12/2/10

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

12/1/10

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
on Facebook

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

11/27/10

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

10/24/10

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

10/23/10

Toward a science of persons

"The purpose of this course is integration."
A Course In Miracles

" .... an individual the totality of whose experience is split in two main ways; in the first place, there is a rent in his relation with his world and, in the second, there is a disruption of his relation with himself. Such a person is not able to experience himself 'together with' others or 'at home' in the world, but on the contrary, he experiences himself in despairing aloneness and isolation; moreover, he does not experience himself as a complete person but rather as 'split' in various ways, perhaps as a mind more or less tenuously linked to a body, as two or more selves, and so on."
This is how Dr. R. D. Laing begins his essay "The existential-phenomenological foundations for a science of persons," in the 1959 book, The Divided Self. Doesn't this description sound very familiar, and similar to the description in A Course In Miracles of ego-identification in the world?
"The separated ones were not interested in peace. They had already split their minds, and were bent on further dividing, rather than reintegrating. The levels they introduced into their minds turned against each other, and they established differences, divisions, cleavages, dispersions, and all the other concepts related to the increasing splits which they produced. Not being in their right minds, they turned their defenses from protection to assault, and acted literally insanely ....

".... No-one turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality. Yet it is certain that he will never find satisfaction in fantasy ... Grandiosity is always a cover for despair. It is without hope because it is not real. It is an attempt to counteract your littleness, based on the belief that the littleness is real ... In sleep you are alone, and your awareness is narrowed to yourself. And that is why the nightmares come. You dream of isolation because your eyes are closed. You do not see your brothers."
And is this not the same as the early Twentieth Century Gnostic teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky?
"First of all, what man must know is that he is not one; he is many. He has not one permanent and unchangeable 'I' or Ego. He is always different. One moment he is one, another moment he is another, the third moment he is a third, and so on, almost without an end. The illusion of unity or oneness is created in man first, by the sensation of one physical body, by his name, which in normal cases always remains the same, and third, by a number of mechanical habits which are implanted in him by education or acquired by imitation. Having always the same physical sensations, hearing always the same name and noticing in himself the same habits and inclinations he had before, he believes himself to be always the same. In reality there is no oneness in man and there is no controlling centre, no permanent 'I' or Ego.

"This is the general picture of man: Every thought, every feeling, every sensation, every desire, every like and every dislike is an 'I'. These 'I's are not connected and are not co-ordinated in any way. Each of them depends on the change in external circumstances, and on the change of impressions. Some of them mechanically follow some other, and some appear always accompanied by others. But there is no order and no system in that."
The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution
Is this not also the Gospel teachings of Jesus?
" 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!

These, and many others, describe the same condition. The psychology of the divided self has been recognized and studied since ancient times. For example, according to many Sufi teachers, there are seven levels of the self. They are seven levels of development, ranging from absolutely self-centered and egotistical to purely spiritual. But, whatever level or division an individual may inhabit in the normal course of life, it is only rarely that he or she questions the inevitability of the divided self or the desirability of healing the condition. .

The Sufi, the Gnostic, and the Christian-ACIM traditions hold to the hope and necessity for change and self-integration, but when asked "Why cannot all men develop and become different beings?" Ouspensky responded,"The answer is very simple. Because they do not want it. Because they do not know about it and will not understand without a long preparation what it means, even if they are told."

Or, as the Course states, "You never really wanted peace before, so there was no point in being told how to achieve it. No learning is acquired by anyone unless he wants to learn it, and believes in some way that he needs it."


-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/21/10

Fear is the mind killer

"The need to recognize fear and face it without disguise
is a crucial step in the undoing of the ego."

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.

- Adapted from Frank Herbert's Dune cycle, and A Course in Miracles

10/20/10

I need do nothing

Faust (or 'Faustus,' Latin for "auspicious" or "lucky") is the protagonist of a classic German legend. Though a highly successful scholar, Dr. Faust is unsatisfied, and makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. The best known theatrical version of the legend was written by German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

At the end of Goethe's play, Dr. Faust laments a life spent in pursuit of knowledge, "I now do see that we can nothing know."

This is similar to A Course in Miracles when it states, "When the light comes at last ... or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; "I need do nothing."

All too often, it seems, there is a temptation to remember and to use the phrase "I need do nothing," out of context, and as an excuse to do nothing. I've heard it a lot over the last decade of meeting and talking with various Course students online.

The marvelously courageous Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about the Faust quote, "I now do see that we can nothing know," as follows:
"That is the answer to a sum, it is the outcome of a long experience. But as Kierkegaard observed, it is quite a different thing when a freshman comes up to the university and uses the same sentiment to justify his indolence. As the answer to a sum it is perfectly true, but as the initial data it is a piece of self-deception. For acquired knowledge cannot be divorced from the existence in which it is acquired. The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ. Such a man knows that the call to discipleship is a gift of grace, and that the call is inseparable from the grace. But those who try to use this grace as a dispensation from following Christ are simply deceiving themselves."
The Cost of Discipleship [emphasis added]
I emphasized the sentence, "For acquired knowledge cannot be divorced from the existence in which it is acquired," because it applies to the Course statement, "I need do nothing."

To put it as simply as possible, the statement, "I need do nothing," is a genuine realization only after awakening. That is the apparent meaning in context, both expressly and rationally. The circumstance of the realization is the success of a Holy Instant, which is the brief transcendence of time. "I need do nothing," is true outside of time and in eternity. Within time it is simply false.

Reading A Course in Miracles as a whole makes this clear.





-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/18/10

A very practical course of study

"You have begun to realize that this is a very practical course,
because it means exactly what it says.
So does the Bible, if it is properly understood."
A Course in Miracles

Insane laws were made to guarantee that you would make mistakes, and then to give those mistakes power over you by accepting their results as being what you justly deserve. The wages of sin is death.

But, what God has given follows his laws, and his alone. It is not possible for those who follow the laws of God to suffer the results of any other source. To follow spirit is to remove yourself from the laws of death and to place yourself under the laws of love. Different laws produce different results.

Salvation is immediate, and unless you so perceive it, you will be afraid of it.

The information contained within A Course in Miracles has immense practical value. It is critical for you to learn exactly how you can work with these concepts and ideas, how you can apply this knowledge to your own particular situation.

