Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Power of Seem

Webster defines “seem” as “to present the appearance of being” or “to be only in appearance but not reality”. Everything here seems, and nothing here is as it seems. The ego seems. Forgiveness seems. Even our favorite blue book seems. Remember, everything we perceive has the purpose that we give it. It neither is reality nor points to reality. It merely reflects our will.

“Seem” is the difference between freedom and prison. As we walk along our path, we often begin to recognize the illusory nature of the world, our perceptions, and even time and space. This is often useful freeing us from pain and unhappiness, and it is also often terrifying imprisoning us to a dream of attack and guilt. Like everything else in our experience, the power of decision is ours – heaven or hell, forgiveness or attack, crucifixion or redemption – and how easily we can make one seem like the other.

“Seem” is the power that turns the heavy burden of guilt into the freedom of forgiveness. “Seem” is the change of purpose that turns attack into a call for help, a call for Love. “Seem” is the reminder that truth can have no opposite - that a little bit of falsity is impossible if truth is true. “Seem” is the teacher that demonstrates that not only is the dream not what we think it is but even the motivation behind the dream is impossible. “Seem” is the peace that surrenders form to changed content. “Seem” is a door taking us beyond itself.

Spend some time with “seem” today. It will seem to take you home; it will remind you that you never left.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why didn't I think of that?!

Another one of my favorite teachers sprung an analogy on me this week that I hadn’t considered. And of course, as a practicing fisherman, I couldn’t believe that it had never occurred to me! I love it.

We were discussing what the experience of changed mind (forgiveness) was like. He was describing how he saw the symbols – the people, actions, etc. – that used to cause him pain, fear, irritation, etc. He said that he still saw these symbols during his day but that the hook didn’t set as often anymore. Brilliant.

For those of you who aren’t of the cult of casting and reeling, setting the hook is the act one initiates when a fish takes the bait. If you don’t set the hook, the bait is just spit out or is pulled free as you try to reel in the fish.

Remember, forgiveness doesn’t remove or change the form that you see; forgiveness transforms the meaning, the purpose, of the form. You may still recognize the “hooks” that used to reel you in to depression, panic, jealousy, anger, etc., but they don’t set. Why? Because you no longer are willing to give them the power of your mind. You are the fishermen, perhaps the fisher of men, and you are also the fish. You get to decide the purpose of the hook. Does it bring you pain, suffering, and sadness, or does it reconnect you to yourself. Symbol’s the same; the content has changed. As goes the content, so goes your experience.

Reel in your Self today.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Problem with Addiction

Much has been written. Much hashed and rehashed. So many of us have expended so much energy trying to understand, control, and eliminate these so-called destructive behaviors that we call “addictions”. So often we ask Jesus, God, or the Universe to take them away. So often we teach our students that addiction is a choice and that acting from addiction is wrong. How blinded we are to own.

As ACIM students, we must be vigilant against the temptation to perceive worldly addictions (drinking, gambling, gluttony, smoking, drugs, sex etc.) as different from our own...unless one of them happens to be our own! Our addiction, though, is never to these forms. Our addiction is to the teacher that has convinced us that these behaviors are the problem.

First, we must recognize that sometimes understanding, controlling or eliminating a destructive behavior can be very useful. Sometimes we must curtail our drinking, gambling, etc. in order to clear our thinking enough to even consider that there must be another way; however, as students of ACIM, we must quickly recognize that these behaviors were never the problem.
Our addiction is to the world, not the booze, not the royal flush. Our addiction is to the real problem, the decision to listen to the ego’s interpretation of the tiny mad idea (attack).

Every thing here is an addiction. The belief that there are some behaviors that are “wrong” and some that are not is part of the insanity that keeps us rooted in our singular addiction. We certainly don’t invest the energy and concern trying to heal ourselves from our addiction to air, yet it serves the same purpose in our mind. What folly to follow the teacher that tells us that we should eliminate addiction from our lives and takes another breath. What hypocrisy! What hypocrisy indeed. The teacher of addiction is the thought of hypocrisy, so we shouldn’t be too surprised.

We return to this teacher every minute of every day believing that our safety lies with him, as we take another drink to take the edge off, look to the inside straight to supply the rush or give us hope, or take another breath believing our life depends on it. No, it isn’t the booze, and it isn’t the cards. Our addiction is to a teacher, and that teacher is a substitute. We believe that without this teacher’s counsel that we’ll surely perish. Remember to laugh, my friends, remember to laugh.

So, on your next breath, use it as it is meant to used. Allow this breath to be the reminder that you need do nothing to be what you are. Allow this breath to be the reminder that the power of addiction is no match for the power of decision. Allow this breath to remind you that attack is impossible and that guilt is never justified. Now, you are using addiction as it was intended. Now, you have chosen the Teacher who represents our True Addiction. Now, you remember no need.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seek and Do Not Find

What is it that you seek? Most of us just want to be happy…at least that’s what we think we want. The problem is that we seek for that happiness where it cannot be found. We seek for health, wealth, and love in a world made to keep these out. We wander this desert like nomads seeking water from a mirage to quench our thirst. Think about your life; think about your day. What have you found? What hasn’t changed or won’t change? What hasn’t failed or won’t fail? What hasn’t been lost? The breath you just took wasn’t enough. The rest that you found last night isn’t enough this evening. The love of your spouse yesterday wasn’t enough for today. So, we seek more. This is the promise of the ego thought system. It is the one promise that it keeps: Seek and do not find.

