The Lifetimes When Jesus and Buddha Knew Each Other: A History of Mighty Companions by Gary R. Renard

Two and a half decades ago, Ascended Master Teachers Arten and Pursah appeared to Gary Renard and held a series of conversations with him that elaborated on the teachings of two spiritual classics, The Gospel of Thomas and A Course in Miracles. Gary immortalized what he learned in the books of his best-selling series: The Disappearance of the Universe, Your Immortal Reality, and Love Has Forgotten No One. This fourth book is a companion to the original trilogy, yet written to stand alone, an invitation for new readers into this fascinating work.

This book explores six of the lifetimes in which the incarnations of Jesus and Buddha lived together, beginning in 700 B.C. when they were known as Saka and Hiroji. Arten and Pursah, through the spiritual lessons that Jesus and Buddha learn on their path, clarify the difference between duality and nonduality. When you are able to internalize these lessons, you will be saved countless years in your spiritual development.

Lyn and Bruce are reading and discussing this new book each Saturday morning at 10am ET on ACIM Gather for a Course in Miracles on Paltalk.

Listen to these episodes of House of the Risen Son with Bruce Rawles and Lyn Johnson

11/25/17 Part 1 Author’s Notes

12/2/17 Part 2 Author’s Notes

12/9/17 Part 3 Author’s Notes

12/16/17 Part 4 Author’s Notes

12/23/17 – Part 4 Authors Notes

12/30/17 – Chapter 1 The Ladder to Enlightenment

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Four Noble Truths?

What are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and how does A Course in Miracles release us from the idea of suffering?

As a practicing Buddhist for over 30 years, I am quite familiar with these “truths” and the practice of the EightFold Path of: right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right insight.  All of this “Right” thinking is meant to address the cause and effect of suffering.  The Four Noble Truths of the Buddha are:

  1. Suffering exists
  2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
  3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
  4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path

A Course in Miracles teaches us a simpler way, it’s a kind of a shortcut that resolves all appearances of suffering, almost instantly:

Forgiveness paints a picture of a world where suffering is over, loss becomes impossible and anger makes no sense. ….The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects. And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came.  (A Course in Miracles – Lesson 249)

This forgiveness is founded on two basic premises; (1) This world is an illusion; we walk in a dream, and (2) Nothing God made can be changed, altered, made sinful or guilty.  It is impossible to undo God’s Creation – we simply do not have the power to destroy what God created.

So what is this dream world we think we live in? It is a fabricated script, a story, that came about through a basic curiosity in the mind of the Son of God.  Because God knows I cannot be changed, no matter what I think or do, He gave me the ability to make a world, where I imagined love could not exist.  I have spent lifetimes trying to find love in this hopeless place, just to prove that I can.

What I have discovered in this fruitless search is that all pleasure in this world is based on something else’s pain. If you don’t believe it, think about anything that you truly enjoy and look at the process that brought it to you.  Look at something simple, like ice cream.

Dairy cows in rural farmland in England

If you eat real cow’s milk ice cream, you are eating milk that was produced from cows who are enslaved to produce the milk.  The milk is available because the cow has birthed a calf, her child was taken from her by force and she was now left, bereft and childless to become a milk and cream machine.  I could tell you similar stories about the production of the sugar, the eggs, the flavorings….. everything is made by and from the suffering of something that appears to be outside of myself.

When I think I see suffering, the ego mind does four things:

  1.  I imagine the suffering is intolerable to the person or the animal, and I want to save them
  2. Because I am powerless to save them, I devise strategies to separate myself in my mind from the “victims”, usually by justifying it in some way by seeing the victim as somehow less “sensitive” than me, or by seeing them as somehow deserving of their plight
  3. Having justified my position on my ability to “innocently” eat the ice cream. I ‘forget’ my objections and serve up two scoops.  My mind tells me that the animal has no real feelings, or the animal is “serving its purpose” by giving me ice cream, or that the animal is being elevated through its service to a human, or whatever other crap I would rather believe.
  4. The guilt I had experienced has been safely buried in my unconscious mind until later that night when I wake up with a tummy ache and I blame lactose intolerance.  My problem is really “guilt intolerance”, but I don’t see it that way at all.  I blame the ice cream, blame the cow and continue to justify my failure to save the cow, because I am suffering now too.

As absurd as this might sound, this is the way the cycle of guilt operates.  It is always my choice and my belief that I am responsible for the life and well being of everything and everyone that brings me suffering.  Whether I am worried about violence in the streets, or starving children in Africa or whales being hunted to extinction or global warming or homeless people on the corner begging for money or anything else in my experience that points out my helplessness to really fix the world, I feel guilty because I can’t do it.  I satisfy my guilt by putting a dollar in the homeless guy’s cup and I smile and thank the trash collector, post videos about social justice or kindness to animals on my Facebook page and I “adopt” a hungry child for $30 a month. And still I am not happy.

I imagine the joy that would be if my mother, my sister, my grandmother were here to see my children, and I imagine the day when my children will wish I was still here to share their joy. Even when I get a new puppy, I imagine the day that sweet, innocent, fluffy little bundle of love will get old and sick and die, and I mourn. And when I do, I want to blame God for a world that is sad and unjust and filled with pain.

It has always been the misfortune of my thought process that I cannot fool myself for very long about the source of “joyful” moments in the illusory world. There is joy in togetherness, but for me it is tempered by my vision of those who are not in my happy circle. It is never far from my thoughts that billions of people in this world are suffering. When I see a baby, a kitten, a field of flowers; when I hear music, see a gorgeous sunrise, smell a rose…. anything… I see that the joy it brings me is temporary. Things suffer, things die, love is lost and found, dancers starve themselves and suffer great pain to bring us beauty, composers live tragic lives, artists suffer, look at Beethoven, Van Gogh, Michelangelo … can you see or hear their work without thinking of the blind and painful lives they lived?

When I look at the suffering of my brothers, do I see them as poor and unfortunate?  Weak and defenseless? Different from me? Do I see them as less loved by God?

That is an attack!

God Loves all with the same pure Love. He sees us as perfect, sinless, innocent. He sees us as we are, all the same, whole and perfect. He does not see the sins we relate to the body: flesh and blood, fallible and imperfect, subject to pain and sickness and death.  My dilemma is not that there is no reason for improvement in the world – improvement in the illusion is impossible.

There is no  difference in anyone’s state of being based on what I perceive as their circumstance.

I may get cancer, lose my job, lose the love of my life, get leprosy, have a horrible accident, anything might happen. Circumstances in the illusion will change, but those are all just storylines in a script.  None are better or worse, more or less interesting, or actually even interesting at all.  When I noticed that they were all stories and none could be my real experiences, I saw that they were all the same.  No more real than the dreams I dream at night, I awoke to see the truth.

God’s Son is perfect, or he cannot be God’s Son. Nor will you know him, if you think he does not merit the escape from guilt in all its consequences and its forms. There is no way to think of him but this, if you would know the truth about yourself.

I thank You, Father, for Your perfect Son, and in his glory will I see my own Here is the joyful statement that there are no forms of evil that can overcome the Will of God; the glad acknowledgment that guilt has not succeeded by your wish to make illusions real. 6 And what is this except a simple statement of the truth? – A Course in Miracles Text Chapter 30.VI.9.

