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Tao Te Ching
A Course In Miracles
What a Wonderful World
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This morning the US Commander in Chief sent the following tweet:
“Iran never won a war, but never lost a negotiation!”
I sent him this reply:
“With all due respect, and ONLY America’s interests at heart, please do your homework. Study without prejudice the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.”
For a short historical background please see IRAN-IRAQ WAR.
I hold no brief for Iran. But, should American citizens dutifully accept such flippant wanna-be-cowboy rhetoric we’ll have proven to be no more advanced than we were in 2003. That is when we as a nation committed trillions to a war that slaughtered hundreds of thousands and that resulted in extreme exacerbation of the situation it purported to resolve.
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a worthwhile undertaking for anyone who feels angry more than they would like to, feels afraid, feels victimized, tends to blame and shame others and/or is inordinately inclined to attack. It is also great for those interested in spiritual transcendence.
The author’s use of the Jesus construct frightens some off. It shouldn’t. In substance the work is more Vedic than Christian. Paradoxically, it is also more Christ-like than are most organized forms of Christianity.
The Jesus narration is powerful for a couple of reasons.
First, it removes current human agency. There are no teachers, gurus, or prophets to potentially corrupt the reader’s connection to the divine message. ACIM’s author Helen Schucman guarded her anonymity as author for her entire lifetime for this purpose. She purported to have received the complete text from a higher spirit whom she believed to be Jesus. She did not want to allow her own ego – with claims of ownership and authorship – or any other human frailties to sully what she perceived as revelations made to her to share.
Second, Jesus is a particularly apt source for such revelations. Many studies have linked his core messages to then-existing Vedantic philosophies. One such study is The Gospel According to Jesus by Eastern philosophy translator Stephen Mitchell. (Incidentally, Mitchell also wrote a wonderful translation of the Tao Te Ching). Mitchell notes that while much of what Jesus imparted was touched on before him, nothing before or after Jesus emphasized or drove home more effectively the related teachings of unconditional love and forgiveness. No work treats these teachings more thoroughly than ACIM. That includes the Bible and gnostic philosophies and such works as the Christian-rejected Gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdalene.
ACIM posits the ego (self-created self-identity) as the source of pain and suffering. It does so in a more thorough, understandable manner than any other philosophic, religious, or psychological work I’ve read. Schucman’s background in clinical psychology results in her attempting to bring Christ’s message in modern terms. It has downsides too as we’ll see below.
What makes ACIM more effective is an accompanying manual of 365 daily meditative exercises. Like many Eastern practices, ACIM explains how transcendent experience and revelation cannot be done justice by words or logic. They require experience and that requires practice. The exercises help the reader recognize the constricting construct nature of time and space. They assist with recognizing and separating out from ego. They help with letting go of hostilities, grievances, and regrets.
My personal view is that the exercises are quite effective up to somewhere around between day 70 and 80. Around there the work shifts from via negativa (wisdom achieved by removing untruths) to positive conditioning. While self-programming one’s subconscious is not necessarily inherently unworkable, by day 70 to 80 it becomes repetitive, doctrinaire, and even inconsistent with some of the work’s more important earlier imparted truths. By the time one gets to the Teacher’s Manual (written several years after the initial revelations) it speaks in a voice unrecognizable to the original text.
Another flaw in ACIM is its confusion about spirit; perhaps stemming from Schucman’s secular psychology training. You may need to exercise patience as the author alternatively refers to it as spirit, soul, and holy spirit – sometimes inferring differences amongst the three. If you do the practical exercises it all becomes academic as clearly the agent deciding to and then carrying out the exercises is who it is – regardless of what the author calls it.
All in all, read while doing the practicals, ACIM is a map that affords experiences of the territory (higher mind, universal consciousness, Oneness, God, etc). When one settles on one map regardless of its purpose having been served one often loses touch with the territory. To become ever more familiar with the territory, it is advisable to master many maps. Once you get into defending a particular map it might serve as indication that it is time to study another. You will find that good maps tend to validate and reinforce recognitions and abilities attained with earlier ones while showing you the territory from a new perspective. ACIM can deliver that.
You can experience God by seeing God in others without discrimination. It can be done when love dissolves fear. It is rarely easy at first. If you try, before long you will likely attract attack thoughts. Don’t fight them. Just let them go and try to notice their source. Keep extending love. The more you work on it the more the source of attack will become apparent. At first you will think you are the source; but with practice you’ll come to see that is not so. The more you disregard the thoughts, the more intense and ‘logical’ will the attack thoughts come. If you stick with it and consistently decline invitations to go back to acting like the source of attack thoughts, eventually you will see the truth and become comfortable with it. So will many of those whom you encounter.
Here is what can happen when a brother decides to replace attack thoughts with love.
From A Course In Miracles:
“The ego has a strange notion of time, and it is with this notion that your questioning might well begin. The ego invests heavily in the past, and in the end believes that the past is the only aspect of time that is meaningful. Remember that its emphasis on guilt enables it to ensure its continuity by making the future like the past, and thus avoiding the present. By the notion of paying for the past with the future, the past becomes the determiner of the future, making them continuous without an intervening present. For the ego regards the present only as a brief transition to the future, in which it brings the past to the future by interpreting the present in past terms.
