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

-  oOo   -

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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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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Levels of learning

excerpt from: Pathwork Guide Lecture No. 1
1996 Edition
March 11, 1957
(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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Christ in You - ebook

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


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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Expressing miracles

Admittedly, one stumbling block with the idea of miracles is a tendency to fixate upon effects at the expense of focusing upon cause, which the Course is all about.  That is one reason I favor this translation of a familiar Course quote:

That why expressions of love are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Expressions of love are merely the sign of your willingness to follow  spirit's plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is. Spirit's work is not your function, and unless you accept this  you cannot learn what your function is.

On the other hand, if you ignore, deny, or devalue the apparent effects of love expressing love to love, and the catalytic change it produces in your world, you may be crazy.

-  oOo  -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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