Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind.
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) 10:4:2.1
I have begun to pause of late, considering the possibility that nearly all I have doted upon, relied upon, fallen back upon for most of my life to date . . . might not just be wrong, but wrong-headed, steeped in illusions parading as substance requiring strong controls and rigid parameters and impermeable boundaries to be sorted out, mapped, erected, buttressed, and maintained between me and everything else. I alone pick what goes in, seems to have been my story. And now it is as if I have constructed and sit boldly upon my very own walls of Jericho|hannah, my tiny refuge down there somewhere on the floor of my walled city with its selected valuables and worthy holdings, and me perched up high on that outer wall with an array of finely cared for and doted upon weapons with which I may rain molten darts down upon the advancing heads of the enemies of my peace? Mantras, values, good memories, bad memories being forged into decency, stories and songs based on evidence and data, fiery will, the steadying knowledge of my own persistence and resilience: these are my weapons of choice. I have fallen off the wall before, you see, headlong into the moat below or sometimes straight out into the maw of invading forces, and had to swim and scurry and scramble and climb for my life. But what if the danger was all chimera?
In the tempestuous seas of now, I find a little flicker of a light, beckoning me to shores hitherto glanced toward only to avoid, outwit, or outright deny, chin set for a tomorrow that was bathing itself riotously in all my yesterday’s todays. What if we create our perceived realities by what we believe we fear? What if we really do increase whatever we focus on? What if there exists an all-encompassing love that cancels out fear, as light does darkness, not by fighting but simply by being? When light comes into a dark room, it doesn’t start up a war with darkness to get it to leave: it simply shines; it is itself. What if love, the love that encompasses all beings bar none and dwells within all that lives, is all that we are? And what if we forget that when we’re busy building refuges and the walls of hannahed Jerichos and moats and our little weapons and materiel stashes? What if we are one with everything that exists, now or ever, and so the construction projects take us off-path enough that we just forget it?
Way back in 1999, exiled from the last two people in my family by yet more non-family members intent on interloping and upending all that I still held dear, I was walking in the hills of southern Minnesota one day, sorrow my only companion except for a steely will to survive. I did not mind being alone, for solitude nurtures me, but betrayal? That was my hard spot, the thing I could not understand. I desperately wanted to know why. All my life I’ve relied upon my mind to get me through things: if I can just understand why something happens, then I can get through it. No matter what it is. Period. This is a core, lifelong truth to which I have clung, heedless of any other options. But the people weren’t talking, wouldn’t give me a reason for the personal attacks, wouldn’t in fact speak to me at all (only to others about me, which stings like the very dickens when you believe yourself trapped thus), so there was no place for peace.
That day, as I frowned in my whole being at the universe, feeling unjustly treated and undeservedly so to boot, I heard a kind voice say aloud—precisely as if someone had been standing next to me and speaking in a normal tone:
See me in them and them in you, and us all in God.
Suffice it to say I was stunned, having long been estranged from everyone else’s notions of god, for what I considered good cause. The voice was not threatening, though, and I was still sane and the world wasn’t ending (I reached down and picked up a rock just to double-check those last two). I sniffed and made to walk on, but didn’t. I dropped the rock and picked it up again. It made a satisfying thud on the dirt. I exhaled hard, blowing out and reaching for the rock once more, and threw it hard down the road ahead. It skittered a few times and came to rest. There were birds in the trees, a slight breeze, and a whankish heavy smell of manure from down the hill. Nobody but me was there. So then I repeated it aloud, slowly, still resisting on the first word but losing all will for that as I spoke: “See me in them and them in you, and us all in God.” And then I just stood there and let that sink in.
