Thursday, June 29, 2006

Side trip

Putting aside all the thoughts about what's real or truthful, and the meaning of all these exercises, the one effect of CIM that has been quite noteworthy is how the course is causing me to think. To REALLY think about things I've seldom dwelled upon. Oh yeah, I believe in God… but the nuances of what God is and my relationship to him - I've never spent so much time pondering these things. To be sure, I seem to discover more questions than I have answers, but the act of thinking so deeply about such a concept is new to me.

This process is an exercise I haven't yet seen in the course. I think it was Thoreau (or someone of his ilk) who said… "the unexamined life is not worth living". The Course in Miracles is forcing me to examine my life in a way that I have never imagined.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Lesson #9

I see nothing as it is now.

I have to control myself to not be repetitious with my comments about these first nine lessons. These are intellectual exercises, and I THINK I understand whay they are being presented, but that understanding does not make the "accepting" any easier. As the lesson goes on to say, "understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding." I take encouragement from that clarification.

The battle to KNOW (for me) far exceeds the understanding that this is an exercise. I liken these exercises to how I felt as a child when being taught how to do something. I want to play the game (NOW), I don't want to practice, I want to play!

Add to this - lessons that boggle my conscious mind such as "I see nothing as it is now" - to tell my brain that what it pictures is not really there.... I do not see the keyboard on which I am typing as it is now. One of the most encouraging statements I've read so far in the CIM was a comment that accompanied this lesson; "Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away, and understanding will finally come to lighten every corner of the mind that has been cleared of the debris that darkens it." That gives me comfort and hope.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Preoccupied? How about spinning?

Lesson #8

My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

Yell yes . . . my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts, as I cannot see into the future. This is a "thought" provoking exercise that on first reading seems to make little sense (that seems to be a common feeling with most of these exercises). As a typical person desiring immediate gratification, I want to jump to the end and see if all this comes together - is easier to understand. However, I have promised myself that I would follow the rules and take these lessons as they are laid out. If I am to believe that Jesus dictated these Miracle Lessons, they I need to believe that there is a method in place that will make this come together when it is time... But this is tough sometimes.

The lesson goes on to say that "No one really sees anything". And that the "purpose of the exercises is to train my mind to recognize when it is not really thinking at all". Again, a contrary process based on what we have learned from our past experiences . . . which never happened, of course. Wow, this is serious mind games.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Judgment based on experiences

Goodness, I cannot believe that it has been 10 days since my last posting. I had family visit for a week and have been playing catch-up since they left. My intention is to do a lesson every day as suggested, but I have fallen behind. According to today's lesson, I could judge myself a failure - based on my past experiences with not meeting commitments... but that is wrong.

Lesson #7

I see only the past.

The book says that this "is particularly difficult to believe at first. Yet it is the rationale for all of the preceding ones."

To me, this is a reasonable idea based on the fact that all "judgments" are made based on past experiences. (If I have never seen anything but green grass, then I would naturally believe that all grass is green. If someone were to tell me that there is purple grass, I would need proof before I changed my belief.)

Herein lies so much of the challenge (for me) with a CIM, I'm being asked to suspend belief in so many things I've come to know as unalterable truths.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Contrary thinking

Lesson #6

I am upset because I see something that is not there.

This is along the lines of the preceding few lessons, another exercise to condition ourselves to erroneous thinking (I am assuming). The examples given are:

I am angry at ___ because I see something that is not there.
I am worried about ___ because I see something that is not there.

The difficulty I am having with such thinking is most likely shared by any new practitioner. When I say to myself, "I am worried about MONEY because I see something that is not there", logic again kicks in and tells me I'd better be worried - I have bills to pay and a retirement to fund. Don't I? Don't I still have to eat and live somewhere while I continue along this path? How do I not worry about such things?

Again, I am assuming that the point here is conditioning - preparation. I am not ready to look at a tree and say it does not exist, or that I need no money to continue my existence. There is a bridge to cross here that I am not yet ready to cross. But I persist and try to understand and accept. I'm only on lesson #6 and having such a dilemma - I can't wait to read what lesson #300 will bring.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Rings true

Lesson #5

I am never upset for the reason I think.

This lesson rang my bell. I actually heard this idea many years ago in relation to why I was arguing with my wife. I was told that "we don't argue over what is REALLY bothering us". We may think we're fighting about the budget or house cleaning (you know all those issues we married people fight about), but in actuality we're arguing about a comment made last week or something else that may not even be a conscious memory. I thought this was absurd the first time I heard it, but over time I came to realize that it was true. When I could stand back and reflect on the argument, it dawned on me that what was REALLY bothering me was something altogether different than what the argument was about.

With today's lesson, we're instructed to say...

I am not angry at ______ for the reason I think.
I am not worried about ______ for the reason I think.
I am not depressed about ______ for the reason I think
I am not afraid of ______ for the reason I think.

There are no small upsets. They are all equally disturbing to my peace of mind.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Thoughts cont…

In practicing today's lesson about "thoughts meaning nothing", it dawned on me how this flies in the face of so many things we've been taught about our thoughts…

- Thoughts are things
- Thoughts and things are correlated (Yogi Gupta)
- As a Man Thinketh So Is He (James Allen)

This is an interesting exercise indeed!

A penny for my thoughts?

Lesson #4

These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

One of the key statements in the instructions for today's lesson (to me) is... "you may find the suspension of judgment in connection with thoughts particularly difficult"... Amen (my comment). Again, like the preceding lessons I feel this is an exercise to help me confuse or break down the ego's grasp on my thinking. Another note that was important to me is to not distinguish between a "good" or "bad" thought, but apply the exercise to all thoughts without judgment.