You cannot simply read about what to do. You have to act.
"This is not a course in the play of ideas, but in their practical application. Nothing could be more specific than to be told very clearly, that if you ask you will receive."
You do ask, and you do receive. If you are curious to know what you have asked for in the past, just look at what you have received. That's it.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/17/10

In the name of Jesus

"These signs shall accompany them that believe:
In my name will they cast out demons,
and they will speak with new tongues."
Mark 16:17

What does it mean to pray or act in the name of Jesus? Is there special power in speaking the mere word? A Course in Miracles tells us, "A name does not heal, nor does an invocation call forth any special power."

According to Hollywood and popular fiction, demons and evil ones can't even say the word 'Jesus,' but  we know from the Gospels that this cannot be true. "For many shall come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will lead many astray." Matthew 24:5

False teachers don't have any trouble at all mouthing the name Jesus.
"What does this mean for you? It means that in remembering Jesus you are remembering God. The whole relationship of the Son to the Father lies in him. His part in the Sonship is also yours, and his completed learning guarantees your own success. Is he still available for help? What did he say about this? Remember his promises, and ask yourself honestly whether it is likely that he will fail to keep them." Manual for Teachers, part 23
To understand the meaning of the Gospels, it is useful to know the meaning of the Aramaic words that Jesus actually used. The Aramaic word beshmi, translated into Greek and then into English as "in my name," implies:

According to my way, method, approach, or technique, and with my understanding.

The secret of acting and praying 'in the name of Jesus' lies in knowing and experiencing as he did.
"The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned ... But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:14-16

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/16/10

Prayer - Tuning to the God channel

Tuning in to the God channel is the essence of prayer as it ought to be. True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking for specifics or entreaty. Ask to receive what is already given, and to accept what is already here, which is everything.

From the Principles of Miracles in the Course, we learn that "Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed."

For us, prayer is not a means of communicating to God, it is the means to receive communication from God. Such is the present need. In truth, prayer is "the single voice Creator and creation share."

When Jesus walked the earth and spoke of prayer, he used the Aramaic word 'slotha' which literally means to set a trap. In this sense he meant to set your mind like a trap to catch the thoughts of God. Prayer requires us to cultivate a state of mind in which all personal thought are stilled and nothing is projected outward.

The Aramaic word 'slotha' also means to focus or to tune in. A modern analogy would be to tune a radio or television receiver into the right frequency or channel. To pray means to tune your mind to the God frequency, and to focus upon only that. Prayer is the practice of adjusting our minds and hearts to receive God's transmissions. Eliminate the static.


-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/15/10

A theory of mind

"Your state of mind and your recognition of what is in it depend on what you believe about your mind. Whatever those beliefs may be, they are the premise that will determine what you accept into your mind.
A Course In Miracles
Suppose it is a simple as that. Suppose the big problem stems from a fundamentally flawed notion of what your mind is. Perhaps you consider yourself to be a single point of awareness floating in a subjective experience, contained within a body that is a small cog in a much larger world full of countless other minds, bodies and assorted stuff.

That's backwards. It's all mind.

To say "It's all in your mind," runs the risk of trivializing mind as a self-deprecation. That's what they say to crackpots who are imagining things. The other risk is to encourage a solipsism where everything is shrunk down to the size of your personal singular point of view and awareness. This is a trivialization that promotes grandiosity and narcissism. Neither are an improvement, because each maintain the basic structural flaw.

A Course in Miracles states that mind is the creative aspect of soul, and that your soul is your reality.

The singular point of awareness that you think of as "you" is your ego, or separated self. The "you" in your mind, in your body, in the world, is not you. What you think of as your mind is not your mind, your mind is not within your body, and the world is not what you think it is.
"It is surely clear that you can both accept into your mind what is not there, and deny what is."
A Course In Miracles
-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/14/10

The first law of chaos

"The first chaotic law is that the truth is different for everyone."
ACIM Text, Chapter 23

The first law of chaos states that the truth is different for everyone. This is the foundation upon which chaos is established and maintained. To be in a state of chaos is to be in a state of rebellion against God.

The state of God is well ordered and harmonious. The state of God is not chaos.

The first law of chaos is based upon limited selective perception, and it is best illustrated by the story of the three blind men and the elephant. Each of the three had only a limited experience of a much larger creature, and mistook his separate limited perceptions as being exclusively representative of the whole creature.

Each of the three were both partially right and wholly wrong.

The fable accurately describes the problem, but it also contains within it the seed of a solution. As the story ends being a provocation, the three blind men are arguing, insisting that each alone is right and all the others wrong and misguided.

The obvious solution presents itself to combine the three sets of separate perceptions into a greater and more expansive view, and thereby reach a more harmonious understanding of the whole. It would be a closer approximation of the truth.

It would also have the virtue of reducing strife.




-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky 

10/13/10

The imperceptible

The imperceptible, by definition, cannot be perceived.

Perception requires difference and contrast. This need not be proved since it is so easy to observe and confirm for yourself. Imagine a white border-less circle on a white piece of paper, or the proverbial black cat in a coal mine at midnight. If everything is all the same, there is nothing to perceive.

Perception requires localization. 'Here' and 'there' are necessary and meaningful concepts with perception. It is related to contrast. If something is everywhere, it is invisible and imperceptible.

A Course in Miracles states that love has no opposite, is all there is, and it is everywhere. These are the conditions for imperceptibility. If love has no opposite, there is no contrast and nothing to compare it to.  If love is all there is and it is everywhere, it is invisible.

Love is imperceptible.

Why, then, do you believe that you can recognize love when you see it?

More importantly, how can you ever perceive its absence?


-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky 

10/12/10

The decision maker

There is a lot of chatter in some quarters concerning what A Course in Miracles means by the phrase "decision maker." From what I've seen, the discussion has been theoretical, speculative, and it is not based upon anything contained within or implied by the Course itself.

Decisions are of the mind. This is as far as the Course goes. There is no special structural part of the mind that mediates between right-mindedness and wrong-mindedness. All discussions based upon this erroneous premise are dead-end distractions, and a waste of time.

Who you think you are is the decision-maker, and that fluctuates from day to day and year to year. It is not a fixed division of the psyche. If you think you are a doctor or a derelict, that self image will dictate much of your decision making.

"What would Jesus do?" gets translated into "How does a doctor behave?" The many roles you have decide for you. The most obvious is the one expressly described in the Course.