“’Now’ has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past. The ego cannot tolerate release from the past, and although the past is over, the ego tries to preserve its image by responding as if it were the present. It dictates your reactions to those you meet in the present from a past reference point, obscuring their present reality. In effect, if you follow the ego’s dictates you will react to your brother as though he were someone else, and this will surely prevent you from recognizing him as he is. And you will receive messages from him out of your own past because, by making it real in the present you are forbidding yourself to let it go. You thus deny yourself the message of release that every brother offers you now.
“The shadowy figures from the past are precisely what you must escape. They are not real, and have no hold over you unless you bring them with you. They carry the spots of pain in your mind, directing you to attack in the present in retaliation for a past that is no more. And this decision is one of future pain. Unless you learn that past pain is an illusion, you are choosing a future of illusions and losing the many opportunities you could find for release in the present. The ego would preserve your nightmares, and prevent you from awakening and understanding they are past…
…”If you accept your function in the world of time as one of healing, you will emphasize only the aspect of time in which healing can occur. Healing cannot be accomplished in the past. It must be accomplished in the present to release the future. This interpretation ties the future to the present, and extends the present rather than the past. But if you interpret your function as destruction, you will lose sight of the present and hold on to the past to ensure a destructive future. And time will be as you interpret it, for of itself it is nothing.”
Ego believes that by giving one loses what is given. That is why ego is so quick to pass judgment and offer guilt. The reasoning goes that when guilt is dealt it passes from the accuser to the accused. Ego believes that making others guilty cleanses one of one’s own guilt. It projects hate in an effort to purge hate.
At bottom the ego’s motivation is based on fear. Fear of judgment, guilt, shame, blame – all forms of attack. The ego’s automatic form of defense is attack. It reasons that the more it attacks the less liable to attack it becomes. What it gives, it loses.
But a clear, objective look will reveal that the ego’s law is reversed. In reality, one gets what one gives. The more one attacks the more attack one attracts. The more guilt one dishes the more guilt one takes on. The more one judges the more shall one be judged.
This vicious cycle can be revealed and reversed. If one can manage to separate from the ego sufficiently to view it objectively, fear is manifest. And in the process fear is evaporated. What makes that exposure possible is fear’s opposite. In its presence fear cannot co-exist, just as darkness cannot co-exist in the presence of light. Its fundamental law is the precise opposite of the ego’s ‘you lose what you give.’
For some moments disregard the ego’s impulse to project guilt and replace it with an effort to extend love. Begin with contemplation of objects of love that are easy for you – your child, your sibling, your best friend, your spouse, etc. Then make a conscious effort to extend it even to those whom you believe you hate. Go easy at first. Extend it to someone or something you have been more neutral about. Then extend it to someone or something you have loved but you haven’t been feeling so loving about lately. Just as ego’s attacks attract attacks, you will find that love’s extension attracts love.
At any time while you extend love you are liable to get an impulse to attack – an urge to attack anything, even an attack thought at yourself. There is your opportunity to have an objective look at ego. And by simply recognizing it as such, as something separate and apart from you, and carrying on with extending love you are on the road to reversing the ego’s vicious cycle.
Because the ego and ego—driven societal information channels have so cleverly co-opted the concept of love for attack purposes and justification, a point of clarification is offered. Martin Luther King provided clarity on the subject in A Stride Toward Freedom (May 1958):
“In speaking of love at this point, we are not referring to some sentimental or affectionate emotion. It would be nonsense to urge men to love their oppressors in an affectionate sense. Love in this connection means understanding, redemptive good will. When we speak of loving those who oppose us, we refer to neither eros nor philia; we speak of a love which is expressed in the Greek word agape. Agape means understanding, redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object. It is the love of God operating in the human heart.
“Agape is disinterested love. It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor (1 Cor. 10:24). Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. It is entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both. If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.
“Another basic point about agape is that it springs from the need of the other person – his need for belonging to the best of the human family. The Samaratin who helped the Jew on the Jericho Road was “good” because he responded to the human need that he was presented with. God’s love is eternal and fails not because man needs his love. Saint Paul assures us that the loving act of redemption was done “while we were yet sinners” – that is, at the point of our greatest need for love. Since the white man’s personality is greatly distorted by segregation, and his soul is greatly scarred, he needs the love of the Negro. The Negro must love the white man, because the white man needs his love to remove his tensions, insecurities, and fears.”
If you practice this, at some point love’s law will become apparent, you get what you give. And you will find that you have that much more to give.
From A Course In Miracles:
The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace. Judgment is the process on which perception but not knowledge rests. I have discussed this before in terms of the selectivity of perception, pointing out that evaluation is its obvious prerequisite. Judgment always involves rejection. It never emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged, whether in you or in others. What has been perceived and rejected, or judged and found wanting, remains in your mind because it has been perceived. One of the illusions from which you suffer is the belief that what you judged against has no effect. This cannot be true unless you also believe that what you judged against does not exist. You evidently do not believe this, or you would not have judged against it. In the end it does not matter whether your judgment is right or wrong. Either way you are placing your belief in the unreal. This cannot be avoided in any type of judgment, because it implies the belief that reality is yours to select from.
