it referred to great power that was under rigorous control. For example, soldiers' warhorses were considered praus. They heeded the commands of their riders, but were fierce warriors that fought with tireless fervor. - Rob Brezsny

Who The Meek Are Not
by Mary Karr

Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent
under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep
in the rice-paddy muck,
nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles
make the wheat fall in waves
they don't get to eat. My friend the Franciscan
nun says we misread
that word meek in the Bible verse that blesses them.
To understand the meek
(she says) picture a great stallion at full gallop
in a meadow, who—
at his master's voice—seizes up to a stunned
but instant halt.
So with the strain of holding that great power
in check, the muscles
along the arched neck keep eddying,
and only the velvet ears
prick forward, awaiting the next order.

The Atlantic - May 2002

1218 S. 2nd Street,
Louisville, KY 40203

Workbook lesson 1

I read the instructions very carefully, and all that is said about it is, "Do not undertake more than one exercise a day." For example, the instructions do not say to start with lesson number one, proceed to lesson number two, follow that with lesson number three, and so on in normal numeric sequence.

I think that it doesn't need to be said. It's obvious that is the intended plan. Start at the beginning and proceed one lesson at a time, in sequence, until you reach the end.

Still, I want to jump back to lesson one to make a point.

When I look around this room I'm in, at the various objects, cats and people in it, and say, "This does not mean anything," my only responses is:

That's not true.

Everything I look at means something to me.

I have a name, however generic a word it may be, for everything I see. If I don't have a name for something, I make one up. It's a doodad or a thingamabob or a gadget. And, everything I look at has a specific quality of ownership attached to it.

"That's my thingamabob, and you better not break it. Give it back."

I look at my left hand, see the 3 inch scar, and remember the spring day in 1969 when I was standing on a ladder against a tree doing some pruning, and I almost sawed my thumb off.

That means something to me.

My world is chock full of meaning. Psychologists have long recognized that people become anxious and disturbed when they can't easily fit a new experience into their preexisting definition of reality. People demand to know how the world works, what is important,  what is not, and what it all means.

I'm thinking that if everyone is totally honest, nobody believes lesson one.

But, that's OK. The instructions clearly state that we are not asked to believe the lessons.

Just do the exercise mindfully, and see what comes up for you as you look around your world.

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
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Workbook lesson 4

"Unlike the preceding ones, these exercises do not begin with the idea for the day."

What does this mean?

Maybe I'm supposed to laugh at the thought the editors, whoever they were, couldn't resist the urge to uniformity by putting the "idea for the day" first, in the lesson title, as it is with all the other lessons.

"These thoughts do not mean anything," is the idea for the day, and there it is right at the beginning of the lesson page in the book I'm looking at.

It's possible to look at it as if it were a joke or a lie, but why bother? Let's take it seriously.

This exercise does not begin with, "these thoughts do not mean anything." It begins with "noting the thoughts that are crossing your mind." 

The implication is that you are not your thoughts. The suggestion is that thoughts just happen. They appear, move across your mind, and disappear. Like clouds in sky.

For some, this may be a novel idea. Some have realized this intuitively, or recognize it from another source.

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
on Facebook

ACIM Workbook exercise 3

ACIM Workbook exercise 3

"I do not understand anything I see," is not to be understood, it is to be applied "in the same way as the previous one."

The previous lesson, number 2, states the "exercises with this idea are the same as those for the first one."

The first one states, "practice applying this idea very specifically to whatever you see." From the examples given in the exercises, one might think the practice consisted of:

  1. Looking at something,
  2. Identifying it by name, and
  3. Repeating the phrases,
    • "This table does not mean anything" (lesson 1),
    • "I have given this table all the meaning that it has for me" (lesson 2), and
    • "I do not understand this table" (lesson 3).
However, identifying an object within our field of vision and naming it is a big part of the process by which we give meaning to things in our respective worlds. A different language would mean different words, meanings and associations.

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
on Facebook

The meaning of anger

"If you respond with anger you must be equating yourself with the destructible,
and are therefore regarding yourself insanely."

A Course In Miracles

Anger is easiest to recognize and acknowledge as an emotional experience, but since ego-identified belief systems separate and isolate to the point of worthlessness, anger is impossible to understand or heal as an easily identified symptom out of context. Anger is not only an emotional experience, it is a small component of a larger process. The part of anger that intrudes into awareness is but the tip of a submerged psychological iceberg.
"You have reacted for years as if you were being crucified. This is a marked tendency of the separated ones, who always refuse to consider what they have done to themselves. Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, and assault promotes fear."
A Course In Miracles
There are several variations on a theme, but one common scenario described in the Course progresses as follows:
  • If you perceive yourself as being attacked, you will tend to view the attack as unjustified and unreasonable;
  • If you also perceive yourself as vulnerable, you will view the attack as doing you harm or depriving you of something valuable;
  • Anger results from being harmed without justification, or deprived for no good reason;
  • In its own context, anger is rational;
  • It is logical for those who are attacked for no good reason to defend themselves;
  • One popular method of self-defense is to attack back;
  • Attack breeds fear of retaliation;
  • Attack begets attack, which involves anger, that breeds fear, which invokes improper defenses centered upon threat of retaliation.
Anger is part of a cyclical process of attack and counter-attack, but according to the Course, "Anger is never justified." The Course addresses each of the components of this anger-assault-fear cycle directly and individually with a many-pronged challenge to conventional ego-identified thinking. A major part of the Course's radical message is contained within The Gift of Forgiveness.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky