10/30/08

Angels of love and hope

Give the gift of hope. That's the idea anyway. For the materialistic minded stuck in specifics, it may boil down to giving a pretty coffee mug. If it is the thought that counts, it's cool if the gift itself contains the thought.

Here are about two dozen unique angel miracle coffee mugs through CafePress.com based upon the angel illustrations of Carmen Cameron, coupled with quotes and ideas borrowed from A Course in Miracles.

Christmas Angel Miracle Mugs

Alphabet Angel Miracle Mugs

From: Give the gift of hope on The Learning Curve

10/15/08

Aloneness or Oneness?

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 - 1980) was the leading figure in 20th century French philosophy, in the Existentialist tradition. Sartre was also a playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. His 1944 No Exit is perhaps his best known play. It has been adapted to film three times, with the most recent being the 2006 version directed by Etienne Kallos.

No Exit begins with the character Garcin being led into a room that the audience soon realizes is in hell. The room has no windows, no mirrors, and only one door. Eventually Garcin is joined by two woman. After their entry, the valet leaves and the door to the room is shut and locked. All expect to be physically tortured, but no torturer arrives. Instead, the characters come to understand they are there to torture each other.

Most of the play is about the pain they try to inflict upon each other verbally. They apply psychological torture to each other effectively by probing the other's flaws, desires, failings, and unpleasant memories, without compassion and absent the will to heal. Near the end of the play, Garcin demands he be released, and at his words the locked door flies open. However, none of the three will leave.

" . . . . Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
’relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave! "

Hotel California - Eagles

No Exit is the source of Sartre's most famous quotation, "Hell is other people." This quote is perhaps the most succinct summation of how the ego belief system views a world full to the brim with others. It is an attitude that may reliably be categorized as an ego belief because a major lesson of the Course is the right-minded view of our brother as our savior. Every encounter with an other has the potential for being a Holy Encounter. The Course teaches us the polar opposite of Sartre's statement, "Hell is other people."

"The analysis of the ego's "real" motivation is the modern equivalent of the inquisition, for in both a brother's errors are "uncovered" and he is then attacked for his own good. What can this be but projection? For his errors lay in the minds of his interpreters, for which they punished him. Whenever you fail to recognize a call for help you are refusing help. Would you maintain that you do not need it? Yet this IS what you are maintaining when you refuse to recognize a brother's appeal, for only by answering his appeal can you be helped. Deny him your help and you will not perceive God's answer to you."

- A Corse in Miracles, Original Edition
The Course teaches that Heaven is other people. Heaven is here, Heaven is now, and the means are at hand through our relationships with others. Heaven is right here and now among us all. When Jesus said, "Lo, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21), he was talking to a crowd. The New International Version (NIV) of the Gospels gives an alternate translation for this passage, "the kingdom of God is among you." The "you" being spoken to is you (plural).

Greta Garbo is famous for saying, with some considerable sincerity, "I want to be left alone." It is easy to see that this sentiment is the sugar-coated version of "Hell is other people," and that it means the same thing. I want to be left alone because being with other people is hell, from the ego's point of view.

Super sugar-coated renditions of the idea, "Hell is other people," are found the writings of various Hindu gurus and mystics, and others. One such is the following quote from the Ashtavakra Gita, an ancient Hindu text that presents the traditional teachings of Advaita Vedanta:

"He has gained the fruit of knowledge,
as well as the fruit of practice of yoga,
who, contented and purified in his senses,
ever revels in his aloneness.
Oh! The knower of truth
knows no misery in this world,
for the whole universe is filled by himself alone."

- Ashtavakra Gita

Whatever similarities the Hindu teachings of Advaita Vedanta may have with A Course in Miracles, it is easy enough to spot the obvious differences. Advaita teaches that you alone are God, where the Course is clear that you are not God and you are not alone. The Course teaches an over-arching oneness of unified purpose and essential relationship between God and the Sonship. Advaita Vedanta teaches an ideal of total identification with the ultimate Godhead in its singular aloneness. The contrast could not be more clear.

To modern Western ears, the teachings of Advaita Vedanta and so-called "non-dualism" sound very similar to the idea of solipsism.

Solipsism is a word constructed from the Latin root words 'solus,' meaning alone, and 'ipse,' or self. Literally it means "the self alone," and it is the philosophical idea that "My mind is the only thing that I know exists." With solipsism, the external world and other minds cannot be known, and may not exist at all.

Although this may have some superficial similarity with some isolated teachings of the Course, it is certainly not the meaning of the Course when it is taken as a whole. Entire sections of the Course relating to the joining of minds would need to be swept under the rug or otherwise discounted. The Course takes the position that other minds not only can be known, the false divisions that create an appearance of separate minds must be healed to know the true Oneness of a unified whole.

If solipsism represents the idea that nothing exists outside yourself, the Course offers the view that if anything is seen outside of yourself is only because you have defined your 'self' as much too small. We don't know who we are, in other words, or even how big we really are. Not to mention where we are. It is an important distinction.

As Peter Scholtes wrote, "There is a difference between having a vision and suffering from a hallucination."

9/9/08

Reincarnation or recurrence?

Memories of your childhood memories of a prior incarnation. I've heard that there are many well-documented cases of children knowing things of other lives and bodies in other places that cannot be easily explained by the usual means.

I understand that. What I do not understand is the tendency to take a trivially insignificant number of examples such as those presented and then try to form a general rule from it, applicable to everyone. In this case, it seems, there may be the desire to have a rule regarding the idea of reincarnation . . . that everyone reincarnates from, say, a lifetime in Nazi Germany to a life in post-war North America.

The Manual for Teachers says this about it:

"Changes are required in the of God's teachers. This may or may not involve changes in the external situation. Remember that no one is where he is by accident, and chance plays no part in God's plan. It is most unlikely that changes in attitudes would not be the first step in the newly made teacher of God's training. There is, however, no set pattern, since training is always highly individualized. There are those who are called upon to change their life situation almost immediately, but these are generally special cases. By far the majority are given a slowly evolving training program, in which as many previous mistakes as possible are corrected . . . "

A "a slowly evolving training program" would be more in alignment with the idea of recurrence.

The idea of recurrence is basically this - A seeming split second after last closing your eyes in the sleep of death, you re-open them with a slap on the butt while hanging by your feet, smacked by the same doctor, in the same hospital room, in the same city, on the same date these many decades ago when you seemed to be born as an infant child, of your same parents and with the same brothers and sisters. You live your life again with no "changes in the external situation."

You are right back where you started . . .

. . . and you get to choose again.

It is like the movie Groundhog Day, except it is your whole life and not just one day.

Manual for Teachers - 24. Is Reincarnation So?

9/1/08

Personal help desk - web improvements

I've spent a good part of the weekend writing a server-side program to
handle web-based information requests from, and email contacts with,
spiritual advisers who offer one-to-one consultations based upon the
principles of A Course in Miracles. Here's how it works:

1. A pop-up window accepts a person's name, email address, and
question or request in standard web form fields.

2. When the information is submitted on-line, it is stored in a
temporary server file in the 'pending' category, and a confirmation
email is sent out to the email address the person provided.

3. When the person acknowledges that the message is authentic by
clicking the link provided, the email address of the spiritual advisor
is fetched from an off-line file, the message is sent, and the file is
removed from the 'pending' category.

After this, all communications are directly between the spiritual
advisor and the individual.

There is nothing the least bit new or innovative about this. The idea
has been around on the web for ages. It is just that I finally got
around to implementing my own version of it, the way I think it ought
to be done.

You can see the first public release in operation here, under Carmen Cameron, click on the link "Send a message or ask a question."

-oOo-

Peace,

Tom Fox
Editor, acimFIND.info

8/20/08

New cover design for the Course



On at least three different occasions, Helen Schucman reported seeing dreams and visions of a black book. In one vision there was a gold cross on the cover. In another, a string of pearls was draped across the book.

When Carmen Cameron asked her guidance for a cover design for the CIMS editions of the Course, she was reminded of Helen's visions. This is how it is explained on the back of the CIMS complete Original Edition hard back dustcover:

"In the months just preceding the beginning of the dictation of A Course In Miracles, Dr. Helen Schucman experienced a series of vivid waking and sleeping dreams. In three of those dreams, she was presented with a book. It was thick and black and had large gold letters on the cover. In one of those dreams, she saw it draped in a strand of pearls. And that image had such an impact on her that it was recreated for the official documentary about the history of the Course.

"The dust jacket of this volume is in tribute to that image. And it is an homage to a deep and growing appreciation of Dr. Schucman’s perseverance and dedication to the completion of the Course.

"And, too, there is a very ancient and universal symbolism to pearls. From the earliest of times, pearls have been considered miraculous. Unique in all the world of nature, their beauty comes from the most mundane of substances and yet it is somehow transformed by a living organism into one of the most beautiful objects known to man. Pearls have become an archetypal image of what can happen to the human mind that dedicates itself to perfection, utilizing the hard knocks of daily living as a stimulus to growth.

The Pearl of Great Price”. . .
that which is of such momentous value that you would sell all that you own to possess it.

Pearls of Wisdom”. . .
thoughts which illuminate and simplify one’s thinking, bringing peace and clarity of mind.

A String of Pearls”. . .
a veritable chain of wisdom and insights, spreading out and then interweaving as a string of brilliant flashes that lighten up the very dark world we see around us.

A string of pearls is thus a perfect symbol for A Course In Miracles.

Graphic design and pre-press by
Carmen Cameron & Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

8/14/08

I Digg the Course

What is Digg.com?

Digg.com is one of the Internet's primer social bookmarking sites. It provides a means to share and comment upon favorite web pages, and to vote for pages that others have shared. To vote for a web page is to "Digg It!"

Millions of people scan the links on Digg.com every day. They are mostly young and technically savvy Internet users, and most could not care less about A Course in Miracles. But a few . . . a precious few, who might stumble across just the right idea at just the right time for them, could add another beacon of light to a troubled world.

Digging the Course on Digg.com is a way to extend the love, and you can add your blessing to the project quickly, easily, and without any cost to you. Setting up the Digg.com bookmarks in the first place is the hard part. That's the part we take care of. Joining Digg.com and voting for the pages is the easy quick part.