God is good.  Nothing in this world is true.  The pain I perceive can be vanquished by forgiveness. If I didn’t see the suffering, I would never pray to know the truth. I would never know that I can change it all by changing my mind. I choose to see this differently. I don’t know what any of these thoughts mean. I choose to let the Holy Spirit change my mind. I can let them go now, and they will be changed to my real thoughts where none of this suffering exists. God is innocent, and so are we. Amen

 

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The Acid Queen (Part One)

“No one can escape from illusions unless he looks at them, for not looking is the way they are protected.  There is no need to shrink from illusions, for they cannot be dangerous.  We are ready to look more closely at the ego’s thought system because together we have the lamp that will dispel it, and since you realize you do not want it, you must be ready. Let us be very calm in doing this, for we are merely looking honestly for truth. The “dynamics” of the ego will be our lesson for a while, for we must look first at this to see beyond it, since you have made it real. We will undo this error quietly together, and then look beyond it to truth.” – A Course in Miracles

I was a sixteen-year-old high school dropout. I was preoccupied with the spiritual and the occult. My friends were all older, college students and hippies who smoked pot and listened to music all day. I would smoke pot, but I never used other drugs, especially LSD, which terrified me more than heroin. I was so afraid of losing control of my mind. I had heard so many crazy stories about “bad trips” and “flashbacks”, and the possibility that I could be permanently affected and that I could have deformed babies. But I had also heard stories of great spiritual visions and revelations, and I wanted that.

My friends Chris and Bill ran a health food business, and I traveled with them to deliver teas and herbs to little shops throughout Colorado and New Mexico.  We journeyed in a Volkswagen bus and we camped throughout the Rocky Mountains, meditating with groups in various communities and sleeping out under the stars. Chris had polio when he was a child and he had leg braces and walked with crutches. He was a very deep and spiritual person. Bill was a carpenter and former military guy who had fallen in love with yoga and meditation. We were a strange trio. When our van broke down in Steamboat Springs, we were kind of stuck for a while.

I lied about my age and got a job at the Edelweiss Hotel, a cheap rooming house for ski bums. The hotel was upstairs from a furniture store on the main street. It was very old and funky, with communal bathrooms and individual rooms down two long corridors. There were a few permanent residents, and the rest of the rooms were rented out by the night. There were a few rooms with double beds, but most of the rooms were fitted with sets of bunk beds, two or three to a room. This was popular with college and high school kids who came in groups. It was a wild place with lots of partying. Downstairs from the hotel there was an old diner, where lots of townies liked to eat. Chris and I both got jobs there waiting tables and washing dishes. As part of my pay at the hotel I got a room to stay in. Chris and I stayed there and Bill stayed in the van parked out back. Bill got work doing construction and soon was able to repair his van. Eventually he and Chris decided to continue on their journey, but I decided to stay in Steamboat. I had made some friends and I loved the town, so I was pretty cool. Of course, no one questioned that I was underaged. I started smoking cigarettes too, imagining that made me look a little older and wiser.

I loved being on my own. I woke up early every morning during ski season and cleaned guest rooms all morning. Fortunately, skiers liked to get up early and hit the slopes as soon as the lifts opened, so I could get my work done early and have the rest of the day until my shift at the cafe. I wandered the streets of Steamboat, meeting interesting people and making lots of friends.

Once while walking down the street I heard the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young coming from a house on a hill. I knocked on the door and it was answered by an angelic young blond woman who excitedly invited me in. Sitting at the kitchen table was a mysterious gypsy looking woman named Francine. The younger girl was named Merle. Francine had a husband named husband George, a sweet and gentle man who adored her.

Francine told me that they had been waiting for me, and she spread a deck of Tarot cards on the kitchen table and she began to instruct me on their meanings. From that day on, as soon as I was done at the hotel, I would walk to their house and they would teach me the meanings and proper interpretations of the cards. They encouraged me to develop my psychic powers, Fran read my palms and told me that I was fated to become a powerful witch. It was true that everybody was amazed by the accuracy of my readings, and I felt pretty special about that.

About that time, I also met Robert, a sweet, intelligent young man who became my friend. Soon I started spending the rest of my spare time hanging out with him.

Robert was an acid head. He loved LSD and he took it frequently. He collected different varieties and he kept a scrapbook with memories of each trip, including a tab or blotter of the actual drug in each entry. His favorites were made by a guy named Owsley, and he had many colorful sheets of various “blotter” acids and tablets with little owls on them. The sheets looked like printed pictures on a grid. The drug was dropped onto squares on the grid and the squares were cut up into individual “hits”. Once Robert took me down to Denver to pick up a supply. It was somewhere in the City Park area and he had me wait for him at the Natural History Museum. He told me that they were pretty paranoid, and I might freak them out. He was pretty paranoid too, he could have gotten in a lot of trouble. Fortunately, nothing went wrong, and we got back to town with a good supply of the highest quality of LSD that was available to the public.

Robert was a gentle teacher. I hung out with him when he tripped, and I never saw any unusual behavior, just sweetness and joy. I decided it was safe. We went to a local hot springs, in a place called Strawberry Park, a short drive from Steamboat. It was about a twenty-minute hike from the road. We ate the acid in the car, and then we hiked up to the springs. My stomach was twisting in anxiety, but I pretended to be cool. We had picked a full moon night, the sky was bright and clear, and, even though there was snow on the ground, hot steam rose into the night from the pools.

In those days, the hot springs was just a place where local people hung out, drinking wine and getting naked under the stars. There were a few of our friends there and we passed joints and bottles of wine. Soon I felt something like a pull at the nape of my neck and the next moment it seemed like the bright lights came on gently. I was entranced by the colors of the setting sun, the whiteness of the snowy hills, steam rising off the water, the music of laughter, the bright scent of mountain air, the warm aroma of marijuana. Robert had brought a bag of Jolly Rancher candies and he put one in my mouth. The world exploded in the taste of tart cherries. I was surrounded and immersed in a rich tapestry of sights, sounds, colors, sensations, and flavors. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had found an amazing drug that became my new best friend.

Having a ready supply of this magical stuff, I felt so blessed. I tripped every time I had the chance to. Everything became fascinating to me. People were fascinating. Everything was fun, every conversation was brilliant, and I laughed more than I had ever laughed in my entire life.

Robert had given me a book “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A Heinlein. It was the story of a human, Michael Valentine Smith, who was raised on Mars by Martians. He was not conditioned by the world to believe what humans on Earth believed, so his mind was free to be natural. He was my hero, a mystical, magical spirit who had an idea of a way that people could live in love and unity. The story fascinated me and I became a firm believer.
A major theme of the book was freedom of sexual expression and the characters formed what would today be called polyamorous relationships. In 1969, free love was all the rage, but I was not sexually active at all. I had never had a boyfriend, and had not even gone on a date. I was too shy to have intimate relationships and I hadn’t met anyone I was interested in that way.

One night I woke up in my room at the hotel and there was a naked man standing over my bed. He was a friend of the hotel owner and he had been drinking. I jumped out of my bed and I ran out into the night barefoot and without a coat. I went to a friend’s house and woke her up. She called the police. When they asked him why he did it, he told them it was because I had been smoking pot in my room. The cops tore up my room looking for drugs, and when they found out I was only sixteen they arrested me as a runaway. They called my mom and the next day I was on a Greyhound bus going back home to Greeley. What the cops who tossed my room in Steamboat didn’t know was that I had three and a half full sheets of blotter acid in my sketchbook. I spent the next few years looking at illusions, and the rest of my life looking at the reasons I believed in them…..