You think you are a body. Therefore, when that is your belief, for you the body is the decision maker.

Manual for Teacher, Section Five
"First, it is obvious that decisions are of the mind, not of the body. If sickness is but a faulty problem-solving approach, it is a decision. And if it is a decision, it is the mind and not the body that makes it. The resistance to recognizing this is enormous, because the existence of the world as you perceive it depends on the body being the decision maker.Terms like "instincts," "reflexes" and the like represent attempts to endow the body with non-mental motivators. Actually, such terms merely state or describe the problem. They do not answer it."


-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/11/10

The dispossessed

The dispossessed are those who have been exiled from their own kingdom. As strangers in a strange land they wander lost, forgetting even that they we born to rule. Farce and elaborate pretense takes the place of legitimate sovereignty, and the domain suffers at the hands of tyrants.

A Course In Miracles tell us that we have a kingdom we must rule. This kingdom is our own mind. "Know thyself!" the Course reminds us, again. It is a path to the transcendent thinking which results in transformation of the greater self, that is called the world.

I & thou, which is one, which is everything.

Give up your faith in trinkets and toys, and the stuff of let's pretend. There is no protection there.


-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky 

10/8/10

This too shall pass

One thousand monkeys

Sometime this weekend, I guess, Scribd.com will record the one thousandth online read of Gerry Boylan's   Christ in Training, digital edition. Although this number does not accurately reflect the number of people who actually read the book form stem to stern, it does indicate the number of times the book cover and title was flashed before their eyes for at least 3 seconds.

Each of those eye-flashes are called 'impressions' in the advertising-communicating trade, and they all add up.

Even for those who do not read the book, the title itself contains a revolutionary idea: Christ In Training. Many, I suspect, will read that title with revulsion, and as being unacceptably foreign to their conditioned thought patterns. But, that guarantees that the seed will be planted and remembered.

Don't read the book.

Just think about the title Christ In Training today.





-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
Tom Fox on Scribd.com 

10/5/10

Course basics: How real is real?

 When it comes to the phenomenal world, the phrase "This too shall pass" fairly sums it up from the perspective of A Course in Miracles. All is alive, in motion, and changing. Form comes into being, adapts, grows, changes, and passes away. It is a world of the ephemeral in flux. This is the world we know. This is the world where the consequences are gauged in probabilities and not in certainty. It is the world we have created to satisfy a desire for impermanence.

What we experience and perceive with senses is not the world that God created, which is eternal.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning." James 1:17

This, on the other hand, is an adequate description of reality. No variation without any shadows cast by turning. The world of reality moves in one direction only, toward creation and extension of that which is already real, and with no blockages of the light that might cast a shadow.

The world of illusions and deceptive appearances that obscure the reality beyond is the world of maya, the ephemeral. In Hinduism and Sikhism, maya is the principal concept which manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal universe. It is not real, as that word is used within A Course in Miracles. What is real is eternal, meaning that it exists outside of space-time, and it is unchanging, which is even more difficult to understand.

But, to dismiss the phenomenal world as "just illusion" is to wholly miss the point, in Course terms. Perhaps in other traditions the world is viewed as a trap to be escaped, in the Course the world is to be forgiven, healed, and transformed into Heaven. A close analogy is provided by the Hebrew word 'Tikkun,' which means to heal, repair, and transform the world.

This is the duty and responsibility of humankind because the creative powers we share is what sustains the world of illusion. We cannot simply turn our back upon it, for it is impossible to escape our own creations. The mind is the cutting edge of creation and until we learn to heal our mis-creations and stop casting shadows across the land, illusions and the deception of separation will persist.

The first law of God can be expressed as "You broke it, you bought it." What the mind has created wrongly shall continue laboriously and painfully through time, until that mind is returned to the service of light.

The world we know is not real in the ultimate sense, but it is real enough in time because it is sustained by the hidden power of the universe, the creative power of God, wrongly applied.

In this, the teachings of A Course in Miracles are fairly unique. I am not aware of any other like it.
"Fantasies and projection ... both attempt to control external reality according to false internal needs... Twist reality in any way, and you are perceiving destructively. Reality was lost through usurpation, which in turn produced tyranny. I told you you were now restored to your former role in the Plan of Atonement. But 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." A Course In Miracles


-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky
eBooks on Scribd.com

10/3/10

Is the Course deterministic, stochastic, or a Markov process?

From the world of mathematics we have these three terms that can be used for inquiring about A Course In Miracles
  1. Deterministic process,
  2. Stochastic process, and
  3. Markov process
For my purpose, we'll use these meanings (with apologizes to mathematicians everywhere):

1. In a deterministic process, the outcome is predetermined. With enough information, the future can be predicted based upon the past. There is only one possible future.

2. A stochastic process is influenced by the past, but unknowable variables also enter into the equation. There are many different possible futures.

3. With a Markov process, the past has no effect on the future. It is said to be without any memory.

It seems to me the Course, and discussions about the Course, involve each of these ideas in various ways.

For example, the phrase "the scrip is written" frequently pops up in discussion, implying that the process is deterministic, as in "the outcome is as certain as God."

A discussion of free will and choice suggests that the process may be stochastic. If choice matters, then different futures are possible depending upon present decisions.

The Course defines perception as being wholly based upon the past, and "as a man perceives, so shall he behave," which is a deterministic idea. For it to be a Markov process, the past must be forgotten. Forgetting the past and deciding with the vision of Christ is the goal. In this sense, the goal of the Course might be described as shifting from a deterministic process to a Markov process.

-  oOo   -
Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/2/10

Light one candle

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. This familiar phrase is not from the Bible, it is the motto of the American Christopher Society, founded in 1945 by Father James Keller. The name of the group is derived from the Greek word "christopher", which means "Christ-bearer"

The reason the phrase is so well known is that "Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness" was also the prominent motto of Christopher Closeup, a weekly half-hour TV show originally broadcast on ABC starting in 1952.

The motto was said by the Christopher Society to come from an ancient Chinese proverb.

Another variation of the phrase is, "It is better to light a candle for someone than to curse them in their darkness."