I am a slow learner, valuing the process every bit as much as the destination. I trudged down the hill, slowly at first and then faster, breaking into a run, the sentence filling my mind and crowding out all other thoughts. I wanted to get back to write it down. I wanted to learn of this, too, of the great upwelling kindness I felt in these words and how as I spoke them the kindly voice itself seemed to come from within me, too, to be me, in some inexplicable way and yet to be much more—a kindly elder brother, perhaps, which I have never had and always wanted in my regular life—but I did not know where to turn. So I just said out loud, I could use some help here. A few days later, at the LaCrosse Public Library, I was browsing shelves as I have done since childhood, waiting for the right book to pick me, and suddenly I felt the kindness in that voice again as I mindlessly lifted a heavy blue book and thumbed through it. A Course in Miracles. I checked it out, purchased my own copy before I finished reading the borrowed one, and thought I had found my path.
With the book’s help, I processed pain and loss and no answers on which to hang my hat for the why of any of that, and small miracles began to appear almost daily. Some of them harkened back in unsettling ways to a healer I’d met years before who’d told me I was on the path to becoming a healer (to which I responded with barely civil, frank skepticism and a boat-sized grain of rock salt). I had stumbled into relevant encounters every year since (with healers in the deserts of southern Africa, north-central Australia, and the Mojave; as well as spiritual teachers among tribes in the northern plains and coastal areas), and I had great respect for all of them and what they told me but was scared out of my skull about all of it, too. The healing part was fine and good and even dandy—I studied reiki and it worked—but there was an edge beyond all that which was unthinkable, and I am a thinking being and simply do not know how to be otherwise.
None of this new realm could be comprehended with any of my most burnished tools, you see, and so I would study ACIM for a while, then have an experience that would shake me to my core and put the book away. Forget it. Go live. For months, years even. One time I actually lost the book and had to re-buy it before the first one showed back up. Here’s the thing: Without data, who the heck knows who I might be serving? How close is the line to going crazy anyway? That sort of thing. I would close my mind to it because my mind couldn’t get a grip, and without that—my greatest weapon of all time so far—I was too paralyzed to function. But life keeps bringing me back to ACIM, to this path, to healing, and recently I embraced it wholeheartedly and told my mind to either participate or sit the hell down, shut the tarnation up, and take some frickin’ notes.
And so at last I go, and the notes my little note-taking self took along the way since that first encounter provide sustenance for the journey, to what|where|why|when|who|how? I have no idea. All I know is that I am going. I’ve been lots of other places and this is the only one to which I have been repeatedly close-minded, closed enough to make myself uneasy with my certainties. In a way it’s like pushing open the door of my darkened room and inviting light to come in, but in another? Light needs no invitation. It just is. I have blocked my awareness of all that is by insisting on keeping my mind in total control of everything I am willing to accept or reject, by not letting myself dwell in mysteries beyond cognition, by not simply being. If miracles are normal—and, as the recipient of several, without which I would not be here to learn jack siccum, I know they are—then I must seek an unclouding of my mind, always so hellbent on discovering and explaining everything; a stilling of my hands always so restless to fix things; a calming of my heart, always so intent on controlling things so that they are what I consider good and decent and compassionate; and an end, for now at least, a full surcease of all labors in service of what I believe I should want, do, think, say, or be.
The course promises miracles and delivers in the voice of that kind, quiet one who walked with me on that lonely and bitter Minnesota road. When I live by those words, “See me in them and them in you, and us all in God,” I know myself as an undifferentiated part of all that exists. For the words have emerged—entirely without my bidding or consciousness—from within, and so I must be part of a Oneness, something too vast to comprehend fully via mind or intellect alone. Studying this big blue book, immersing myself (heart, soul, mind, spirit, body) in it, I daily find succor now. Two recent gems?
You are at home in God, dreaming of exile but perfectly capable of awakening to reality.
. . . and . . .
Whenever you are not wholly joyous, it is because you have reacted with a lack of love to one of God’s creations.
With the thinking, cogitating part of me, I muse that one lifetime isn’t enough to grasp these, to make them fully alive in the world, and then the kind and loving voice that comes from within, of course, the voice that reminded me to “See me in them and them in you, and us all in God,” gently smiles, as do I. For love operates outside the laws of time and space and physics and what we might deem possible by our present understandings: Love already is, has ever been, and will ever be. I wish for you, for me, for all of us who find ourselves in time now only this: this peace that so passeth understanding.