“Salvation lies in the simple fact that illusions are not fearful because they are not true.  They but seem to be fearful to the extent to which you fail to recognize them for what they are; and you will fail to do this to the extent to which you <want> them to be true.  And to the same extent you are denying truth, and so are failing to make the simple choice between truth and illusion; God and fantasy.  Remember this, and you will have no difficulty in perceiving the decision as just what it is, and nothing more.”  (A Course in Miracles)


This is an excerpt from my upcoming book God is Free – Everything I know so far… 

Please feel free to subscribe and you will get future posts in your email.

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Falling Down (Part 2)

The day before my fortieth birthday my mom and I talked with my sister Gayle on the phone. It was not an eventful conversation, we talked about kids and family and she wished me a happy birthday. The next day she got up and cleaned her house, packed boxes of keepsakes for my sisters, and then she asphyxiated herself in her garage.

My oldest daughter and I drove across the frozen passes to Newcastle.  Gayle and her husband had retired there, and it seemed that they had a beautiful life. My sweet sister frequently traveled to visit us in Broomfield, but I seldom visited her. I asked myself what I had missed? How was I so unaware of her state? I had just talked to her; how could I know that was the last conversation we would have in this world? My devastated heart could not be consoled.

I could not have known that the consequences of this event would send my life sliding into an abyss of unbearable shame. I was so hard on myself, believing that I would have known she was suffering if I had paid more attention. I saw that I had developed a pattern of trivializing connections, and that none of my relationships were real, deep and truly loving. I wondered who else I was ignoring?

Not long after Gayle’s death, I learned a dark family secret. It was a heartbreaking story that answered some of my questions.

The family story was that my mother’s father was a Cherokee from Oklahoma. He and my grandmother married when she was sixteen years old. They had two children, my mother Waneta May Durham, and Glennie Earl Durham, a son who died from pneumonia at three months old. Soon thereafter, my grandfather was killed in a quarry explosion. She became a widow at the age of nineteen, her husband’s family refused to help her, my grandmother went to off to find work. My mother went to live with her maternal grandparents where she was cherished and spoiled. She was an adventurous and happy little girl, she was the only child in a world of adults living on her grandparent’s farm. That experience inspired her deep love of family. She longed for the companionship of other children, and she was happy when her mother returned with a new husband and a new family.

The new husband was almost two decades older than his young wife, the new “sisters” were teenagers, just a couple of years younger than their new stepmother. They took my mother to live on a farm in Missouri. It was the Depression, times were very hard, and my grandmother had lucked out, finding a husband who had both property and an income and who didn’t mind raising a five year old little girl.

Life was now very different for my mother. Her new stepfather was too attentive to her, and my grandmother was petty and jealous. This was during the Depression of 1921, and times were very hard.  They attended small local church, and one Sunday, a neighbor brought his little girl to the church.  He was dying and her mother had abandoned her. He asked if any of the members could take her. My grandparents volunteered.  They took this little seven-year-old girl, assuring the father that she would have a better life.  My mother would finally have a sister and companion her age to play with.

As soon as the family returned from church, my step-grandfather took that little girl into the woodshed and he raped her. From that day on, as my mother told me, he “used” her. No one in the family ever said anything about this, even though it was well known. They told the neighbors that they had taken little Frieda to be a companion to my mother, but the truth was, the girl was taken to fulfill the lustful fantasies of an evil man. When my mother told me this story she was so filled with guilt and sadness, and it made what happened in the next part of the story seem even more tragic.

Years later, when my mother was a divorcee with five young children, my grandmother and step-grandfather came to live with our family. The promise of a better financial situation seemed to rob my mother of some sensibility, or she didn’t expect that her paedophilic stepfather would hurt any of her own children.  In those days, the nature of pedophilia was ignored, it was not seen as a common occurrence, and the serial nature of the offenders was unrecognized or ignored by the world. I don’t know how desperate she felt, or what she knew at the time.

Gayle, JoAnn, and June – Baby dolls & Easter dresses

The day they moved in, my step-grandfather took my sister Gayle into the woodshed and he raped her. He threatened her to force her silence and she became his own little toy. My sisters knew, and my grandmother probably knew, but nobody in the family ever said anything about it. How could my mother let that happen?

Now, my sister was dead, I learned this horrifying truth, and I was stunned. The insidious stage of grief known as ANGER ravaged my heart. My own childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a step-father, brought into my home for money and security, was a repetition of Gayle’s story. My mother had been saved this horror by coincidence, a family in need who was willing to give up their own child so that she wouldn’t starve. Like me and my sister, that child’s innocence and freedom was destroyed by a sick old man. Grief became a burning ember in my heart, threatening to burst into a raging inferno at any instant. I became dangerous to myself and I threatened my own life many times. Many years would pass before I was able to let go of any part of that anger and betrayal.

Gayle made Christmas stockings for my children

Now, every experience I had was a story about Gayle. Walking in my neighborhood reminded me of her, the mountains reminded me of her, music reminded me of her and I became overwhelmed with memories and regrets. In this troubled mental state, I decided to run away, to leave everything I knew and try to become a different person.

I looked at all of my relationships and I saw how I was faking it most of the time.  This was the beginning of my quest for the truth about myself, who I am, and how I truly relate to the world and others.  Eventually, I recognized the problem was that I avoided true relationships and looked for the easy, impersonal, relationships with little emotional investment.

Years later, I made a solemn vow that I would never again take a relationship for granted. This is how my journey into Oneness really began.

I got a job in Ohio, working for a government contractor and I moved my family across the country. I sent my mother to Kansas to stay with my sister, and I cut ties with the rest of my family of birth. It would be years before I saw or talked to the rest of my siblings. I thought they had all let her down and I was angry with them too. Mostly I was angry with myself for not hearing her anguish. I realized that she came to our house to find a kind of peace and joy that she had lost; to renew a connection to family, and to feel cherished. I had let her fall, and I thought I could run away from the guilt. Instead, I fell too. My body was showing me the way out, but it would be a long time before I got the message.

“I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt.

Loss is not loss when properly perceived. Pain is impossible. There is no grief with any cause at all. And suffering of any kind is nothing but a dream. This is the truth, at first to be but said and then repeated many times; and next to be accepted as but partly true, with many reservations. Then to be considered seriously more and more, and finally accepted as the truth. I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. And I would go beyond these words today, and past all reservations, and arrive at full acceptance of the truth in them.

Father, what You have given cannot hurt, so grief and pain must be impossible. Let me not fail to trust in You today, accepting but the joyous as Your gifts; accepting but the joyous as the truth.” (ACIM Lesson 284)


This is an excerpt from my upcoming book God is Free – Everything I know so far… 

Please feel free to subscribe and you will get future posts in your email.

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Join Lyn Johnson and David Fishman at the 2018 ACIM Conference

LMNE Logo

29 PRESENTERS: “LOVE MAKES NO EXECEPTIONS
Feb. 23, 24, & 25, 2018Held at The Holiday Inn Golden Gateway in San Francisco, CAPRICE INCLUDES 4 ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET MEALS,
All presentations, Sat. night dance party withTHE UNAUTHORIZED ROLLING STONES,
& Sun. Finale celebration.Sleeping rooms at The Holiday Inn are a separate charge.
8 new Presenters for this San Francisco Conference Wow!!! All these Presenters are at ONE A Course In Miracles Conference! It must be GIGANTIC! (You bet!)