Reference: Wikipedia

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

10/1/10

The difference it would make

Imagine the difference it would make if politicians, policy makers, and the general public understood the world and the way it functions similarly to the way espoused by A Course In Miracles. When faced with homicidal maniacs and ruthless terrorists, one might understand that killing their bodies does nothing to eliminate the fearful murderous thinking that inspired the dreadful acts.

Their unbridled urge to destroy is simply redistributed to manifest elsewhere when what appears to be the source, but isn't, is eliminated.

The so-called "death penalty" does not solve or cure anything.



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9/13/10

New book by MaryBeth Scalice, Ed.D.

I've known the name MaryBeth Scalice for years now due to her active involvement with the east coast ACIM community. She is a Course student. She has recently published a book titled, The Love of Your Life: The Jesse and Lily Intimacies vol.1

Her website is here: www.marybethscalice.com

4/4/10

The Owl Who Was God - James Thurber

The Owl Who Was God

Once upon a starless midnight there was an owl who sat on the branch of an oak tree. Two ground moles tried to slip quietly by, unnoticed. "You!" said the owl. "Who?" they quavered, in fear and astonishment, for they could not believe it was possible for anyone to see them in that thick darkness. "You two!" said the owl. The moles hurried away and told the other creatures of the field and forest that the owl was the greatest and wisest of all animals because he could see in the dark and because he could answer any question. "I’ll see about that, "said a secretary bird, and he called on the owl one night when it was again very dark. "How many claws am I holding up?" said the secretary bird. "Two," said the owl, and that was right. "Can you give me another expression for ‘that is to say’ or ‘namely’?" asked the secretary bird. "To wit," said the owl. "Why does the lover call on his love?" "To woo," said the owl.

The secretary bird hastened back to the other creatures and reported that the owl indeed was the greatest and wisest animal in the world because he could see in the dark and because he could answer any question. "Can he see in the daytime, too?" asked a red fox? "Yes," answered a dormouse and a French poodle. "Can he see in the daytime, too?" All the other creatures laughed loudly at this silly question, and they set upon the red fox and his friends and drove them out of the region. They sent a messenger to the owl and asked him to be their leader.

When the owl appeared among the animals it was high noon and the sun was shining brightly. He walked very slowly, which gave him an appearance of great dignity, and he peered about him with large, staring eyes, which gave him an air of tremendous importance. "He’s God!" screamed a Plymouth rock hen. And the others took up the cry "He’s God!" So they followed him wherever he went and when he bumped into things they began to bump into things, too. Finally he came to a concrete highway and he started up the middle of it and all the other creatures followed him. Presently a hawk, who was acting as outrider, observed a truck coming toward them at fifty miles an hour, and he reported to the secretary bird and the secretary bird reported to the owl. "There’s danger ahead," said the secretary bird. "To wit?" said the owl. The secretary bird told him. "Aren’t you afraid?" he asked. "Who?" said the owl calmly, for he could not see the truck. "He’s God!" cried all the creatures again, and they were still crying "He’s God" when the truck hit them and ran them down. Some of the animals were merely injured, but most of them, including the owl, were killed.



Moral: You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

-James Thurber

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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3/11/10

Accomplishing the atonement

"The Atonement will be accomplished by miracle workers, who understand and implement the miracles principles taught in ACIM. Principles, as in laws established by God and not subject to projected meaning by students wishing to change the curriculum. Miracles based on the complete equality of the real Sons of God and real brothers, not fear projected anti-miracles predicated on brothers as dream figures with no soul, and no individuality.
"Atonement as the complete restoration of the Sonship, not the disappearance of the Sonship."
— John Lopez on ACIM Chat

My note: There has been much hubbub about what A Course in Miracles means by the word 'disappearance.' Entire careers have been built upon the misuse and misunderstanding of that word. But, I say again, appearances and disappearances relate only to the world of perception. If, for example, the Course were to say the universe will disappear, it just means that perception will end where knowledge begins. The universe of God's creation will no longer be perceived, it will be known.

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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3/8/10

Helen Schucman's reading habits

Early in the process of scribing the A Course in Miracles Text, Helen Schucman recorded waking “part-vision experiences” while she was doing her exercises. The significance of this look into the personal life of Dr. Schucman is the fact that at the same time she was scribing the Course, she was also reading other books.

We can tell from her writing style and the wide range of literary allusions contained within the Course that Helen was an avid reader. Her husband Louis was a bookstore owner. One can easily imagine that the library in the Schucman household was extensive and varied. Book lovers are rarely satisfied with a mere handful of books.

Apart from the influence of numerous psychologists and educators, and in addition to the various literary or philosophical themes reflected in the Course, we know that Helen and Bill were familiar with the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, Edgar Cayce, and specifically, Letters of a Scattered Brotherhood.

That title, an anthology published as a book in 1948, is specifically mentioned in the Course urtext by name.


Helen Schucman: Last night I felt briefly but intensely depressed, temporarily under the impression that I was abandoned. I tried, but couldn’t get through at all. After a while, I decided to give up for the time being, and . . .
He [the voice] said,“Don’t worry. I will never leave or forsake you.”
Helen Schucman: I did feel a little better, and decided I was really not sick, so I could return to my exercises. While I was exercising, I had some part-vision experiences which I found only mildly frightening at times, and quite reassuring at others. I am not too sure of the sequence, but it began with a very clear assurance of love, and an equally clear emphasis on my own great value, beauty and purity. Things got a little confusing after that.
First, the idea of “Bride of Christ” occurred to me with vaguely inappropriate undertones. Then there was a repetition of “the way of Love”, and a restatement of an earlier experience, now as if it were from Him to me:
He [the voice] “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord; Be it done unto you according to His Word.”
This threw me into panic before, but at that time, it was stated in the more accurate Biblical phrasing:
He [the voice]“Be it done unto ME according to HIS Word.”
This time I was a bit uneasy, but remembered I had misperceived it last time, and was probably still not seeing it right. Actually, it is really just a statement of allegiance to the Divine Service, which can hardly be dangerous.
Then there was a strange sequence, in which Christ seemed to be making very obvious advances, which became quite sexual in my perception of them. I almost thought briefly that he turned into a devil. I got just a little scared, and the possession idea came in for a while, but I thought it SO silly, that there is no point in taking it seriously.
This morning we reviewed the whole episode.
He said he was:  “Very pleased at the COMPARATIVE lack of fear, and also the concomitant awareness that it WAS misperception. This showed much greater strength, and a much increased Right- Mindedness. This is because defenses are now being used much better, on behalf of truth more than error, though not completely so.The weaker use of mis-projection is shown by my recognition that it can’t REALLY be that way, which became possible as soon as denial was applied against error, NOT truth. This permitted a much greater awareness of alternative interpretations."
It was also explained:
“Remember the section in “Letters from the Scattered Brotherhood” you read last evening about ‘Hold fast’, and please do so. You know that when defenses are disrupted there is a period of real disorientation, accompanied by fear, guilt, and usually vacillations between anxiety and depression.
This process is different only in that defenses are not being disrupted, but re-interpreted, even though it may be experienced as the same thing. In the reinterpretation of defenses, they are not disrupted but their use for ATTACK is lost. Since this means they can be used only ONE way, they became MUCH stronger, and much more dependable. They no longer oppose the Atonement, but greatly facilitate it. The Atonement can only be accepted within you."