The reason is obvious when you stop to look, but you do have to look. The ego is an attack thought. Unable to love, the ego would be meaningless in love’s presence, so by definition, it cannot find what we really seek. We are left in the seemingly untenable position of seeking what we believe would destroy us. Love has become a Medusa-like thought upon which we must never look. The only option, then, is to distort love into something upon which we can look, something upon which the ego can survive. And that’s what we do. We seek love in attack, and we find it in sacrifice. Think about the world’s idea of love. We demonstrate the depth of our love by what we are willing to give up. Love becomes a bargain, and we barter for our lives. The martyr is revered. Sacrifice, divine.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this seemingly inescapable loop of doom! The solution is looking - recognizing that what we seek isn’t out there. We are what we seek. We’ve just forgotten what we are. As long as we keep looking without, we’ll never look within, which means we aren’t really looking.

We are indeed nomads, but of course, it isn’t the water for which we thirst. The water is but a substitute. The air is a substitute. All of it is a substitute. Not what we truly seek, these flimsy substitutions never quench our thirst. We’re stuck on a hamster wheel, too afraid to stop. The seeker can never find until he/she is willing to stop the wheel. Looking stops the wheel, and Forgiveness is looking. Forgiveness changes the purpose of the world we see and the eyes with which we see it. Forgiveness reflects what was never lost, and our frantic search disappears into the nothingness from which it sprang. Forgiveness is that for which we thirst, and it is that which reminds us that we were never thirsty.

Geez, these pretzels are making me thirsty. Gotta go get a drink….Cheers!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today We Remember

In a tiny instant of madness, terror seemed to take the place of Love. Crucifixion seemed to have meaning. Wholeness seemed but a dream.

Imprisoned by fear, we but continue to forget. That’s all.

Today We Remember.

Today we remember that Love casts out all fear. Today we remember that attack has no real effect. Today we remember the Self that seemed but a dream.

Resurrection is remembering. It is the undoing of guilt that shines away all pain, all suffering, and all terror. In an instant of decision, the memory of Love, undivided, resurrects in a mind willing and free. Resurrection is the dawning on your mind of what is already in it.

Happy Easter Everybody.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Problem with Your Brother

And by “brother”, I mean brother, sister, mother, father, spouse, friend, neighbor, stranger, etc. The problem with anyone is yours. Doesn’t matter if we are talking about the girl who cut you off in traffic, the guy who stole your car, or the person at work who is just plain ol’ irritating. Our problem is that we can’t see them. We can’t see them, because we see the world through a lens of judgment that hides the truth about everyone. In effect, the world that we see is the denial of truth. We are like children with the covers pulled over our head hoping that the monsters won’t find us.

ACIM says that Miracles are merely the translation of denial into truth. Of course! Our healing comes when we are no longer willing to lie about each other, no longer willing to lie to ourselves, and no longer willing to believe that there is safety in either. Forgiveness is the denial of the denial of truth. Rather than hiding from it, forgiveness gives us eyes to see it.

Whatever the problem, there is but one solution. Our problem with our brother is our own. We will be made whole as we make whole. We make whole by looking - not by hiding. Giving up the distorted lens of fear, hatred, and attack, we see the call for love that resides behind every problem, behind every brother. See your brother truly and recognize yourself. T.12.II.2.9 To perceive the healing of your brother as the healing of yourself is thus the way to remember God.

Before we awaken, we have to take off the covers.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tofu or not tofu? That is the question!

Ever had hot dog tofu? Me either. Who knew it even existed? I mean, wow. Little did I expect the lesson that it conceals.

Recently, our good friend Bob shared how working with ACIM has been leading him to see the sameness of all of our problems and the sameness of his personal daily experiences. He has started seeing beyond varying forms to the singular content behind them all. It was a moving description. Then, he hit us with it….tofu. Bob turned bean curd into an unforgettable lesson in forgiveness. For this, we clearly owe our gratitude.

You see, it seems that tofu is not our Father’s tofu anymore. Some of us crazy kids have taken it to new levels. Apparently, there are flavors of tofu for every occasion and need….or seeming need. There are all manners of fruit flavors, meat flavors, and of course, the old standby - stinky tofu. There’s spicy Thai flavored tofu, portabella ham, spinach jalapeƱo, and shitake garlic flavored tofu. And yes, even hot dog tofu. As Bob so passionately exclaimed, “But it is all still tofu!”

Indeed it is. And such is the world. Nothing here is as it seems. Everything here is a cover, an interpretation, and interpretation is never reality. We are so lost in our myriad flavors that we’re no longer aware of their source. As such, we never respond to anything directly. We respond to what we think it is, and we justify our response based on something other than reality. We eat the hot dog flavored tofu and believe it is a hot dog.

Our judgment of each other is the means by which we keep this unreality in our awareness. We never see each other as we are, but rather as we need each other to be. We need each other to be the myriad flavors when in reality, the flavors are but a mask pulled over who we really are. We gladly don the masks terrified by what they obscure.

When we identify with our little buddy, the ego, (and we all do), we spend most every hour of every day analyzing our own distorted perceptions (the masks) in an attempt to demonstrate that we understand what we see, hear, and experience, never realizing that we are analyzing nothing but a flimsy veil, a trick-or-treaters masquerade .

T.12.I.3.3-5 Every loving thought is true (read: tofu). Everything else (read: flavors) is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes. Can anyone be justified in responding with anger to a brother’s plea for help?

Our call is but to recognize the flavors as what they are - our brother’s plea to remind him that he isn’t a hot dog. He, too, is tofu, just like you.

I gotta go eat.