Current price is $549.
After December 31, 2017 the price will be $599
After February 15, 2018 tickets must be purchased for the “at the door price” of $649

A non-refundable $150 deposit will hold the $549 price, a payment schedule can be worked out for the remainder. After full payment tickets can be canceled and you will get 50% of yourregistration fee back. Tickets can be fully transfered to another attendee but we must have full information on the new ticket holder: name, phone, email, & postal address.

Click below to enroll YOURSELF now!
http://bit.ly/2018_register_yourself

Click below to enroll a FRIEND now!
http://bit.ly/2018_register_a_friend

We have negotiated the low room price of $175 per night (single or double occupancy). This is terrific for downtown San francisco. As soon as you register we will send you the link to reserve your room at The Holiday Inn Golden Gateway.

“Love is incapable of any exceptions. … Fear does not gladden. Healing does. Fear always makes exceptions. Healing never does.” (OrEd.Tx.7.45)

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Falling Down ( Part One)

It was a glorious, sunny afternoon, and I had walked to the library to look for something to read while I was on medical leave. I just had surgery, and I was feeling great, but I
still had a few weeks off work. I was ready to enjoy my time off by catching up on some reading.

Carnegie Library Conneaut, OH

I loved the library, a quaint old building in a picturesque town square, and I spent a couple of hours looking at books and selecting some I thought would be interesting. By the time I had picked out my books and checked out, the sun had gone down, and the library was closing.

I stepped out of the library door, looked down at the steps and suddenly, I was hallucinating! I felt dizzy, and the steps appeared to be extending outward in an impossible way. I was terrified to put my foot down on the next step and I felt like I was floating in some strange space. I was paralyzed!! I could not take a step down and I was terrified!!

This was in the days before cell phones, and the librarian had already driven away. I finally had to sit down on the steps and I crawled down to the sidewalk. When I reached the sidewalk, I was able to stand up and walk, but as soon as I got outside of the scope of the streetlight, I fell down. I could not stand up and walk in the dark, but I didn’t know that at the time. In tears and in terror, I inched the five blocks to my house, walking wherever I could see, and crawling where the streetlights didn’t shine. I crawled up the front steps to my house and collapsed on the front porch, sobbing and thanking God for getting me home.

Strangely, when I was home, everything was ok. I could stand up and walk with no problems, except I seemed a little wobbly. I wondered if I had been poisoned somehow,  or if someone had put some kind of drug on the binding of a book.  The next day I went to my doctor, who tested my balance by having me close my eyes and stand still.  I could not!! He pushed me gently and I almost fell over.  This was scary!  He said it must have been an ear infection, and he prescribed antibiotics. As days went by, instead of getting better, the symptoms became worse. I had no sense of balance, and the doctors couldn’t figure out why. For more than a year I was tested for everything it could be. I had CT Scans and MRIs, and they checked for Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and brain tumors. Finally, in despair, I made an appointment with the Neurology department at the Cleveland Clinic. Five minutes into that appointment, I had the answer.

We had recently moved from Colorado to Conneaut, Ohio, a picturesque little town on the shore of Lake Erie. I was running from a tragedy that I couldn’t face.

My sister Gayle committed suicide on my fortieth birthday. She was the only person I thought I could depend on forever, but I was wrong. I thought I knew her, but I was wrong.

The guilt I felt for not seeing her suffering was overwhelming to me. I adored my sister Gayle and I admired her for so many things. Now she was dead and I didn’t know why.  I was so haunted by her death that I moved my family far away from the dysfunctional family of my birth.  I hoped to avoid further calamity.  Now, just when I thought I had escaped, something mysterious and terrifying was happening to me

For many years, I had been having a lot of “female” problems, and like thousands of women, I had a routine hysterectomy. All went well with the surgery, but post-surgery complications almost killed me and left me permanently disabled.

The surgery caused a blood clot that went into my lung, I developed pleurisy, a very painful condition in which the lining of the lung becomes filled with fluid. As the fluid builds up, it causes the lung to collapse and breathing becomes increasingly painful. They had to drain the fluid and they gave me an intravenous antibiotics to kill the infection.  That antibiotic was ototoxic – poison to the ears. This resulted in complete, irreversible, and permanent destruction of my vestibular system. This destruction came on gradually, because the poison got into the labyrinth of the ear and remained there, destroying every single nerve that could signal to my brain where my body is in space.

The Neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic asked me one question. Had I been given intravenous antibiotics? Then he asked me to walk up and down the hallway. He could tell right away that I was damaged, and he ordered tests to assess the damage. The tests were interesting and disappointing. I had no reaction to any of their tests. The diagnosis was devastating, 100% destruction of a vital system that gives us a sense of balance. The vestibular nerves in both ears were destroyed.  The symptoms included bouncing and blurring vision, (oscillopsia) which was worse with type of head movement. Obviously, I have difficulty walking in the dark, I cannot walk down stairs without a railing, I can’t ride a bicycle, or use a shovel to dig a hole. I almost drowned in Lake Erie because I didn’t realize I had no way of knowing up from down. I discovered that I can’t stand on one leg, and I had to learn to stand with my feet wider apart to give me a more balanced stance. I developed a wide-based gait when I walked, but any time I leaned over or became off balance in any way, I fell. I fell again and again. The doctor prescribed a three-wheeled walker and I was given a lifetime handicap prognosis.

I never got the walker. I was too proud, and I couldn’t admit that something about me was broken. I had already been broken to a point I didn’t believe I could be fixed. I thought I had escaped my bad luck and my feeling of being an outsider when we moved to Ohio. But I was mistaken. I was trying to upgrade my social status; to feel like I could somehow fit in with normal people, to be respected and treated as an equal. I hated myself though, and I couldn’t respect anyone who treated me with respect.

In the aftermath of Gayle’s death I learned a devastating family secret that sent my mind reeling – I became completely unbalanced – and it took a long time for me to get things straight again.

Because, as I child, I was a “latchkey kid” with little or no adult supervision, I was pretty disgusting. I was extremely nearsighted and I wore thick glasses which were always dirty, my teeth were rotten, I always had a runny nose, and I often went unbathed for weeks. One day in school my nose dripped on my arm, and when I wiped it off I could see pink skin under the grey dirt. I licked my finger and I wrote my name on my arm. It seemed like nobody cared about me.  Except for my sister Gayle. Whenever we visited her she took care of me.  I remember her bathing me and scrubbing my scalp until it burned. She made me feel like a normal human and I adored her.

After my stepfather died, we moved to Greeley, where Gayle lived with her firefighter husband, and their three kids. I admired they way she did everything. She was an excellent seamstress, and she made beautiful things with beads. She decorated Christmas stockings for all of us, with beaded snowmen, candy canes, snowflakes and such. Her whole life was about making beautiful things and taking care of her family. I knew she had been married when she was only 14 years old, two years before I was born, and that she struggled with depression, but not much else about her life. She was pregnant with her oldest son at the same time my mother was pregnant with me, and she treated me like she treated her own children. She was a good mother.