After much searching, the best I can determine is that the reference to Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood is to this passage:

If I told you that every time you pressed your finger on a given spot the wishes of your heart would be fulfilled, you would come here and press your finger on this spot. There is reality in doing a sensuous thing that you can feel. But if I told you that you could do the same thing with your mind, at once there would be a strange barrier.
This childlike lesson illustrates the whole teaching of Christ; his spirit must be felt as this touch is felt, then you have control. You feel this reality of the flesh, but it appears that when you are asked to touch with the mind, a lost feeling comes because man is so constituted that it is difficult for him to shape his imagination so that it is as one-pointed as this feeling of physical contact. To tell an ordinary man he can touch a spirit with his mind bewilders him; even you who have been trained in this way of life realize how far away you are from the practice of being in actual contact. And yet the traffic of daily living is carried on through thought, though even the presentation of the idea confuses the average man.
There are currents of thought that flow in all directions, and you can touch a layer, a sort of strata of impulses and be caught and held captive. An irritating presence concentrates the finger of the mind on a layer of dislike and its attending mutations. Because of the pleasure of dislike the mind is held, the contact is easy. Again the mind touches the current of material success. You hear that success breeds success; why? Because the flush of excitement, pleasure, gaiety involuntarily keeps the finger in contact. So it is with evil; you can touch it with all the passions. In fact, once started in the negative, and more familiar layer, the concentrated finger of the mind is held fast, touching these unseen realities.
The question is, have you the will necessary to make you one-pointed toward the spiritual impulses? Perhaps not as yet; and that is why our sympathy is profound and long-suffering, because you are asked to transcend all known experience. You are asked to believe in the invisible, in something beyond all known experience. We ask you to make as real as the touching of your finger in the physical contact this other experience-and that is to keep the finger of the mind on this thought of awareness. Awareness of the Presence in oneness with your inner you; to be aware of him about you and in every activity of your daily life. This taxes all your forces. It is hard, with everything flowing against you, snatching at you, to do this. And yet you have already known a curious breaking through the clouds, glimpses of a great reality that can be sustained. It is as if you saw a shaft of light so golden, so crystal clear,,,, so unlike any light of your experience that you were struck dumb, and even while you looked, it has gone, and in trying to reconstruct it you had dulled it.
But these are indeed glimpses of the Light of the Spirit; be not faint-hearted. Turn to it; stretch out the finger of your mind and touch this light; touch it, touch it all through the day and it will clear the mind of vain imagining, of fear thoughts. It will empty the sub cellars of lurking fears; it will keep you from overstraining. Don’t live like waltzing mice in a cage; wake up, stop wherever you are and touch with your mind this high state, this high spirit, this light where you are!
Who is master? The world or you? It is the eternal struggle; the world, so dramatic, so exciting; the Spirit, so gentle, so . . . still.

-  oOo   -


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Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood
House of Light digital edition

114 pages
11 x 8.5"








Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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Looking at the bad stuff

Carrie wrote: "Students of New Thought, or THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, tell me it is a mistake to look at the bad gunk, or if I happen to notice the horror show, I should over-look it quickly. The reasoning is that looking makes it real. That is not the way of acim. We do not need to be afraid of looking. That is the beginning of getting honest. That is the first step in the forgiveness process."

My 2 cents: New thought ideas expressed by Unity Church and Emma Curtis Hopkins emphasize a two-step process of denial and affirmation. This is reflected in A Course in Miracles in many places, and it is central to the healing-forgiveness process. The best known example from the Course is:

Denial: I am not a body.

Affirmation: I am free as God created me.

Carrie wrote: "If your goal is to feel good, to feel happy and peaceful, then you will use ego defenses to cover up the bad gunk. If your goal is Truth, you will begin the task of looking at your projected guilt. You will begin the process of accepting help in undoing the ego belief system."

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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3/7/10

The Outward Thrust of Faith


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Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood
House of Light digital edition

114 pages
11 x 8.5"





The Outward Thrust of Faith

There is a divine illumination from earthly things that will bring great joy and heavenly release to you if seen through the pure eyes of the Spirit; when you bathe, when you eat, when you walk, when you sleep-these are great symbols and are holy. When you work changing the unseen into maintenance - which you do when you use your mind to earn your bread) be holy by pouring the light upon humble ordinary things, for thus will you be transfigured and your day be blessed to you. Also it is one way to overcome the world which can be made a constant sacrament. Have more joy in your daily life, for renouncing the world is first of all to have a greater zest for things infinite than things finite.

The idea of renouncing joy is destructive. Have greater joy, but be sure the source of it is within rather than without — and lest you be misled, that simply means to be more aware of him you worship while you play, for he abides in a lifted heart. He overcame the world; put the world, therefore, at his feet. Sometimes in the past you have gone across the no-man’s land we have talked about for inspiration and then you have left it behind you and have stood in your workaday world and expected to get results for your workaday spirit.

No! Results may come that way, but slowly, inadequately. Your direct action is when you go back to your world charged and supercharged and stay charged. I have spoken at length on this for it is time you were more awake to your own power within. Go, therefore, plunge, experiment, do it joyfully. Nothing is too simple, too tiny. Go and move mountains and awake! The outward thrust of faith is your stand.


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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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3/3/10

Practice not being startled

Practice not being startled, scattered by the daily assaults, bored into daydreaming by long hours of indecision and dullness. Be confident, be radiant, be aware that you do not walk alone.


