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Extending Your Perception

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A Course in Miracles says we think we have many different problems but we really only have one, and that is our separation from God. Not that the separation really exists, but we think it does. And to the extent that we allow ourselves to be separate from one another, to that extent we feel separate from God.

On the level of Mind there’s only a vast sea of oneness, in which all of us are one with God and with each other. Every thought of attack, defense, blame, judgment, guilt, superiority, inferiority, whatever other walls the ego erects, keeps us from inner peace because it keeps us from our experience of the love that is who we are.

I had a healing session the other day where someone told me that I have to forgive everyone. Everyone. It has taken me on a journey facing my resistance to doing that. Who wants to forgive someone we just don’t like? But forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning. It just means realizing that the personality self is like a veil that stands before the light of who we truly are. That that’s the truth of other people and the truth of who we are as well.

It’s so exhausting, so embittering to carry around hate and judgement and blame. I find that in those moments when I achieve the realm of true forgiveness, I feel so much lighter and more relaxed. That doesn’t mean I agree with someone I didn’t agree with before. Forgiveness doesn’t destroy your brain cells or make you less intelligent. It doesn’t take away your passion to make the world a better place. But it takes you to a place beyond this world, and from there you can better heal it.

The Course says you can extend your perception beyond what your eyes can see, to what your heart knows to be true. And in closing the gap between yourself and another, you help heal the world by healing your mind.

I used to do an exercise in my seminars where I would ask people to think of  the person towards whom they had the greatest judgment, then we would do a meditation where you had to  wash that person’s feet.

Much to think about these days. Much to ponder, much to forgive, and much to do.

Contemplate More, React Less

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The writer’s life is by definition contemplative.

I have a book due at the end of next year, plus I’m about to do a regular twice-a-month column for a magazine. So it’s time to get my writer’s hat back onto my head.

The writer and activist inhabit different parts of the brain, yet in my case they feed off each other. I’m out there doing things I have written about, and I write about things that I learned because I’m out there doing them. I don’t think Americans do enough just sitting around doing nothing – and I’m not kidding.

The word contemplative shouldn’t only apply to some special retreat we go to. It should apply, I think, to a part of each day. We should “contemplate” more, so we’d react less. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal said “every problem in the world can be traced to man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

That’s why we’re mindless in places where we should be mindful. We’re lured to the periphery of things by so much false data, so much illusion and deception of the mortal ego, when all we have to do sometimes is simply sit there and come home to ourselves.

Stop spinning. Center. Gaze at a flower. Pray for peace. Be real with yourself.

It’s a blessing in disguise perhaps that we can’t do quite as much running around these days. Sometimes we’re like chickens running around with our heads chopped off, doing but hardly being.

And now, with the quarantine, there’s a lot less doing and perhaps there will be a lot more actual being. We need that, because we need a reset. We need to turn off our minds and turn them on again. So just “be” today.

More than anything else, just be. I will if you will.

The world could be a quieter place for all of us, and that would be good…

Resisting Hopelessness

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Today we are called to resist hopelessness.

It would be easy to slip into hopelessness now, to resign ourselves to the idea that the concentrated assaults on everything from the planet to our democracy have succeeded to such a degree that it’s no longer possible to stop them.

Yet it is exactly that hopelessness we must resist now, even more than we must resist the forces that seem so intent on bringing us down. Our hopelessness is only called for if in fact miracles are not possible, and because they are, there is no cause for hopelessness.

Hope springs eternal because life springs eternal, and life abounds with possibility. We have within us the capacity to change things, but only if we are willing to change ourselves. We have written the human story that now unfolds in front of us, and the only way we can change the story is if we are willing to rewrite it.

We wrote the story of a country that had everything, was given everything, was blessed beyond comprehension and yet chose to sell our souls to the highest dollar. We wrote the story of a country that put economics before love, sales before ethics, and our government on the bidding block. We wrote the story of a country that has treated the earth with lack of reverence, democracy as though we could take it for granted, and justice as though it only mattered if the issue was applying it to ourselves.

We wrote that story, and now we can write another one. But we can only do that if we are willing to recognize that all of us, to some degree, have been co-creators of the one we have now, atone for our heartlessness to each other and our arrogance before our Creator, and get to work on cleaning up this mess and re-creating the world.