The day before my fortieth birthday my mom and I talked with Gayle on the phone. It was not an eventful conversation, we talked about kids and family and she wished me a happy birthday. The next day she got up and cleaned her house, packed boxes of keepsakes for my sisters, and then she asphyxiated herself in her garage.

“Time really, then, goes backward to an instant so ancient that it is beyond all memory and past even the possibility of remembering. Yet because it is an instant that is relived again and again and still again, it seems to be now.” – ACIM Manual for Teachers

Look for Part Two next week – please feel free to subscribe and you will get future posts in your email.

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book God is Free – Everything I know so far… 

 

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My Extraordinary Birth (how I learned about death and life)

Image result for death pratchettMy mother died on the day I was born. 

In 1953, as a divorced woman with children, she had to do many things to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.  She was, by many accounts, the town “tramp”. She worked as a waitress and bartender and any other job she could get in our tiny mountain town.  My father was a mining engineer who was on a project at the local mine.  He was a married man with a family elsewhere.  There was no chance he would leave his family for her, and soon after she found out she was expecting me, he left town.

She was thirty-six years old and she had five children.  I was not good news.  My brother and sisters were ashamed of their lives, their whore of a mother and their abusive, alcoholic father.  How could they help but be ashamed of me? She had tried to abort me by whittling a slippery elm twig to a point and inserting it into her cervix. This was a common practice in those days when an unwanted pregnancy could determine a woman’s fate.  I was stubborn though, and I wouldn’t come out.  I waited until a snowy day in February to make my debut.  It was a difficult labor, and she began to hemorrhage.  They rushed her to Colorado General Hospital, forty miles away, and as they wheeled her into the emergency room her life was quickly slipping away.

She woke up to find herself hovering above the bed, as the doctors worked frantically to save her life.  She saw me being wrapped in a blanket and whisked away by a nurse.  She watched the doctors working to revive her dying body.  It was a teaching hospital, and many of the doctors seemed to speak in several different languages.  She could hear them and she understood them all completely.  She was in a calm and peaceful place and she watched without fear or concern.

Floating above the scene, she could also see into other rooms as though there were no walls.  In the room next door there was a woman who had been in an auto accident.  Her neck was bleeding, and the nurse working on her had some blood on her right pinky finger.

Suddenly, my mother’s attention was drawn back to her own body, and the work the doctors were doing.  Her blood pressure had dropped to zero and her heart had ceased to beat.  She had IVs in her arms and they were giving her CPR, they were frantically trying to jump start her system.  Then, she saw me.  Not the body of Lyn, but the Being of me.  She knew she wanted to hold me.  Without hesitation, she came back.  She refused to die and leave me motherless.

I was born at 12:53pm on a Monday. I had a large strawberry mark on my left ear and neck, and one on my right pinky finger.  Mom told me that I was marked because she had seen the accident victim’s blood from her vantage point hovering over the neighboring room.  I believed all this story without question, and even though I hated the birthmark, it proved to me that the veil between the world of life and death is very thin, and that one could move in and out of it if they really wanted to.  Later, when I began to have frequent “out of body” episodes, I was never afraid.  I thought it was natural to move in and out of the world at will.  I was puzzled as to why other kids couldn’t.  To me it was like I had a super power, removing me from harmful and frightening situations whenever I needed it to. I depended on that power to protect me.  I needed it.

The miraculous story of my birth was a common topic of conversation when I was a child. The mystery of how a mother can see something, like the blood on the neck and finger, and “imprint” it on her baby at birth, was fascinating to me.  As an adult and a scientist, I would tell you it is not possible, but as a child and a Mystic, I knew that it was.

This all happened back in 1953.  Stories of Near Death Experiences (NDE) were seldom heard.  My mother had never heard of someone dying and returning back to life, but she told the story often.  She did not see angels, or dead relatives, or anything else.  What she did see and hear was obviously amazing enough – she saw through walls and understood conversations in languages she did not know.  Right around the same time I was born in Idaho Springs Colorado, a housewife named Virginia Tighe in Pueblo Colorado was revealing a past life in Ireland to a local amateur hypnotist.  The story of Tighe’s past life as an Irish woman named Bridey Murphy became a huge sensation.  My mother had seen that death was not the end, and she taught me that we live on.

Of course, today with the famous stories of Anita Moorjani and Dr Eben Alexander and many more, the belief in the continuance of life after the death of the body is widely accepted, and yet most people I know are afraid of death.  What is it that we really are afraid of? For as long as we have lived on Earth, death has been a factor in our lives.  Death is the price we pay for living in a body.  Is the gift we receive worth the price? A Course in Miracles talks about death in not so glowing terms:

“Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. 2 Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? 3 We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully. 4 It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. 5 This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life. 6 The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path, -all this is taken as the Will of God. 7 And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.” (A Course in Miracles Manual for Teachers M-27.1.)

In my young life I saw death often enough. Animals and old people died and that was natural.  It did seem cruel to me that my dog got run over by the snowplow, but I got over it pretty quickly.

The first time I saw a real person die it was spectacular.

One evening when I was nine years old, my parents and I had gone out for ice cream.  We were driving down Harrison Avenue, the main street in Leadville, ice cream in hand when suddenly, a building exploded right in front of us.  Three flaming men came flying out through a big showroom window and landed in front of our car.  One of the burning men was screaming for his mother.  I was so surprised that a grown man would call for his mother and it filled me with terror.  My parents pulled out the blankets we used to cover the seats in our car and tried to smother the flames.  A police car was right behind us and the police officers jumped out and helped.  Ambulances and fire trucks arrived, and we parked the car around the corner and walked back to watch.  Soon the whole town had come out and we watched as the building, which had been an auto show room, burned to the ground.  That was the first time I witnessed human death.  It was terrifying.  The fire burned on into the night and it was the talk of the town for years to come.

I never talked about that night. It seemed like such a strange coincidence that we were there at that very instant.  I never told anyone that I was there, and I saw it all, but I thought and dreamed about burning in fire like Joan of Arc.  She was my favorite Saint and I had often imagined what her last moments had been like.  Had God given her some special dispensation of no suffering, like Jesus?  Or did she scream out for her mother when the pain became unbearable?  At that moment, I became afraid of death…. not really death itself, but everything that happens beforehand… that became a passion for a mind that was curious about God.

As a child, I was keenly aware of the irony of the church’s role in persecuting Joan.  I saw how their terror at the power of her pure and mystical heart exceeded their fear of hell.  I, too heard voices and saw visions.  Once, when I about six years old, I was kneeling in the Sanctuary, looking up at Jesus, hanging on the cross all bedraggled and sad looking.  On His brow was the crown of thorns, blood trickling down his face, His hands and feet pierced by the cruel nails, His side dripping with blood from a huge gash.  As I gazed at His face, He turned His head and looked back at me.  He smiled and He winked. I smiled back and I knew that He was okay.  At that moment I realized that it was all a joke, that He was not hurt at all.  I knew then that my mother’s story was true, and death was not real.  God really did love me, and, as the quote from ACIM states, “The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path, -all this is taken as the Will of God. 7 And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.”  Manual for Teachers M-27.1. That was a question that I did ask, and the answer was always a big No.