-  oOo   -


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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The invisible world

Your world is invisible, the world of your spiritual life within; but invisible also is the world of rumor, ethnic fears, ignorance, the greed of multitudes, public opinion and human passions. All these are invisible. So are creative inspiration, honest endeavor and integrity. Invisible also is the intent which makes the true servant of medicine, that which is behind the long hours and personal sacrifice; all this is faith invisible. Many who see a sword see but a blade of sharpened steel; but it is a symbol of anger, pain, annihilation and woe. Those who look and are held captive out there by what they see are amazed and bewildered when invisible forces suddenly focus into an event. They are startled and disturbed when the hidden forces the mind has qualified are manifested in action.


from: Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood

To those without eyes and ears, everything is a surprise.

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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3/2/10

Love conquers all things.

Love conquers all things.

Give freely of thy spirit and judge not. Be long-suffering and patient, for when you are kind with the kindness of the spirit to those who are unregenerate, the act frees your own un-regeneracy as well. Blessed is he that sees and understands and forgives. Forgive and ye shall be forgiven the trespasses, the darkness, the things negative which terrify. They are forgotten in this high clear stillness. Love conquers all things.

In spite of the teaching of Jesus we have been taught to hate evil, but that only justifies the more our complete satisfaction in criticism. In such emotional criticism of our friends and enemies we appear better people to ourselves. It is not the way. It is not our business, and instead of freedom we bind the consequences of poisonous hates and resentments to ourselves. We can turn from abstract evil without harm and with a sense of human righteousness. But the human does not hate evil disincarnate; he hates it in a person.

from: Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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3/1/10

Scraps of meanness

The Original Edition of A Course in Miracles reads:

"It has never really entered your mind to give up every idea you ever had that OPPOSES knowledge. You retain thousands of little scraps of meanness which prevent the Holy One from entering."

. . . . this was changed prior to the first FIP publication of the work to read:

"You retain thousands of little scraps of fear . . . . "



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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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Extension and projection

Stimulus: "A Course in Miracles distinguishes between "projection" and "extention."

Response: Yes. Extension, according to the Course, is an inherent property of mind as God created it/them. Extension is the will to create, the ability to create, the authority of God to create, and the knowledge of God that allows creation to proceed along the lines of God's own creation. It is unstoppable.

Projection, as has been made clear in the Original Edition, is the same law of mind as is extension, except distorted and unlike God's creation.

The real world can actually be perrceived. All that is necessary is a willingness to perceive nothing else. For if you perceive both good and evil, you are accepting both the false and the true and making no distinction between them. The ego sees some good, but never only good. That is why its perceptions are so variable. It does not reject goodness entirely for that you could not accept, but it always adds something that is not real to the real, thus confusing illusion and reality. For perceptions cannot be partly true. If you believe in truth and illusion you cannot tell which is true. To establish your personal autonomy you tried to create unlike your Father, believing what you made to be capable of being unlike Him. Yet everything in what you have made that is true IS like Him. Only this is the real world, and perceiving only this will lead you to the real Heaven because it will make you capable of understanding it. The perception of goodness is not knowledge, but the denial of the opposite of goodness enables you to perceive a condition in which opposites do not exist. And this IS the condition of knowledge.  —  A Course in Miracles

Projection distorts creation of reality by adding something that is not there.


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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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2/27/10

Essence of experience

If experience were just receiving sensory input, then it would not exist in Heaven


It would mean that experience was replaced by knowledge.

But . . . sensory input is purely instrumental, and not experience at all. A camera does not experience.

Only when awareness comes into play there can be talk of experience.

The quality of it depends on the inner voice one follows: of either the ego or God.

Thus "awareness" and "experience" are the same, and experience is not a product of the five senses.

by Pieter on t.r.c.m

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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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Images of fear


George Rouault crucifixion redeux


The type of images one is attracted to and shares can be used as a psychological self-diagnostic tool. It seems strange that such an indirect method might be necessary. If one ever looked at one's self directly and honestly, the attraction to fear and violence would be obvious. Fear begets denial of fear which results in an attempt to escape fear by inappropriately using our brother as a scapegoat. This is also known as projection, in Course terms.

Roosevelt was right. The only thing to fear is fear itself.










-  oOo  -


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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2/25/10

Teacher of oblivion

Oblivion: The condition or state of being forgotten or unknown. ~ Merriam-Webster

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The definition of reality is God's, not yours. He created it, and He knows what it is. You who knew have forgotten, and unless He had given you a way to remember you would have condemned yourselves to oblivion. God would reunite you with yourself, and did not abandon you in your seeming distress.

The ego teaches that your function on earth is destruction, and that you have no function at all in Heaven. It would thus destroy you here and bury you here, leaving you no inheritance except the dust out of which it thinks you were made. As long as it is reasonably satisfied with you, as its reasoning goes, it offers you oblivion. When it becomes overtly savage, it offers you hell. Yet neither oblivion nor hell is as unacceptable to you as Heaven. For your definition of Heaven IS hell and oblivion, and the REAL Heaven is the greatest threat you think you could experience.

Hell and oblivion are ideas which YOU made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish YOURS. If THEIR reality is questioned, you believe that YOURS is. For you believe that ATTACK is your reality, and that your destruction is the final proof that you were RIGHT.

If you decide to have and give and BE nothing except a dream, you MUST direct your thoughts unto oblivion.


The ego teaches that hell is HERE, and bids you leap from hell into oblivion.

This world is but the dream that you can BE alone, and think without affecting those apart from you. To be alone must mean you are apart, and if you are, you cannot BUT be sick.



-  oOo  -


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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2/23/10

Christ Mind Expressions: The Pierrakos Transmissions - Book One


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Christ Mind Expressions
The Pierrakos Transmissions
Book One
341 pages
8.5 x 11" 



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Eva Pierrakos (1915-1979), was a trance channel who developed a system of spiritual development called Pathwork®. As a young woman, she began to do automatic writing and developed her relationship to an entity known only as The Guide. The Guide never identified itself, and pushed away inquiries of its identity.

Eva came to feel that she was called to help people with their spiritual development. Pierrakos’ teachings are contained in the 258 Guide Lectures channeled during the years from 1957 to 1979. Through Eva, the Guide taught that humans have problems from a distorted picture of reality that separates us from the flow of life energy and our true feelings and prevent insights into the nature of the world. The Pathwork offers techniques for dissolving misconceptions about the world.