What can you do?

First, create an account on Digg.com. All that is needed is for you to provide a user name, an email address, a password, and a few other details. You will not receive any annoying solicitations from Digg.com, although you do receive email notices of membership activity. The annoying part of Digg.com is the slow-loading advertising on the pages.

Join Digg.com now

Second, once your account is created and you are logged-in (be sure to write down your user name and password), you can click on the ACIM bookmark links below and then click the "Digg" button on the Digg.com web page for that ACIM page:

Workbook Lesson 1
Workbook Lesson 2
Workbook Lesson 3
Workbook Lesson 4
Workbook Lesson 5
Workbook Lesson 6
Workbook Lesson 7
Workbook Lesson 8
Workbook Lesson 9
Workbook Lesson 10
Workbook Lesson 333

Also, you can allow us to become your friends on Digg.com. Follow these links to our personal Digg.com profile pages, and click the "Add Friend" button.

Carmen Cameron
Tom Fox

And, you may also add you own comments about the ACIM pages. Digg.com is open to anyone, so you might encounter some who are actively hostile to A Course in Miracles and its message, but that is to be expected.

Thank you for your participation.
Thank you for who you are.

August 14, 2008
Louisville, Kentucky

7/7/08

Sex, statistics, and editing the Course

From the early Course-related documents available to us, we learn that Jesus used specific experiences from the lives of Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford to illustrate the ideas he was communicating. On one occasion while the Text portion of the Course was being given to Helen and Bill, Jesus used Helen's sexual attraction to a fellow co-worker at Columbia University, to launch into a concept he said was "an area the miracle worker must understand."

" . . . . [Helen's] confusion of sex and statistics is an interesting example of this whole issue. Note that night you spent . . . doing a complex factorial analysis of covariance . . . you wanted that design [for a psychology test], and Jack [a colleague at Columbia University] opposed it. One of the real reasons why that evening was so exhilarating was because it represented a 'battle of intellects'. . . each communicating exceptionally clearly but on opposite sides. The sexual aspects were naturally touched off in both of you, because of the sex and aggression confusion . . ."
There was more than just physical attraction that sparked between the two on that occasion. There was also "the complete respect each of your offered to the other’s intellect."

However, there was also an error involved.
"The error . . . [was] because neither of you was respecting all of the other. There is a great deal more to a person than intellect & genitals [physical attraction]. The omission was the Soul. Sex is often utilized on behalf of very similar errors. Hostility, triumph, vengeance, self-debasement, and all sort of expressions of the lack of love are often very clearly seen in the accompanying fantasies . . . . "
Neither Helen nor Jack were perceiving each other as complete beings, or in a way that included their spiritual or soul component. Certain aspects were selected out and focused upon to the exclusion of the whole.

It is not uncommon these days to focus exclusively upon physical characteristics of another and to exclude everything else. Thus the term 'sex object,' or not seeing the other as a person at all, but just as a means of personal sexual gratification.

The discussion between Jesus and Helen up to this point was fairly straight-forward psychology, and was not directly a topic for the Course itself. The discussion outlined above was edited out of the 1972 version of the Course. The discussion was, however, the basis for something else. Something very important for miracle-workers to know and understand.
"The confusion of miracle impulse with sexual impulse is a major source of perceptual distortion, because it induces rather than straightening out the basic level-confusion which underlies all those who seek happiness with the instruments of the world . . . I want to finish the instructions about sex, because this is an area the miracle worker must understand. Inappropriate sex drives (or misdirected miracle-impulses) result in guilt if expressed, and depression if denied. We said before that all real pleasure comes from doing God’s will. Whenever it is not done an experience of lack results. This is because not doing the will of God IS a lack of self. . . The pleasure which is derived from sex as such is reliable only because it stems from an error which men shared. Awareness of the error produces the guilt. Denial of the error results in projection. Correction of the error brings release."
The "error which men shared," was that sex as such, or relating to bodies alone and without relating to the whole, was pleasurable by itself.

Although the clear topic of discussion here was sexual impulses, when the time came for Bill and Helen to edit the Course, they changed "sexual impulse" to "physical impulses," but left the remainder very similar to the original dictation. This is how it reads in the 1972 version:
"The confusion of miracle impulses with physical impulses is a major source of perceptual distortion because it induces, rather than straightens out, the basic level confusion which underlies the perception of all those who seek happiness with the instruments of this world. Inappropriate physical impulses (or misdirected miracle impulses) result in conscious guilt if expressed and depression if denied. all real pleasure comes from doing God's will. This is because not doing it is a denial of self. Denial of error results in projection. correction of error brings release."
Although Bill and Helen had reservations about express mention of sexual issues in their proposed public version of the Course, some of the basic message still shows through their editing. It was, however, rendered much less useful.

With the final round of editing immediately prior to first release of the Course to the general public in 1975, the passage took a bizarre twist. The published version first states that miracle impulses should not be confused with physical impulses, but in the next sentence it states, "Physical impulses are misdirected miracle impulses." The original "denial of error results in projection" is changed to "denial of self results in illusions."