“There is one life, and that I share with God.  There are not different kinds of life, for life is like the truth. It does not have degrees. It is the one condition in which all that God created share. Like all His Thoughts, it has no opposite. There is no death because what God created shares His life. There is no death because an opposite to God does not exist. There is no death because the Father and the Son are One.”  A Course in Miracles – Lesson 167

Note: This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “GOD IS FREE (Everything I know so far…) Please Subscribe to this blog and stay tuned for more.

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What Could You Not Accept? (Part 2)

This was a crazy experiment in life.  Did I do the right thing?  Would I ever be happy when my heart was breaking every day? Could I overcome my fears and insecurities? Could I live with the jealousy that was destroying my peace? – Here is part 2 of our story.

Eventually Brenda did move in with us. She slept in our bed. At first it was quite awkward. I felt like I was drowning much of the time, and I cried a lot. I still thought about suicide frequently and I eventually told my doctor who prescribed Zoloft and Elavil. I didn’t tell her what the problem was, but I had begun to have panic attacks and I just wanted to not exist anymore. I was terrified. My imagination was insane and it came up with stories that tore me apart. I imagined them cuddling and making love in the morning after I had left for work and my day was ruined. I imagined that when they were at work together they were finding ways to get together, just like I imagined they did before she moved in. I imagined so many things that sometimes I was completely insane and almost unable to think. If not for the teachings of the Course, I would have completely lost it. But my mind was set on Awakening from the dream of separation. Intellectually I knew that this was a gift and a lesson.

I used everything as much as I could to look at my insane thoughts and beliefs, and it began to work. I began to see the power of forgiveness and trusted it could heal my mind.

I had a lot to learn about forgiveness, and now I was in a real emotional pressure cooker. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I was confident that there was a purpose that I did not understand. This was not the first time I did something insane because I felt guided to do so by some unseen benevolent force. My long time relationship with Jesus gave me confidence that all would be perfect. My ego told me that it was going to be hard and that I was going to be mistreated. Many times I listened to that voice and it made me miserable. Until I understood why I wanted to be miserable, I nursed my wounded heart with a poison tonic.

“Healing is accomplished the instant the sufferer no longer sees any value in pain. 2 Who would choose suffering unless he thought it brought him something, and something of value to him? 3 He must think it is a small price to pay for something of greater worth. 4 For sickness is an election; a decision. 5 It is the choice of weakness, in the mistaken conviction that it is strength”. – ACIM Manual for Teachers M-5.I.1.

By realizing that I really do have a choice, always, to see through the eyes of a forgiven mind, I began to recognize the opportunities I had to give up the value I perceived in the world and its rules. I saw very clearly that everything I had ever believed was a rule or a boundary on truth was something I made up, a story in my mind, and that I do not need to suffer because of an idea I hold in my mind as true. Of course, now things are much different than they were that Spring over thirteen years ago. We went through a lot of crap together, and much of it was not pretty. In case you don’t know me, I have a volatile temper. My parents called it Irish, my astrologer says it is a conjunct Mars and Venus in Aries. I can turn murderous in a flash, and when I do, look out!! She was almost always sweet and sorry, and I couldn’t be mad at her for long. She was so kind and forgiving of my every upset. It drove me crazy!!! I begged the Holy Spirit to help me get over it and to move on.

It was a lesson in forgiveness, to give my brothers the freedom to love each other and me in whatever way it came to them to do so. That I decided not to restrict love and set it free. At the time it seemed like a bargain made to set me free. I didn’t do it willingly, I really didn’t want to do it at all. But I felt I had no choice. How could I deny love a place? I imagined something would happen from this, but I could not imagine what it would be. Thank God for my curious nature and my absolute (albeit it wrong minded) faith that if I do what God asks, then I will be rewarded. Every time I thought that should just kill myself, I reminded myself that the goal is salvation and that I had a lot in my hands as a savior of the world. Yes, I realize how silly that reasoning seems now, but at the time, this is how I was able to do something that seemed very outrageous. I believed that I could accept something painful without resistance and, in exchange, I would eventually see the Truth.

We worked together to do many things. I helped her go back to school to get two degrees, graduating with honors. She helped me through a devastating accident, two surgeries to repair a broken knee and several surgeries to repair a detached retina. The retina failed and I lost total vision in that eye. She stood with me and nursed me through it all. I don’t know what I would have done without her. Through ups and downs, we are still together, more open, more loving, and freer. Every day I am presented with many opportunities to look at my thoughts.

Every day I have the opportunity to join with a brother in love and we continue to set each other free.

This is a powerful lesson in forgiveness that started with a real grievance, a story of anger and revenge because Brenda made a mistake. Louis may eventually have considered giving up the grievance without my encouragement, I can never know. What I do know is something that I have long known. Whenever someone opens their heart to another in an effort to open true communication, and the other is open to accept the communication and forgive the grievance, the only possible result is love. It is human nature for us to love one another. Grievances prevent us from acting out of our true nature of Love, that is why they hurt us. The pain can be masked and hidden by projecting it out into the world, but that only adds more pain into the world. Louis chose to forgive Brenda, he opened his heart to her. Her choice to respond with an open heart opened a channel of communication that had been impossible. Because both of them were open to a new possibility, a relationship grew. It may be that for them, the only way that relationship could express was through intimacy. What other form of expression could they imagine? It makes sense, but that is a guess and a story on my part too. How can I really know how or why this relationship expressed the way it did? All I know is that my guidance was to let them be as they were and not restrict them by my own judgment and determination of how that love should be expressed.

I decided to let them be free, and to free myself from the rules of the world that had been made up to protect the ego’s brand of love. To say the least, this was not easy. Most days I felt like Lucy Ricardo frantically trying to control a process she had no skills to manage. Sometimes I was so angry and hurt, I wanted to die and I prayed for a way to keep this misery from killing me. Other times I was so happy and joyful about the ways my life had changed. I truly did love Brenda and I was so happy to have a friend who was playful and fun to be around.

It was a daily struggle for my conflicted mind. Just watching the two of them working on something together, being playful, laughing and joking made me want to die. I felt left out, and yet it was my own decision not to join and instead to be angry and hurt. Ego told me I deserved to feel bad and I could punish them through my anger. That only hurt me. They were having fun and I was not because I had two minds telling me what was right, and they didn’t agree at all. I was having fun by being angry, I was enjoying my victimhood, and I was plotting my revenge. This conflict took a long time and many lessons for me to overcome.

I would like to say I was gracious and loving through the process, but that would not be true.

Recently I asked Brenda about that time. I wondered how she had stayed so positive through it all and she gave me the most surprising answer. She said, “I felt like being around you was magical. You were such an incredible person to me and I loved everything about you. I just wanted to be with your magical being.” That amazed me, and I remembered a time when I too, had known an amazing person who was magical to me. I realized that I would have given that person anything to be able stay with them. The longing to be with that person was beyond love and romance, it was a real spiritual relationship. I had recognized that with Brenda and I felt a great responsibility to help her.  As I helped her and joined with her in purpose, a great love began to grow. That love continues to this moment, and I am grateful for her sweet and open heart and her willingness to look at love and life in a different way.

I look at these insane lessons and I am so grateful. The peace and joy I experience today is whole and constant. What I imagined would kill me, what I thought I could not endure, what “no sane woman would ever put up with” became the greatest lesson I could ever have asked for. The thing that was the source of my greatest fear in this world was the thought that I was not lovable. I really did not know what love was. I had built a box that I called love and I defined it with the stories the world told me. I realized that what I called “love” was a trap. Once I went into that box and closed the door, I was not available for anything else. My job became guarding the door and punishing anyone who tried to get out of that box. I escaped, and yet the guard still tries to capture me and lock me back up.