The thirty-one sessions contained in this volume are all those covering the period from March 11, 1957 to June 6, 1958, without change or deletion.

The Pathwork® lectures cover the wide spectrum of our human journey, from our struggles with self-doubt, self-hatred and fear of inadequacy to the barriers we put up to relating with others, and ultimately with what we each know as God. The lectures teach that vital life energy, feelings and insight are often buried under misconceptions about the nature of reality. We are all familiar with some of these wrong conclusions. For example, “It’s weak to need and accept help; I don’t deserve love and kindness; responsibility means a loss of freedom.”

When such misconceptions are carried into adult life, particularly when they are unconscious, we surrender our physical, spiritual and emotional freedom to forces beyond our awareness. The effect of this loss of freedom are devastating-deep-seated unhappiness and a profound poverty of spirit.


The Pathwork lectures offer specific, practical tools for dissolving misconceptions, for making the unconscious conscious, and for activating the greater consciousness dwelling within every human soul.



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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

Miracle Course Journal
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2/19/10

Existential angst

"Existentialist philosophers use the term "angst" with a different connotation. The use of the term was first attributed to Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). In The Concept of Anxiety (also known as The Concept of Dread, depending on the translation), Kierkegaard used the word Angest (in common Danish, angst, meaning "dread" or "anxiety") to describe a profound and deep-seeded spiritual condition of insecurity and fear in the free human being. Where the animal is a slave to its instincts but always conscious in its own actions, Kierkegaard believed that the freedom given to people leaves the human in a constant fear of failing his/her responsibilities to God. Kierkegaard's concept of angst is considered to be an important stepping stone for 20th-century existentialism. While Kierkegaard's feeling of angst is fear of actual responsibility to God, in modern use, angst was broadened by the later existentialists to include general frustration associated with the conflict between actual responsibilities to self, one's principles, and others (possibly including God). Martin Heidegger used the term in a slightly different way."

from Wikipedia

The description of existential angst is similar to the Course's description of the fear that always comes with ego-identification.

Whether it is a dull nagging dread, a cold mental numbness, or moments of pure white-knuckle terror . . . it is all the same fear, and it is no fun. I've tried every flavor at various times in my life and I know it is no fun at all.

But, it is possible to think of this as a big red flag indicating the assurance that "This need not be."

This is the time to remember, "There must be a better way."

This is the time to cry out in pain and ask for help.

Then, be willing to recognize and accept the help when it arrives.


-  oOo  -


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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2/18/10

Levels of learning

excerpt from: Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 1
1996 Edition
March 11, 1957
THE SEA OF LIFE
(copyrighted material)
Visit: www.pathwork.org

In order to part the dark clouds and see the truth it is important for everyone to be schooled in spiritual awareness and, according to your level, undertake to develop yourself to your utmost capacity. Otherwise you too will, in a different way, again in unawareness, become a plaything of the forces of darkness, your boat will be blown hither and thither, and you will no longer be able to steer, or steer it as well as possible. Neither can you, when trying to see the truth and perceive the core of the problem, dissipate the heavy clouds by yourself.

You can know what to do or not to do to contribute your energy to the service of the good only when you go on a path such as this. Then you can learn the discipline to go into your inner stillness at any time -- especially when the wild storms are raging -- and make contact with God and His divine spirits. Then you can open yourself to the inspiration of truth by observing yourself with all your faults, conquering all resistance.

The spiritual laws can, and should, be made a living reality on three different levels -- and the higher the person's development, the deeper it is possible to penetrate into these levels. They are: Doing, thinking and feeling.

The most difficult task is on the emotional level. This is the highest level, because, first of all, many feelings are unconscious and you need work, willpower, and patience to make them conscious, and furthermore one cannot control one's feelings as immediately and directly as one's thoughts or actions. It requires laborious work on the spiritual level, self-analysis, and the thorough absorption of spiritual laws before the emotions can even begin to change.

The less developed a person is, the more superficial his or her understanding of and adherence to the spiritual laws must be. This is why God gave humankind first the Ten Commandments. They deal with actions. "Thou shalt not steal." "Thou shalt not lie," and so on. This was already a lot to take in for the average person of that time, and still is for certain groups of people who are incarnated from lower spheres.

The next stage is to cultivate one's thoughts. Quite often a person acts rightly, but the thoughts run another course; people act rightly because they comprehend that otherwise they would get into trouble with the outside world, but it is still difficult for them to control their thoughts, and they often desire things which are not in accord with the divine laws. They have not yet understood that the impure thoughts and feelings must lead them into the same conflict within themselves since all thoughts and feelings have a form and a substance in spirit and thus bring about outer effects and chain reactions, even though they are unable to perceive them as such right away. Such an overview requires a spiritual awareness that can come only through higher development. Thus Christ brought you an expanded understanding of the divine laws and commandments and taught that you can sin also in thought. At his time humanity was beginning to become ready for this expanded awareness and depth of perception. And today humanity begins to be receptive to an even deeper spiritual understanding.

People in the second stage, who are doing their utmost to work on the level of thoughts and are purifying them, are well ahead of those who have only reached the stage of keeping the laws to the extent of outer actions. But you, my dear friends, must learn to reach deeper than that and come to your real feelings, to those which remain so often in the unconscious, which are so readily covered up by pretexts, and about which it is so easy to deceive yourselves, so as not to have to look at what is really there. Such self-deception must inevitably bring you into conflict with yourself and often also with your environment; this is so, even if you refuse to acknowledge the true origin of the conflicts. It is difficult enough to purify one's thoughts. Therefore, to have to recognize that many of your feelings still deviate quite a bit from your thoughts or conscious intentions is rather painful.

It is just this extra effort that God wants everybody to make. The last stage and deepening of consciousness is of course the most difficult to reach, this is the goal to which you all aspire: it is the true purification. Those who can bring their innermost feelings into their consciousness and are willing to recognize that these feelings do not always run parallel with what they have accepted as right in their thoughts, have already accomplished a great deal. If you work on this continuously until you slowly acquire mastery in it, you can penetrate not only into your own truth, but can then find, at times of trial, in difficult situations, the core of truth. Then you can scatter the clouds, then you can untangle the ball of threads, knot by knot. For only those who courageously face themselves again and again -- and here vanity is an insurmountable obstacle -- can gain true perspective of another human being or of any outer situation. Those who are blind to their own truth must be blind to the truth of others.