It is amazing how a straight forward discussion of sex got so twisted around.

6/30/08

Christ control

These are the references to Christ-control that were deleted from the edited version of ACIM published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. These excerpts are reproduced here for reference purposes. The concepts of the unconscious mind and of Christ-control are very important to understand what is required to be a miracle-worker.

1. Remember, you already have a point about the involuntary nature of miracles. We also have established the fact that everything involuntary belongs under Christ-control, not under yours. Under Christ-control, miracles replenish the doer as well as the receiver.

2. Christ-controlled miracles are part of the Atonement, but Christ-guidance is personal, and leads to personal salvation. The impersonal nature of miracles is an essential ingredient, because this enables me to control their distribution as I see fit. Christ-guidance, on the other hand, leads to the highly personal experience of revelation. This is why it involves personal choice. A guide does not control, by definition, but he does direct, leaving the following up to you.

3. Tell Bill that his slip [of tongue] should be noted. Some slips reach consciousness from the un-Christ-controlled subconscious, and betray lack of love. But others come from the superconscious, which is in communion with God, and which can also break into consciousness. His slip was an expression of a soul gaining enough strength to request freedom from prison. It will ultimately demand it.

4. Scribes must learn Christ-control, to replace their former habits, which did produce scarcity rather than abundance. From errors of this kind, the sense of deprivation IS inevitable, but very easily corrected.

5. The miracles you are told not to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of Grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be Christ-controlled, because of his complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your own grace, but only Christ is in a position to know where Grace can be bestowed.

6. Readiness here means keep your perception right side up, or valid, so you will always be ready, willing, and able. These are the essentials for "listen, learn, and do." You must be ready to listen willing to learn and able to do. Only the last is involuntary, because it is the application of miracles which must be Christ-controlled. But the other two, which are the voluntary aspects of miracle-mindedness, are up to you.

7. Christ-controlled miracles are selective only in that they are directed toward those who can use them for themselves. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a very strong chain of Atonement is welded. But Christ-control takes no account at all of the magnitude of the miracle itself, because the concept of size exists only in a plane that is itself unreal.

8. Fear cannot be Christ-controlled, but it can be self-controlled. Fear is always associated with what does not matter. It prevents Me from controlling it. The correction is therefore a matter of your will, because its presence shows that you have raised the unimportant to a higher level than it warrants. You have thus brought it under your will, where it does not belong. This meansyou feel responsible for it. The level confusion here is perfectly obvious. The reason that I cannot control fear for you is that you are attempting to raise to the mind level the proper content of the lower-order reality. I do not foster level confusion, but you can will to correct it. You would not tolerate insane behavior on your part, and would hardly advance the excuse that you could not help it. Why should you tolerate insane thinking?

Course inspired poetry by Thulananda

The sticky bits

The laws of chaos held me prisoner
in darkness deep and searing pain.
Fierce anger burned as bright as fire
and cold as ice the howling wind:

No hands to hold, no smile to find
confusion rife, and love unseen
did crawl into my mind, my angry
blindness seeking but relief to escape
my drear dark sticky broken life.

I saw my brother stumble and his errors
were so fierce, affecting all around them
in forever loss and lack and blame:
I saw his pain,
and did not know how to respond.
oh, shame...

The need to blame then quickly found
its target blindly, slaying all that was so
good a while ago: all gone and lost
like sticky plastic blowing in the wind.

No religion nor belief could aid us,
helplessly entrapped in chaos' snares,
to follow but the call of money and
of wives and friends to suit our taste.

When looking now upon this saddened scene
I sought to lay the blame on me, for
it is me that what I see, and Shiva's
arms did rescue me from Kali's claws.

There is no blame! but darkness swelled,
my learning incomplete, despondency
then dwelled within my chest and eyes;
defeat my lot, and healing far behind.

This living death could not allay
a spark to enter here, and there,
to light this saddened life away
from never-ending sad despair.

These sparks, alive with love became
my guide, for nothing helps but light
to shine with beams in darkened night
and see the blighted terror flee away.

I cannot blame my brother for my blindness,
nor can I hide my nakedness from God.
Yet when I came before the Throne without defenses
a miracle or two and help was now my lot.

I stood there shiv'ring, and received
a cloak of peace to wear, with belt to fasten
to my heart and mind - to hasten Home !-
A crown was placed upon my head
with shining light therein:

forgiveness is the key to put away all sin.

Then I step back into Their Holy Arms
with innocence bestowed on all I see
and know those children lost,
my brothers! are like me:
and we are One.

I gratitude I know
that trusting all
will follow.



thulananda
2008-06-30
Yahoo! Group - I Know that I Am

6/28/08

Fire and Ice

In an early transcript of A Course in Miracles there is a curious use of the phrase "fire and ice":

"Revelations induce complete but temporary suspension of doubt and fear. They represent the original form of communication between God and His Souls, before the intrusion of fire and ice made this impossible."

Although the section "before the intrusion of fire and ice made this impossible," was edited out, and does not appear in the 1972 version of the Course, it seems likely the meaning of "fire and ice" is to be found in Rober Frost's short poem by that name.

Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

first published in Harper’s Magazine, December 1920
re-published in Frost's 1923 book New Hampshire

In this poem Frost compares two world-destroying forces: fire, representing passion, and ice, symbolizing hatred. Frost presents desire as somethig he has tasted, enough at least to recognize its destructive potential, and that it is his first choice over hatred, which he also knows. It is interesting that for Frost, hatred is likened to the frigid rigidity of ice.

The Course holds the view that the world we know will not be destroyed by passion and hatred. It is the intrusion of these forces - fire and ice - that cut us off from communion with God, and which hold the world of separation in place.


6/9/08

Christmas day 1999 - JCIM cover art


The original artwork that was used for the cover of the 2000 edition of Jesus' Course in Miracles was inspired by a Christmas day meditation, December, 1999.

Artist: Carmen Cameron
Louisville, Kentucky





Jesus' Course in Miracles was published in paperback by the Course in Miracles Society in April, 2000. Distribution of the edition was shut down almost immediately by lawyers for Kenneth Wapnick and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

Gloom from the past

Sometimes change and improvement can be noticed only be comparing now with then. Here is a piece I wrote nearly eight years ago during the height, or the depth, of the ACIM copyright wars.

I'm glad that my attitude has changed for the better since then.

Subterranean Holy War Blues
Tom Fox - Louisville, Kentucky
July 10, 2000

What do you do with a holy book, a book that looks like a bible and which is revered by thousands as such, when you suddenly discover it might not be holy at all? Burn it or just forget it?

For twenty-five years the book "A Course In Miracles" has been promoted as being the miraculously communicated words of Jesus Christ. According to the widely published story of its origin, it was claimed the lengthy three-part work had been "dictated" by the "voice" of Jesus Christ "speaking" to Helen Schucman, who merely "scribed" the "inner dictation" in collaboration with her professional colleague, William Thetford, and the dictated words were published "virtually unchanged." Helen Schucman died in 1981 and during her lifetime she steadfastly denied any claim to authorship of "A Course In Miracles" and refused to have her name associated with the book.

When faced with legal challenges to the validity of the copyright on the Course due to the representations of divine origin, the story has been shifted. In court, Helen Schucman has now been proclaimed as the real author of "A Course In Miracles." The Foundation for A Course In Miracles, a New York corporation which presently claims ownership maintains in court papers that the book is merely a self-study course in psychological mind training and not a religious document at all. The renewal of a multi-million dollar book contract likely depends upon the validity of the copyright. The Course has sold over 1.3 million copies and its commercial value has resulted in a U.S. trademark registration on the name, a residential teaching center in the Catskills in New York and a teaching branch in California. "A Course In Miracles" has been translated into a half-dozen foreign languages.

Helen Schucman was a research psychologist at Columbia University in New York City working as an assistant to William Thetford, Ph.D. Declassified documents made available through the Freedom of Information Act show that Dr. Thetford worked at Columbia on part of the CIA's now infamous MK Ultra project on mind control, or the so-called "Manchurian Candidate" project. Much of the work on "A Course In Miracles" occurred in their University offices and at University, or perhaps CIA, expense.

Although Thetford and Schucman may have possessed the combined intelligence and sophistication to concoct "A Course In Miracles" as a hoax, or as a mind control experiment, all available evidence indicates that that Thetford and Schucman themselves genuinely believed the words of "A Course In Miracles" to have come from some outside intelligence, and that it was not their own creation.

A Catholic priest who was also a Ph.D. psychologist, Benedict J. Groeschel, was a very close friend of Helen Schucman. He gave a eulogy at her funeral in 1981. Father Groeschel wrote in his book, "A Still, Small Voice, A Practical Guide On Reported Revelations," Ignatius Press 1993, "This woman who had written so eloquently that suffering really did not exist spent the last two years of her life in the blackest psychotic depression I have ever witnessed."

During an October 1994 lecture on "Discernment" given at Holy Cross Church, Rumson, N.J., Father Groeschel also stated his belief that Helen Schucman's experience with the channeled "spirit" was possibly a true diabolic manifestation. As a psychologist and having served as an exorcist for the Catholic Church, Father Groeschel is professionally qualified to speak to both the psychological and spiritual aspects of the phenomenon.

To make matters more complicated, an earlier version of "A Course In Miracles" was recently discovered in the Edgar Cayce Foundation Library, named after the famous Kentucky psychic, at the Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) in Virginia Beach, Va. It is obvious this earlier typed manuscript was extensively modified to produce the 1975 published version, in contradiction to the public claim that the version of "A Course In Miracles" available in bookstores is substantially the same as the original "dictation" from Jesus. A copy of this pre-1975 version of ACIM was obtained by unidentified individuals, digitized, and freely distributed on the Internet, prompting a storm of controversy and threats of litigation.

The instructional and promotional materials produced by those claiming ownership of "A Course In Miracles" uniformly misrepresent the true extent of the pre-1975 editing to the original "dictated" words of "Jesus." Large portions were deleted and terms were modified. As one example, the term "spiritual eye" in the pre-1975 version was changed to "Holy Spirit" in the bookstore edition. Many long-term students of the Course are shocked when they first discover the true extent of the modification. In the world of academic scholarship, uncovering this distortion of "history" surrounding the origin of "A Course In Miracles" might well be considered a major scandal. In the world where the name of Jesus Christ is used to sell books and build fortunes, it might be expected.