For a short time, when I began to write this story, I became upset and afraid when I remembered the feelings I experienced back then. It was interesting to see how I could begin, again, to believe I was a victim and that I was being mistreated. I began to look for examples of that mistreatment and I found them!! I had about two hours of hell before I came to my senses and saw what I was doing. I was surprised to see how easily I let that happen by remembering stories of the past. I also saw that there was still some resentment in my mind and still a lot of work for me to do to truly forgive this world. As my beloved teacher Nisargadatta Maharaj said “I am not interested in what you have let go of, but what you are still holding onto.” I am so grateful for this mirror to look at my mind. I asked for this healing, and it has been given to me in the form of a relationship. What a gift.

What would I say to the Lyn of 13 years ago, or a year ago, or even of yesterday? She had some limited ideas and seriously wrong minded thinking. Beliefs change moment by moment – they are never true, but being open to examine those beliefs, to question their reality and to seek correction… that is all we can hope for.  What happened in the past is not happening now – even if it happened a minute ago or years ago – it is not happening now. The problem about remembering the past is that, unless my mind is healed, every time I bring it up, it hurts me again.   I can bring up some perceived injustice from the past, and I can choose to feel like it is happening now, activating the past in the moment and projecting my suffering into the future. “I will never get over this” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – I will not get over it as long as I choose to keep being the victim of the injustice.

Even in my the most chaotic circumstance, I still have a choice about what I want to think. Characters in the dream “do bad things” sometimes – after something terrible has been done to me, I still have a choice about how to see it. If I feel it has hurt me, I can choose to let it stop hurting me anytime I want to. If I want to continue to be hurt by what happened, I can go into endless stories about how it happened, why it happened, who did it to me, how painful it is, I can choose victimization and grief, OR I can choose to let go of the grief and stop bringing it back to my memory.

“Decision cannot be difficult.  This is obvious, if you realize that you must already have decided not to be wholly joyous if that is how you feel.  Therefore, the first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise.  Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there.  Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace.  Say this to yourself as sincerely as you can, remembering that the Holy Spirit will respond fully to your slightest invitation:

I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace.  I made the decision myself, but I can also decide otherwise.  I want to decide otherwise, because I want to be at peace. I do not feel guilty, because the Holy Spirit will undo all the consequences of my wrong decision if I will let Him.  I choose to let Him, by allowing Him to decide for God for me.” (ACIM T-5.VII.6)

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “God is Free”.  Stay tuned for more…….

 

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What Could You Not Accept? Part 1

The cast of the movie “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin

“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” Richard Bach

This is a true tale. It is not heartwarming, earth shattering, exciting or inspiring. In fact, many people find this story shocking, scandalous and sacrilegious.  It is my profound experience of the power of forgiveness. (some names have been changed to protect the innocent)

I suggest you take a moment and ask for the presence of mind to suspend judgment and remain in a loving heart space. You will need it if you want to understand my story about the miracle that continues to set me free.

My partner Louis worked as a network and database manager at a medical facility for children. He is a skilled programmer, and he had been building a complex database that would help the center manage the details of the children’s treatment plans and generate reports. He had been working on this for several months, and had finally gotten the system up and ready to run. He was doing a final “save” of the program, overwriting the trial program. At the same time, an electrical contractor had come to the facility to perform some type of work. He wanted to shut the power down, but he was asked to wait until the program was saved. The secretary called down to ask my husband how long it would be. He told her it would take about a half an hour. Thirty minutes later, she told the electrician to go ahead and shut the power down. It was too soon, the program was not saved, it became corrupted and destroyed months of my husband’s hard work.

He was furious!!!!

For weeks, all I heard was complaints about Brenda. He hated her, thought she was the stupidest person on the planet, wished horrible things on her – every day he had a story about her. It made me sad that he was so angry with her. She was a sweet and beautiful girl. I liked her quite a bit, and I felt bad for her because I knew how mean he could be if he was mad. I don’t know why, but I talked to him one day and I asked him to please forgive her. I don’t remember what I said, but for some reason, he listened to me.

It wasn’t long before he started telling me about their developing friendship, and I was glad. I felt proud of myself for helping him change his mind about a woman that he had just recently wished was dead. Soon they started eating lunch together every day, and when I baked cookies or something special I would send some in his lunch for her.
One night he and I were talking in bed. He said, “Poor Brenda, she is having such a hard time, I wish she could move in here.” I looked at him like he was crazy and I asked him where she would sleep. He patted his side of the bed and said, “Right here.”

 I felt like I had been kicked by a horse!!

I was stunned!! My world spun into a deep abyss, just like it did when my sister died. I wanted to leave, to run away, to just not be here anymore. How could I escape the terror that struck my heart?

My heart was broken. For months we argued about it. I was dead set against it and he insisted. He said he loved her and that was killing me. It was as if all of my conflicting thoughts and philosophies had been energized by the level of fear I was experiencing. I felt betrayed, even though, conceptually, I didn’t believe in betrayal. I believed that we are not separate individuals and that it was natural for us to love each other equally. It was an amazing and confusing state, constantly arguing with myself about what it was I really thought was true. If you ever wonder what you really believe is true, ask yourself an impossible question and see how you feel. “What if my husband falls in love with another woman?” is not a question I wanted to entertain.

The concept was terrifying, but why?

I had just started studying A Course in Miracles, and I knew without a doubt that it was true. (As when I was a young girl arguing why the Catholic church was the only true Christianity, or why my teacher was right, I still retained my zealous defense of the thought system I believed in.) I knew that I was wrong to be upset, I knew that it was wrong to deny love, I knew it was none of my business who he loved because I believed that it was not natural for humans to be monogamous. When I was younger I was greatly inspired by the book “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A. Heinlein. Many of my friends became my “Water Brother” and I dreamed of a utopian life where everybody loved each other equally, wholly, and completely. I had these open minded and loving beliefs, and yet I was going insane from jealousy. I was drowning in terror.

Every waking moment I wanted to die.

Looking back, I see that my reaction was greatly influenced by thoughts that I had learned from the world. I had not chosen to believe through my own reasoning, I had not asked why they were valid. I thought that what the world was telling me was real and important was actually MY OWN belief about what was real and important. I had questioned so much of my thinking about things that really didn’t affect me, or that were easy and politically correct for me to question. In a conceptual way I had agreed that people should be free to love whomever they find to love. If it had been someone else I would have consoled them and helped them to question their thoughts about it. But this was my life, my partner, my love. My heart was broken. How could I live with that?

I didn’t give myself any good advice. I never questioned my belief in the sanctity of my relationship with him. I never imagined that he was looking to someone else for relationship, that he wanted or needed more than I was giving him, or whatever other crap I was telling myself. Believe me, I was telling myself every story I could think of, the more painful, the better. I wallowed in grief, I had every reason to be heartbroken, and on and on it went. As I continued to read and try to practice the workbook lessons of ACIM, I was getting daily, practical lessons in giving up judgment and practicing forgiveness.
Forgiveness seemed impossible to understand when I was so angry. I was not aware that I had a choice about this that didn’t involve sacrifice on my part. I didn’t see how giving up my claim to victimhood would result in justice for something that was so obviously wrong.