Hope is a moral imperative, and cynicism is just an excuse for not helping. We have no choice but to recreate our civilization.

I know many of us feel the urgency of this moment, the radicalism at the heart of what we’re being called to do. For it is not incremental, it is a-historic; jumping out of the timeline of what is to be expected, off the scale in the amount of light it calls forth as much as political and weather storms are off the scale in terms of darkness.

This new world cannot be forced, any more than it can be rationally calculated; it can only be invoked into expression by the deepest kind of reverance. Invocation is the priest and priestess’ task, and that is what all of us are being called to be right now.

When I was a little girl, I used to ask God what I was supposed to be when I grew up. I would always see the word “priest,” but I thought it was weird…obviously impossible, because Jews don’t have priests. Then I grew up to realize that indeed they did in the Old Testament, and even more importantly, that the priest is anyone who invokes into expression the unlimited possibilities that emerge from the field of ultimate Reality. All of us are recruits for the new priesthood, no matter what we do, needed to invoke into expression the unlimited possibilities inherent in the Mind of God. Yet they remain un-manifest until we have the courage to invoke them.

Like ancient priestesses at Delphi, let us summon all our powers of multi-dimensional knowing, emerge from the narrow and shallow casing of a mechanistic worldview, throw off the chains of a rationalistic approach to life, and remember we are co-creators of our future. We are not victims here; we’re merely reaping what we’ve sowed. And we can sow anew. We are here to create the good, the true, and the beautiful, and anything less than that is short of our purpose and our mission in this life.

Each of us is endowed with an internal guidance system, and if we ask within what we’re to do, we will be guided. We will be told what to do and we will be told how to do it. We will be led to each other and we will collaborate in miraculous ways. We will dwell within the golden Light of a higher kind of knowing. We will know, and we will do.

An Integrative Effort

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Doctors, nurses and scientists are Army ground troops.

Government leaders and economists are the Navy.

Spiritual practitioners and therapists are the Air Force.

It’s an integrative effort, and co-ordinating them all is the motivation behind them: to save lives, to continue the human race, to provide for a better future. Far too often we don’t think about those things in more than cursory ways, but boy we do now. All of a sudden we get that life is so precious. This is a horrible occurrence but it’s teaching us some valuable lessons. And with those lessons come our preparedness for miracles. With every loving thought we are co-creating a field of miracle- readiness.

There’s a line in A Course in Miracles: “Miracles are everyone’s right but purification is necessary.” That is as true collectively as it is individually. It’s time to purify our civilization of the greed, the selfishness, the separation, the irresponsibility, the mean-spiritedness, the violence, the fear that is the spiritual pandemic of our age.

Ridding the world of the disease within, it will be easier to heal the disease without.

In this Heartbreaking Moment

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I’m not normally the kind of person who posts pictures of my food, as anyone who knows me would attest. But what I’ve started doing now is posting pictures of where I am.

I’m hunkered down with a dear friend whose apartment I happened to be visiting when the coronavirus craziness exploded days ago. I had been planning to fly back to Des Moines to pack up for a move to DC, but now such travel is on hold as we all know. Meanwhile my friend is someone I have known for over 35 years, a godfather to my daughter, and he has generously suggested I remain at his place for now. He is an interior designer and his home is beautiful. He has such an eye for beauty that even a bowl of tomatoes at his place looks like a work of art to me.

But it’s more than that going on now, of course. I’m feeling the same things everyone else is feeling, and deeply aware that not everyone has the support of friends and family where they are now, much less find themselves in a beautiful environment for their time of self-imposed quarantine.

I have a deep realization of the gifts, however painful, that are brought to us by this crisis. But I also have a deep realization of the pain. This is a heartbreaking moment, and I think it is proper to admit that to ourselves. There were many, many people just barely holding on in their lives, and this will put some of them over the edge.

Emotionally, physically, financially. There was overwhelming despair before this, and don’t get me wrong, the crisis brings a needed course-correction for our civilization on many levels that I’ll be discussing. But millions and millions of people are in panic now. A lot of us are very worried, but many others are abjectly terrified.

If ever there was a time to think of people who are having a harder time than we are, it’s now.

 

Dear God,

To those who need You most,

Please be there in the hour of their agony.

And use the rest of us to help extend Your love at such an anguished hour as this.

Thank you, God.