You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers [defined as all human spirits] totally without judgment. When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them. All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself. In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process that enables recognition to replace perception.
You are very fearful of everything you have perceived but have refused to accept. You believe that, because you have refused to accept it, you have lost control over it. This is why you see it in nightmares, or in pleasant disguises in what seem to be your happier dreams. Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness. It is not dangerous in itself, but you have made it seem dangerous to you.
When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are. All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished. Yet if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment. You will also regard judgment with fear, believing that it will someday be used against you. This belief can exist only to the extent that you believe in the efficacy of judgment as a weapon of defense for your own authority.
The delinquents are back.
Letter to A and E :
Dear Mr. Hoberman,
It has come to my attention that your latest Leah Remini/Mike Rinder prankster production may be targeting me with accusations of a discreditable nature.
By way of background, when I last dared to raise objections to similar conduct on the part of Remini, Rinder, A & E, and IPC your two noble ‘activists’ targeted my family for retaliation. Remini’s anti-scientology Facebook page was used as a forum to launch phony, vicious attacks to undermine and destroy my wife’s fledgling, family-run bakery. Upon being called out on their hijinks, Remini and Rinder went silent. Very silent. They created a private (members only) Facebook forum from which to continue with their juvenile-delinquent behaviors. So much for their continual refrain about the sanctity of family, the atrocity of targeting people for harassment who dissent from particular doctrinal views, and those with alleged obsessions about secrecy.
Rinder and Remini also participated in a blackmail scheme to silence my dissent from their preying on emotionally weak people with hysterical and misleading portrayals of their own experiences in and concerning Scientology. I was informed by the leading financier of Rinder and the anti-Scientology Cult (ASC, of which Remini and RInder are the leading lights) that if I did not remain silent about the group’s duplicity my ‘crimes’ committed while in Scientology would be ruthlessly exposed. Having myself already thoroughly disclosed any untoward behavior I may have engaged in while affiliated with the church of Scientology, my response was ‘make my day.’
Months later, in January 2017 I was informed by ASC’s chief propagandist Tony Ortega that an ABC Leah Remini special scheduled to air the next day was targeting me for alleged crimes I had committed while in Scientology – and that Ortega was set to flank the show on his hate site. I learned that one Sergio Gil was filmed announcing that while I was in the Church I forced him to cooperate in a cover-up of an alleged sexual assault he had been victim of. I informed ABC that I did not even know who Sergio Gil was, had never witnessed anyone being sexually assaulted by anyone, never received a report of such an act, and never participated in any cover up of any such incident. ABC investigated and wisely chose to edit the segment out of the Remini production. It turned out Gil had been publishing his accusations on a private Facebook page operated by ASC’s financier and regularly frequented by Rinder and Remini.
A concerned citizen recently sent me two postings on Remini’s secret site that are the cause for my current concerns. Those were a post from Gil and a post from a Remini minion showing Gil as a participant in your upcoming anti-Scientology smear job. In Gil’s post, he has rolled out a brand new series of accusations about me. Remarkably, the new charges are one hundred and eighty degrees the opposite of what he charged in 2017. Now, Gil does not claim that I participated in covering up sexual misconduct, but instead that I specialized in uncovering and exposing it. He claims that I trained him and others on how to do the same.
Quite the trick considering that Gil is somebody I never met, never knew, and never communicated with. The entire post is strewn with misrepresentations starting with a position I allegedly held that I never did and have never even heard of to the procedures he recounts being taught to the existence of such a ‘school’ where his imagined accusations took place. I understand that Gil has boasted of the psychiatric treatment he has received since leaving the Church. If true, his continued public prancing about with such wild hallucinations is a severe indictment of the psychiatrists concerned.
More likely , given their treatment of me and my family in the past, Gil’s real problem is his affiliation with Remini and Rinder whose stock in trade appears to be cultivating and promoting such delusions.
Incidentally, more than a year ago I posted a video wherein I pointed out a glaring absurdity about your plethora of sexual abuse and cover-up claims. That is, the person who would have been in a position to know of the particulars of them all, if there were any, was the very joker producing this litany. Mike Rinder. By his own descriptions of the positions he held for decades — the duration within which virtually all your claims allegedly occurred — Mike RInder would be the only person capable of corroborating all them and the most authoritative – evidenced by the size of his Remini production salary – to boot. I pointed out Rinder had not taken responsibility for a one of them, nor even acknowledged that any corner of what was alleged actually occurred. Since then, how many particulars has he copped to? In fact, Sleepy Mike’s silence is further corroboration of the facts I state concerning the accusations against me.
If for some reason Rinder has a sudden bout of that rare affliction called ‘memory’ and cooks up an act for you, in light of the previous paragraph (and after your countenance of Rinder’s three-year hiding in plain sight schtick) and you go ahead and air any such accusations concerning me – even with a notation that said that I never heard of the individual – I very well may sue you.
Mark C. Rathbun