I didn’t see that so many of my ideas of what was right and wrong were just ideas. I couldn’t see how my beliefs were all based on an idea of a world in which love is special and there are some with whom you share special love some with whom you do not. The belief that giving love to some diminished the amount of love you have available, is a belief that love is so limited that it has to be guarded and protected through whatever means is necessary. Every book or movie I ever saw affirmed that to me. You had to fight for your man, true love conquered all, eventually the pirate returns as her true love and they lived happily ever after. None of them said your husband of over 30 years would fall in love with another woman and the woman your husband is in love with will move in to become a second wife.

Normal people just don’t do that.

Sometimes I was beyond myself in fear and grief. I was having other problems too, I was under a lot of stress from my job and my life seemed to be crumbling.  I called out to a stranger for advice. Even though I was new to A Course in Miracles, I had joined two Yahoo groups, The Disappearance of the Universe and The Peace of God. David Fishman ran the Peace of God site and he had put his phone number on the page. I called him up. I told him my situation and I waited for the sympathy to pour out. Instead, he asked me one simple question,

“Have you asked the Holy Spirit about this?”

I was stunned – a light came on – I had not asked the Holy Spirit for anything but to make it go away. Just like when my step dad was dying and I was saying hundreds of rosaries, night and day, I was begging God to make it go away. I was never asking to see what it was for. I never thought that the things that happened to me in my life were purposive and exactly reflected the lessons I need to learn. I had learned concepts and I tried to use them to explain things, but I never thought they were actually explaining something to me. The hidden fears and guilt in my mind were being displayed in living color, but I saw it as an attack on my being.

I didn’t understand the lesson I was being shown, and I was suffering because of that.

Upon reflection later, I realized that I had asked before to be shown the errors in my thinking, and when a perfect school and mirror showed up, I fell apart.

Recognize what does not matter, and if your brothers ask you for something “outrageous,” do it because it does not matter. 2 Refuse, and your opposition establishes that it does matter to you. 3 It is only you, therefore, who have made the request outrageous, and every request of a brother is for you. 4 Why would you insist in denying him? 5 For to do so is to deny yourself and impoverish both. 6 He is asking for salvation, as you are. 7 Poverty is of the ego, and never of God. 8 No “outrageous” requests can be made of one who recognizes what is valuable and wants to accept nothing else. (T-12.III.4.)

I realized that to Louis and Brenda, to be together was a form of salvation. If I believed this Course was true, why did I insist on believing that anything was more important than to be giving them salvation? I had taken the Bodhisattva Oath at an early age, Jesus Himself had asked me to help Him save the world and I had said yes. I never knew how I would do that, but now I was being given a chance to do just that, to save the world. How could I refuse?

At the time I thought I was being some kind of a hero. I thought it was a sacrifice that I was giving up something in order to make him happy. All the while I was getting to know her, getting to know her family, to see if we could get along. It turned out that we did got along really well. As we became friends, I began to see that it might not be such a bad idea after all. Eventually I said yes. Thus began a crazy experiment in life, could I do what I believed was the right thing, even when my heart was breaking every day? Could I overcome my fears and insecurities? Could I live with the jealousy that was destroying my peace?

There were many twists and turns that eventually led to the restoration of my peace, follow this blog for rest of this story………

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book God is Free – Everything I know so far… 

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Bridging the Gap – for the Good of the One

It only takes One

That One is you/me. The wonderful thing about the teachings of Jesus in A Course in Miracles is that he reminds me that my brother and I are One Being, One Son of God, who is healed wholly when I am wholly healed.  Knowing our shared needs, is knowing that the only thing that stands between us is a tiny gap that can be bridged by a simple act of loving kindness.  It is just being open to see that my interests and my brother’s are the same.  A single act of kindness can end a war.

“To heal is the only kind of thinking in this world that resembles the Thought of God, and because of the elements they share, can transfer easily to it. 2 When a brother perceives himself as sick, he is perceiving himself as not whole, and therefore in need. 3 If you, too, see him this way, you are seeing him as if he were absent from the Kingdom or separated from it, thus making the Kingdom itself obscure to both of you. 4 Sickness and separation are not of God, but the Kingdom is. 5 If you obscure the Kingdom, you are perceiving what is not of God.” (T-7.II.1.)

“To heal, then, is to correct perception in your brother and yourself by sharing the Holy Spirit with him. 2 This places you both within the Kingdom, and restores its wholeness in your mind. 3 This reflects creation, because it unifies by increasing and integrates by extending. 4 What you project or extend is real for you. 5 This is an immutable law of the mind in this world as well as in the Kingdom.” (T-7.II.2.)

In other words, I am made whole and healed by changing my own perception of my brother, by seeing him as whole and one with God. I do not need to explain this to him, he does not need to understand it. He does not need to cooperate, or want it or anything else. It is all up to me, and through the miracle of my own changed mind, I have healed the world.

It is all up to me, and through the miracle of my own changed mind, I have healed the world. 

“When you heal, that is exactly what you are learning. 2 You are recognizing the changeless mind in your brother by realizing that he could not have changed his mind. 3 That is how you perceive the Holy Spirit in him. 4 It is only the Holy Spirit in him that never changes His Mind. 5 He himself may think he can, or he would not perceive himself as sick. 6 He therefore does not know what his Self is. 7 If you see only the changeless in him you have not really changed him. 8 By changing your mind about his for him, you help him undo the change his ego thinks it has made in him. “ (T-7.V.8.)

 

The Good of the One

Think about someone you love.  What is it you see in them that fills your heart with joy? Is it their sweet nature or inviting smile? Is it their open heart and willingness to share?

Now think about someone you don’t like so much.  What is it in them that fills your heart with pain? Are they depressed and self-involved?  Are they short tempered? Do you feel judged and diagnosed, like nothing you do can ever live up to their expectations?

In both cases, it is “ego” looking through an ego lens an another “ego”.  A dreamer, dreaming a dream of differences and competition.  Dreamers relating in a dream to an idea that has replaced the Truth.

Everything I see when I look at you is a reflection of a thought in my own mind.  It cannot be anything else, because my thoughts are my own. No one is in my mind telling me things about you, I am making it all up in accordance with the rules of the thought system I choose.  The ego thought system tells me that you are different than  me, and I need to protect and defend myself from you.  Spirit tells me that you are the same thing as I am, and that I can trust you.  My reaction to you shows which thought system I am listening to.  If I see that we are the same, I know that when I help you, I help myself.  This is why the good of the One outweighs the good of the many.  “When I am healed, I am not healed alone”  is not just a nice idea – it is a fact.

Like you, your brother thinks he is a dream. 2 Share not in his illusion of himself, for your Identity depends on his reality. 3 Think, rather, of him as a mind in which illusions still persist, but as a mind which brother is to you. 4 He is not brother made by what he dreams, nor is his body, “hero” of the dream, your brother. 5 It is his reality that is your brother, as is yours to him. 6 Your mind and his are joined in brotherhood. 7 His body and his dreams but seem to make a little gap, where yours have joined with his. – A Course in Miracles – T-28.IV.3.

This is why the good of the One outweighs the good of the many.  “When I am healed, I am not healed alone”  is not just a nice idea – it is a fact. 

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