The knots and tangles are also spiritual forms which are a reality, my dear ones. We can always observe them around each group of people. Everybody adds his share to the tangle of threads, woven by the dark forces; and often one person contributes especially much to create tangles and achieve greater and greater confusion. But if there is one person in a group who takes the direct and spiritual high road, who truly confronts himself day by day, he or she is the one who will eventually -- I repeat, not from one day to the next -- succeed in loosening one knot after the other, until there are none left and everything becomes clear. Then the weak person will not be able to deceive himself any longer either, which anyway was most detrimental to himself and had burdened his progress. Of course, at first he will put up a resistance, because confusion feeds the lower self that prefers the road of least resistance and vanity, practices self-deception and thrives on discord. But, in the long run, even a weak person will feel liberated as the clouds disappear from his or her life. When truth illuminates with its clarity a previously obscure situation, there will be no more questions left as to what is the right attitude, what is just, and what is the right action.



-  oOo  -


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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2/17/10

Christ in You - ebook


ebook version

Lesson One
A Voice from the Heights

I am obliged to use your words and modes of expression, but I must say at the beginning that they are wholly inadequate to convey spiritual truths. I long to help people who seem to be in the same mistaken conditions in which I once was, for man does not know himself.

We will consider together something of the truth of being, the most essential and the first of all things. You are not the outward and visible form. YOU are not your body — this is the feeblest and the most distant likeness of your real self. I will explain by illustration.

When an artist paints a picture, he does not put on canvas the reality; he gives you simply a copy of that which is within himself. The real picture is on the spiritual plane and exists there much more truly than on the canvas; the real picture remains for ever, the canvas does not. No poet can give you his true poem. He does his best to convey something of its beauty, something of its life, but even then it is far removed from his ideal. That, too, is on the plane of reality.

There is a vast amount of creative energy working in and through the material plane. Like the picture and the poem, this energy is invisible to you. We want you to distinguish between reality and shadow. The physical plane, or plane of the senses, is a shadow, a faint imitation of the spiritual, which is the only reality. Your work is to show forth higher laws, to live and breathe entirely from the plane of spirit, to create anew from the very center of all life, to make one the kingdom of earth and the kingdom of heaven. You are not to think of yourself and the universe now visible to you as real. It is this that constitutes the difference between us. We have entered into a larger consciousness of God, whereas you are content with the shadows of things. Just think how all your finest thought seems to vanish with the passing of great minds from your midst, yet this is not the case, as you will discover when you awake to the knowledge of a life that ever progresses from the unreal to the true. When this consciousness permeates the whole human race, you will be lifted to a higher plane, for all growth is simply growth into a larger consciousness of God.

Heaven is not a place, but a consciousness of God. God cannot be thought of as a personality, since God is all and in all. The Absolute is above and beyond the conception of finite mind, yet infinitely meek and lowly, filling all space. As you emerge into this all-pervading love, the true life becomes manifest and is always the answer to the deepest and highest aspirations of the soul. It is love fulfilling itself. Thank God for NOW. Learn first and thoroughly that you have been, and will be, for ever.

Your present condition is an opportunity for spiritual advancement. Make the most and the best of your life NOW.


Published on Scribd.com - View or download here

Read Lesson Three - Christ the Life

-oOo-

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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Forgive us our sins as we do

The forgiveness teachings of Jesus of Nazareth contained in the Gospels is based upon the same principle as are the forgiveness teachings within A Course in Miracles. In recent decades this principle has been called the Law of Attraction, meaning that what you put out or express through your heart's desire is what you get back and experience yourself.

In A Course in Miracles, this principle is usually discussed in terms of thoughts not leaving their source, or as cause and effect being united in oneness, or as projection making perception.

In short, what you give is what you get back.

In eternity the giving and the getting are as one, but in time the giving seems to come first.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mathew 6:12-15
In the Lord's Prayer, given as coming from Jesus himself, the Law of Attraction is offered as a blessing upon oneself. Even if one might be tempted to ask to receive better than what one actually gives, that would not in fact be a good thing. If we want forgiveness, we can have it. If we wish total absolution, just give it and it is ours.

Accept forgiveness for yourself
by extending it to others.
The prayer for forgiveness is nothing more
than a request that you may be
able to recognize
what you already have.

Although it is very different from the usual ideas of Christianity, where forgiveness is bestowed by God because Jesus paid the price in blood, 2000 years ago, Jesus really taught that the power to forgive belonged to humans.

And behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven. And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, “This man blasphemes”. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, “Thy sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Arise, and walk?” But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins.
Arise, and take up thy bed, and go up unto thy house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority unto men.
Matthew 9:2 -8
God gave the power to forgive to humankind, just as it is described in A Course in Miracles.

The lesson is simple:
And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:25
If you want forgiveness for yourself alone, you can't have it. To receive forgiveness or to remember that you were never condemned by God in the first place, give forgiveness and relinquish the idea of guilt. Love does not condemn.

Spirit will teach you how to
see yourself without condemnation,
by learning how to look on
everyone else without it.
Condemnation will then
not be real to you,
and all your mistakes will be forgiven.


Whose soever sins you forgive, they are forgiven unto them.
Whose soever sins you retain, they are retained.
John 20:23

Jesus' own words reported in the Gospels align nicely with the forgiveness teachings of A Course in Miracles. But, in both cases it is very different from the world's idea of forgiveness, which is pardon for convicted sinners. It did not make any sense to the religious scholars of the day.

And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying,
“Who is this that speaks blasphemies?
Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”
Luke 5:21

Then and now Jesus is teaching that forgiveness is not from God, it is from ourselves.


-  oOo  -

The Gift of Forgiveness - free ebook


Concise version of A Course in Miracle's teaching on forgiveness.

View or download here

This ebook is NOT designed to be printed.  My intention is that it be read on-line here at Scribd.com or downloaded and read on-screen with an Adobe Acrobat PDF reader.  There are only a few sentences per page, sometimes only one sentence per page, with many pages.  Each of the pages has a colored background.  If printed, this file will eat through paper and ink at an unreasonable rate.  So, please don't print it out on paper.  Save a tree, and all that.



Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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Tom Fox on ACIM Chat