The repeated claims in print and on video of Jesus' authorship, and the first-person style of "A Course In Miracles" itself, have convinced many of the 1.3 million purchasers of the book to believe what it says and to act upon its teachings. This includes the formation of church organizations based upon "A Course In Miracles" and individuals who are willing to risk litigation to follow their faith in the Course's teaching. Many believe the mandate expressed in "A Course In Miracles" is to freely give away what are considered to be the actual words of a living Jesus Christ.

Ironically, those claiming copyright and trademark ownership have pursued a strategy of suing the Course's strongest supporters and adherents. Kenneth Wapnick, president of the Foundation for a Course In Miracles, denies that Jesus was an actual historical person. Some have suggested a personal vendetta by Dr. Wapnick against those who accept the literal truth of Jesus' life, crucifixion and resurrection. The legal attacks may also be explained as an attempt to placate the Penguin publishing group and to preserve a multi-million dollar empire.

Penguin/Viking is the current publisher of ACIM under a five-year contract that is timed to expire early next year.

A recently formed non-profit corporation, Course In Miracles Society, was organized to print and distribute the pre-1975 version of ACIM, as being the "more authentic words of Jesus." The members of Course In Miracles Society believe that the copyright on the Course is invalid or unenforceable for a number of reasons and they are willing to contend with Wapnick's Foundation in court.

On the other hand, some of the more technically inclined fans of "A Course In Miracles" have resolved to use the latest Internet technology, including the anonymous distributed data storage and retrieval protocol known as "the Gnutella network", to make the digital version of the pre-1975 manuscript freely available on the Internet and immune from legal threats under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is the same technology used to make life miserable for music publishers.

The efforts of Wapnick's Foundation to prevent this Internet distribution has been largely unsuccessful. The digital version of the pre-1975 manuscript is still easily located for free download on the Internet, and an informal international network of computer savvy volunteers, mostly well hidden and beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts, has grown in response to the threats of legal action.

In April, the pre-1975 manuscript was published by Course In Miracles Society in book form with the title "Jesus' Course In Miracles." Within a few days of first distributing the book the Society was sued for copyright infringement by Wapnick's Foundation, and the Society was temporarily restrained from further activity. One of the possible remedies for a copyright infringement, if the Foundation prevails in court, is the destruction of all copies of the offending book.

What do you do with a holy book, a book that looks like a bible and which is revered by thousands as such, when you suddenly discover it may not be holy?

Maybe a Federal Judge will decide to burn it, but it is unlikely it will go away or be forgotten.

Subterranean Holy War Blues

An infusion of spirit

A metaphor . . . .

Consider a sugar cube placed in a bucket of water. At first there is a clear boundary line between pure sugar and the water. Almost immediately the sugar cube begins to dissolve and diffuse. Then there are three regions:
  • Pure sugar.

  • Sugar water.

  • Pure water with no sugar.

Given enough time the sugar cube will totally dissolve and disappear from sight. The sugar will be dispersed throughout the whole bucket in a weak diluted form.

But, even when the sugar and water are completely mixed together, they are still separate and distinct chemical compounds. The water doesn't change the sugar and the sugar does not change the water. Boil the water until it all evaporates, and the sugar will re-crystallize. When the water is gone, only the sugar remains.

This metaphor can be used to picture the pure sacred impulse - illustrated by the sugar cube - originating from outside the world as we know it, and being placed within the world. Straight away after its arrival, the influences of the world begin to act upon it and weaken it.

An application . . . .

A Course in Miracles is a big and imposing book. Many are intimidated by it, perhaps fearing they are not smart enough to understand it or that it is too difficult. So they turn to others for an easy explanation.

There is nothing wrong with seeking help from others, but many distortions have been introduced by well-intended teachers of the Course. That's just the way things work when spirit is injected into the world.

The only authority on what the Course says is the Course itself.

6/8/08

Identity of redemption

In the thinking of the world the words 'savior' and 'redeemer' are generally connected to individual identity. The words convey a status rather than describe a function, and they are commonly used to indicate a unique special status, as in "Jesus is savior and redeemer of the world, and you are not."

A Course in Miracles makes it clear that this type of thinking has all the hallmarks of the ego's thought system. The Course tells us that Jesus is neither special nor unique, only that he was first to realize "I and my Father are one." According to the Course, this is a realization that must, in time, dawn upon every seemingly separated mind. It is an essential stage in the plan of atonement.