Amen

So Much for “America First”

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It is completely unacceptable that any doctor at any hospital in the United States is lacking the medical equipment they need in order to handle this. The richest, most powerful nation in the world has a government that in the most infuriating, immoral way has let down its citizens.

And it did not have to be this way.

Through the Defense Production Act, private industry could have been directed weeks before it was to manufacture all necessary medical equipment. Doctors, even governors were begging for it. And those responsible for the withhold of resources have betrayed this nation.

This problem is not complicated; it’s horrifyingly simple. I understand Trump’s consciousness. We all do; it’s not news to anyone. But what about the people around him? There are some intelligent, ethical people there. Has no one been begging, demanding that he use his power over the last few weeks?

Is their obsession with not disturbing private industry so great that they’re willing to let people die?

My God, what has become of us…So much for “America first.”

A Global Family

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I have been acutely aware for many years that we take so much for granted. Maybe it’s partly because my parents took me traveling as a child, and I saw then what deep poverty looks like.

One of the reasons I ran for president was because I felt people were oddly lacking in the sense of urgency that I feel is appropriate for these times.

Well they’re not lacking it now!

All the talk about trees and animals in China, the lack of medical and economic preparedness in the United States – so many ways in which our lack of reverence for people and animals and planet underlie the crisis we are living through now.

But already you can see the forces of healing at work, not just in the immune systems of the people who are recovering, but in the heroism of the doctors and nurses, and the compassion people are showing in so many different ways.

We are one big global family now. I hope you’ll participate in the global minute of prayer on Sundays and spread the word to everyone you know.

We need a miracle now. We need a few of them. And they “occur naturally as expressions of love.”

Finding the Solution

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Recently at the Unity Church in Boulder we talked about what a difficult moment this is in American history. But there have been other difficult times, to be sure. The question is not just what’s happening, but who we’re choosing to be in the space of what’s happening.

We are called upon to navigate extremely turbulent historical waters, and our politics isn’t an adequate container for the thinking or the conversation needed to do that.

Our politics is like allopathic medicine, focused only on external remedies and not taking into account the psychological and emotional and spiritual dynamics involved in either causing our societal disease or that are necessary to heal it. We will get to the remedy; I saw in my campaign that the people are ready to create it. It’s the political/media/campaign establishment that’s not.

It’s sad for all of us to see the terrible state we’re in as a country now, but I think what we need to do is to feel that sadness. Recognizing the depth of the problem will counterintuitively guide us to the place within ourselves from which will come the answers and solutions we need now.

This quote from Aeschylus is one of my favorites; I’ve always thought of it in personal terms, but it’s true collectively as well: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Dear God, please give us wisdom now.

A Time for Strength

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This year will not be easy. Thomas Paine’s comment about “times that try men’s souls” comes to mind.

I’m asking myself how I can avoid an emotional descent that parallels the downward spiral of our political conflicts. My experience as a presidential candidate made me exquisitely aware of both how corrupt things are, and how beautiful they could be.

When the system gets in the way, the possibilities of democracy are worth the struggle, and the opposition to democracy demands that we stand up to it. Somehow this is about more than making sure we meditate. It’s about more than making sure we pray. It’s about more than making sure we put into practice our spiritual principles.

I know for myself it’s about some commitment to becoming more than I currently am. I can’t quite put my finger on what that means, but I know I’m called to evolve in what feels to be a different way.

We’re all going to have to, if we’re to become the people we need to be to navigate the turbulent waters of this age and steer our world into safer waters.

Let’s support each other in doing that.

This is not a time for weakness, but for strength.

A Moral Revolution

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It’s going to take a lot of forgiveness, positivity and compassion for those who do not agree with us, to make the kind of changes when all this is over that most need to be made. The drama on the other side of this is going to be huge. Much has been revealed about how American operates, and it isn’t pretty.

We were completely unprepared for a virus that is essentially an attack on our people. Nor did our government function in a way that allowed us to prepare quickly. People are seeing how the current way of doing things in America protects the few at the expense of the many.

This is not a reason for violent revolution. That very thought should bring a shudder to anyone.

But we do need a moral revolution. In the words of John F Kennedy, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”

We need a revolution in values. We need a blazing cry for justice.

We need an embrace of love so great that it extends beyond the personal and heals the entire world.