In performing this exercise, I felt that it had a calming effect on me. When having a "bad" thought and stating that it does not mean anything, there was a small feeling of relief - or acceptance - or something unexplainable. Conversely, when having a "good" thought and saying that it does not mean anything, I felt that as nice as this thought is, it means nothing compared to what good feels like in the presence of God. Am I judging these thoughts? Probably. Hey, I'm new at this...

Monday, June 12, 2006

I do not understand

Lesson #3:

I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

What does this mean to me? According to the Course, this is to help clear the mind of past associations. I get the feeling that these exercises are trying to trick or confuse the ego. Like my "tree falling on me" in the previous post, it is not logical to make such statements - based on my current "knowing". I continue forward in blind faith that these kinds of exercises are akin to practicing for the big game. Building skills and experience for when they are needed. Oh and BTW, I don't understand you - or me at this point!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The blind leading the blind

I remember an old saw that goes something like this, "you never really learn something until you try to teach it to someone".

I've experience that a number of times in my life when asked to talk about a topic I "knew", or make a presentation for business... it was during the preparation phase that I usually realized I didn't really know my topic and thus - additional research and my presentation to the group "taught me" more about the subject.

I was inspired to take that same approach to learning the Course. Yesterday morning I chose to begin at lesson #1 and study a new lesson every day, and I will teach what I learn as I proceed! Of course, I know nothing about the Course except what I have shared so far in this blog. So without further ado, I begin with Lesson #1 from yesterday and Lesson #2 for today. I'm combining the two lessons because they are similar.

Lesson #1:

Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.

I am instructed to view my surroundings and apply this statement to whatever I see. i.e. This table does not mean anything.... Etc.

Lesson #2:

I have given everything I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) all the meaning that it has for me.

What does this mean to me? I believe these lessons are designed to get me thinking about the mistake in my logic; that nothing is real, and my ego made all this up to support the grand story. Obviously, at this stage I have difficulty "believing" that the trees outside my window do not exist. I know that if one fell on me it would hurt like hell. This exercise is probably a way to begin chipping away at the amour of my ego in preparation for the next revelation that will, at first reading, sound equally absurd. Now do you understand? Good, because I do not - but I promise to continue trying.

Since you don't really exist, and your opinion of me means nothing, my ramblings here are of no importance to you. However, if in reading my "teachings", you have a comment that helps to clarify or explain what I've stated, please add your comments. Now isn't that a strange request??? I state that you don't exist, yet I'm asking for your help. Oh yeah this is going to be interesting...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Can we truly believe this?

According to the official account, A Course in Miracles is the result of Jesus contacting a woman named Helen Schucman and instructing her to write down all that he said. Her introduction to “the voice of Jesus” said, "This is a course in miracles. Helen scribbled shorthand to keep up with the voice and a colleague, William Thetford accepted the job of transcribing her notes. Although educated doctors, these were “common people”, not theologians or spiritually enlightened people.

The most obvious question about why God chose these people to bring his message to the world is… why them? Why not choose a trusted and recognized spiritual leader like the Pope, Billy Graham or the Dali Lama? If the aim is to reach all people, why select such an unlikely spokesman such as Helen to be the messenger? Any first year advertising/PR student would know that this is a bad idea…

That question baffled me until I thought about the bible and its beginnings. If you compare Jesus’ original disciples to job descriptions of today, you’d find fisherman (dock workers), an IRS agent, farmers and other common laborers. Jesus didn’t choose from the best and the brightest Jewish Rabbis, he chose ordinary people to become his followers and preach is word.

The next most obvious question (to me) is how do we know that Helen is telling the truth? Why should we believe that Jesus actually spoke to her? How can we prove this? The bible’s answer to such questions is “faith” – blind faith. Are we willing to accept Helen’s writings on blind faith? Obviously, we can’t prove or disprove her story and I for one have trouble with blind faith being my only recourse. The only plausible solution here is to continue studying the course and if it stands on its own merits, then it - and Helen must be believable.

So, I continue. I like the Course’s message and I want to believe that it holds the explanation for our existence on this planet – real or imagined.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I have been studying the Course and listening to CDs when I drive. My list of questions is only exceeded by my degree of confusion. These are radical ideas, yet I've seen many similar ideas presented in reading books about spirituality, metaphysical topics and Eastern religions views. So, is this nothing more than a spiritual philosophy, which has cannibalized popular religious beliefs and blended them into one comprehensive view?

There is a strong urge to push back from all this (which I attribute to my Catholic upbringing). My mind races with many questions - is that the ego trying to regain control? Or is it just an intelligent response to what appears to be "heretical" and uncomfortable statements? I'm rambling here, but that is how it feels as I read and listen to the CDs. I'm receiving information, but my mind spins with questions of uncertainty and a large share of insecurity... What if? How? Who? Why? Can this be possible? Is it true?

The Course says that we will experience discomfort and confusion. That is one statement that I have been able to accept unequivocally.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

This is MY Course in Miracles

Welcome. I am not a teacher or spiritual advisor, nor do I have memories of past lives or meetings with "ascended masters". I'm just a person who is seeking the same answers to questions which most of us eventually ask...

It is my hope that this blog evolves into a record of my discoveries and that my comments help others. Please visit my website for additional information about what I have learned about A Course in Miracles.

This is not a forum to debate; life is too short to argue with someone who feels the need to convert me, witness to me or tell me I'm going to hell because I choose to question "the word of God". It is my understanding that free will permits me that luxury. However, I am open to advice and help from anyone who thinks they can supply an answer or assist with my study. Thank you for visiting...