Savior and redeemer of the world is not an honorable title used to indicate a lofty status of specialness, it is a function. The word 'savior' does not indicate an identity. Our identity, or who we are, is established by God, according to the Course, and in God's eternity there is no need for saviors.
"The soul never loses its communion with God. Only the mind needs Atonement . . . Whatever is true and real is eternal, and cannot change or be changed. The soul is therefore unalterable because it is already perfect, but the mind can elect the level it chooses to serve."
The soul does not need salvation, but the mind does.
"If you would be a savior, you must understand what needs to be escaped. Salvation is not theoretical. Behold the problem, ask for the answer, and then accept it when it comes. Nor will its coming be long delayed. All the help you can accept will be provided, and not one need you have will not be met. Let us not, then, be too concerned with goals for which you are not ready. God takes you where you are and welcomes you. What more could you desire, when this is all you need?
Savior and redeemer of the world is not who you are, it is what you manifest. You are called upon the be spirit's manifestation in this world.

6/5/08

Bringing light to darkness


"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." 
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung

-oOo-


The Course outlines a two-step process of first becoming a miracle worker and then being a miracle worker in the world. The first step of self-healing involves bringing the darkness to light . . . looking within without denial and offering our sense of sin, guilt and fear to spirit's judgment of innocence. This, along with the mental discipline of not justifying our anger and relinquishing the desire to attack, can be said to be the process of purification mentioned in Miracle Principle 7.
"Miracles are everyone's right, but purification is necessary first."
This also gives meaning to the idea, "being in the world, but not of it." The 'world' in this sense is referring to the world of fear, so not being of the world merely means to live without fear, or living in the world fearlessly.


  • Fear is the mind-killer.
  • Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
  • Fear would destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. If you submit to fear, it offers you oblivion. If you resist fear, it offers you hell.
  • I will not bow down to fear.
  • I will face my fear.
  • I will not fight my fear.
  • I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
  • And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
  • Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
  • I will remain.


Only perfect love REALLY exists.
If there IS fear,
It creates a state which does not exist.
Believe this, and you WILL be free.

"In this world you need not have tribulation because I have overcome the world. That is why you should be of good cheer." T-4.I.13.10 (Cf. John 16:33)
Bringing the darkness to light for purification involves a sincere response to a simple request of spirit.
"The Holy Spirit asks of you but this; bring to Him every secret you have locked away from Him."
But, after the darkness is brought to the light, the next phase after is the time for bringing the light to darkness. In the first phase of purifying your own mind, the Holy Spirit brings the light to the darkness made open to him.
"Open every door to Him, and bid Him enter the darkness and lighten it away. At your request He enters gladly. He brings the light to darkness if you make the darkness open to Him. But what you hide He cannot look upon."
By the time we reach Chapter 18 in the Text, you become the bringer of light to the world.
"You who are now the bringer of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness. The darkness in you has been brought to light. Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it. We are made whole in our desire to make whole."
This is echoed in Workbook Lesson 159 -
"Christ's vision is the holy ground in which the lilies of forgiveness set their roots. This is their home. They can be brought from here back to the world, but they can never grow in its unnourishing and shallow soil. They need the light and warmth and kindly care Christ's charity provides. They need the love with which He looks on them. And they become His messengers, who give as they received.

"Take from His storehouse, that its treasures may increase. His lilies do not leave their home when they are carried back into the world. Their roots remain. They do not leave their source, but carry its beneficence with them, and turn the world into a garden like the one they came from, and to which they go again with added fragrance. Now are they twice blessed. The messages they brought from Christ have been delivered, and returned to them. And they return them gladly unto Him. Behold the store of miracles set out for you to give."
When the Course talks about the lilies of forgiveness it seems an obvious metaphor, and not a reference to a literal flower. Perhaps a lily of forgiveness is a metaphor for you.

Be the lily, and keep your roots set in heaven. Bless the world.

6/3/08

Defying the laws of density

According to a story in the New York Times today, scientists have despaired of getting to the bottom of the mystery of why the universe is expanding in defiance of gravity and the laws of density.
"Having been impelled apart by the force of the Big Bang, the galaxies, in defiance of cosmic gravity, are picking up speed on a dash toward eternity." NY Times - Dark, Perhaps Forever

Astronomers have named the mysterious force "dark energy," for whatever is driving the apparently anti-gravitational behavior on the part of the universe. Nobody claims to understand why it is happening. It is called "dark energy" simply because it is invisible.

Scientists acknowledging there are unseen and unknown forces at work in the universe.

Imagine that.

6/1/08

Projection and extension

Projection and extension are the same function, according to the the Course. Projection differs from extension only in purpose.
"Projection is a fundamental law of the mind, and therefore one which ALWAYS operates. It is the law by which you create and were created. It is the law which unifies the Kingdom, and keeps it in the Mind of God. To the ego, the law is perceived as a way of getting RID of something it does NOT want. To the Holy Spirit, it is the fundamental law of sharing by which you GIVE what you value in order to keep it in your OWN mind."
In the original, the discussion starts with the idea of projection, including the notion that God projects. "Projection, as undertaken by God, is very similar to the kind of inner radiance which the Children of the Father inherit from Him." As the text progresses, the idea of misprojection, or projection of error, is introduced.
"If the crucifixion is seen from an upside-down point of view, it DOES appear as if God permitted, and even encouraged, one of his Sons to suffer BECAUSE he was good. Many ministers preach this every day. This particularly unfortunate interpretation, which arose out of the combined misprojections of a large number of my would-be followers, has led many people to be bitterly afraid of God."

-oOo-
" . . . .nothing you have seen begins to show you the enormity of the original error, which seemed to cast you out of Heaven, to shatter knowledge into meaningless bits of disunited perceptions, and to force you to further substitutions. That was the first projection of error outward. The world arose to hide it, and became the screen on which it was projected and drawn between you and the truth."

Later the text settle in on the conventional distinction between projection as projection of error, and the extension of love.

This essential similarity between projection and extension was unfortunately muddied in the final editing of the Course. It is unfortunate because it obscure the fact that projection of error is accomplished with the full power of God. This has lead some sincere Course students to the conclusion that it is possible to escape from the world or error by leaving it behind, but that is not what the Course is suggesting.

5/29/08

Learning the Course

The idea of a false learning curve is essential in practically every walk of life, but is especially critical to students of A Course in Miracles. I've just posted a short discussion of the false learning curve on another blog, here, and you may wish to read it.

You can know if you are on a false learning curve or a genuine learning curve if your world changes or not.

"Change but your mind on what you want to see,
And all the world must change accordingly."

A Course in Miracles

Hanging up on spirit

I've been helping my young psychic friend Adam start up his professional career as a soothsayer. Last night he got a phone question from a total stranger. "I have several questions. The first is about my new relationship. Will it work out?," she asked.

"I see a garbage bag. That isn't a good sign. I'd say no, this new relationship is headed for the trash," Adam answered.

CLICK

Gone. She didn't get the answer she wanted, so she hung up.

I think we do that with spirit all the time.

Question: "Holy Spirit, what should I do?"

Answer: "Go here, say this, and do that."

Response: "But I don't want to go there, say that, or do what you say. Goodbye Holy Spirit. Maybe tomorrow you will have answers I like better."

CLICK

5/23/08

What can I do to help?

The miracle worker's prayer begins, "I am here only to be truly helpful . . . ." If we are to be miracles workers, that is the basis. The desire and the intent to be helpful is the foundation of miracles. Strengthening the desire and intent to be helpful is the means by which the ego's desire to do harm is weakened and replaced by right-thinking miracle mindedness.

OK. That's a good start. I do not want to do harm. Instead, I want to be truly helpful. So, what do I do?

What help do you need?

Ask, and it is given. Maybe not from me, personally. But, it is given. Somehow the void will be filled.

Maybe the missing ingredient is that you have not asked.

What help do you need?

Maybe you need to ask publicly. Maybe you just need to put it in writing privately. Sometimes you might need to scream for help.

Whichever way of asking the situation requires, please remember to ask.

5/22/08

More old thoughts on psychic abilities

Well, they are not really old thoughts of mine. I started a thread on talk.religion.course-miracle on May 13 on this topic, and I might as well share the substance of that discussion here.

"I've been thinking recently about psychics. The Course states, more
or less, that psychic abilities are natural communication abilities,
and that all joining is the joining of minds.

"It seems to me that becoming comfortable with, if not necessarily
proficient at, what would usually be considered as psychic forms of
communication would be a useful gateway to miracles.

"I'm wondering if it is possible to be comfortable with miraculous
expressions if one is, at the same time, fearful of psychic forms of
communication.

"Many forms of religion teach that psychic communications are dangerous
and of the devil. Many other forms of modern thinking teach that
psychic communications are impossible and irrational. Perhaps it is a
concerted ego attempt to deflect attention form the genuinely
important."
Psychic abilities - Tom Fox, May 13, 2008

5/21/08

Psychic abilities

The Course makes it quite clear that "psychic abilities" are normal. Psychic abilities are more normal, in fact, than the modes of communication available through the limited five senses of the body. As with all things, the Course asks "what it is for?" The section near the end of the Manual for Teachers devoted to discussing psychic abilities . . . Section 21 . . . takes a rather blasé attitude toward the existence of psychic abilities. Most of the discussion in that section is about how these extra-sensory perceptive abilities are used. Are they used to heal in the service of the Christ mind, or are they used to strengthen the ego?

That seems to be the attitude the Course presents us with regarding psychic abilities. Of course they exist, they are natural and available to everyone. Sure, as your unfoldment progresses some rather startling new abilities may come your way. That is what learning does.

But, what will you do with these talents?

That is the question.

2/3/08

A higher level of thinking

"A Course in Miracles" starts at the level of stating basic principles, but customary thinking in the world generally operates at the level of specifics. The Course refers to the specific, or concrete, level as being the level of the ego belief system.

A brief working definition of 'principal' is, "An abstract statement of a basic truth or law."

Since many people come to the Course with a head full of specific ideas about what miracles are, or look like, one of the biggest challenges beginning ACIM students face is the task of reconciling the very concrete ideas they may have about miracles with the consistently abstract level of discourse offered by the Course.

However, this does not minimize the significance of specifics when working toward the over-arching change of mind that is sometimes known as "awakening."

The Course tells us that correction must be introduced from the bottom up and, as far as I can tell, this means starting with specifics. Heal just one specific broken relationship today. Don't worry so much about the big picture, which is beyond our grasp anyway. Take just one small step in the direction of God, for as it has been said before, it is better to light one small candle then it is to curse the darkness.