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On April 6, 2008 the Community Miracles Center officially celebrated it’s 21st Birthday. On this Sunday five of our active ministers took to the stage and gave short talks. After hearing from these “Community Voices” we had a wonderful potluck celebration. What follows are lightly edited transcriptions of these five presentations.


Rev. Geri Baskind:

Tony had said to me, when he called, “Just talk about what’s going on in your life – how the Course is impacting your life.”

Rev. Geri, Rev. Adrienne, Rev. Marci, Rev. Mo, Rev. RitaI decided to go to law school. I’m a single parent. I have two kids who have issues that manifest in behavior and I work full time. I thought, “Well this is never going to happen.” But to tell you the truth the whole experience at law school has taught me more about detachment, and more about perception, than I ever thought I would ever learn. I need to be able to not only argue my side, but I have to show that I understand the other side of the argument as well – to be able to do that. But originally I was thinking “I can’t do this.” “I’m never going to be able to do this.” I called my brother who has always – I call him the one I don’t pay – he’s always been really influential for me. I told him, “You know ‘Bro’, I’m just really scared.” He said to me, “You already know how to do that. Do something different.” (laughter) I thought, “Excuse me!” I looked in the Course and it said, “Your recognition that whatever seems to separate you from God is only fear, regardless of the form it takes and quite apart from how the ego wants you to experience it, is therefore the basic ego threat.” (T-11.V.10.1) I said, “Oh! Okay.”

So I went ahead and I endeavored to do this and it’s a four year program. After the first year, because it’s correspondence, I have to sit for what they call the First Year’s Law Student’s Exam. We call it the “Baby Bar” because it’s one day where as the Bar is three days. If you don’t pass after the first three tries you could conceivably be in your third year of law school, but if you pass after those first three tries you only get credit for your first year. There was a little stress there for me. The Workbook, though, tells me “I am entitled to miracles.” (W-pI.77) So I said, “Okay. Okay. Holy Spirit. I need a little help here.” I prayed and prayed and said, “Look, I just want to pass. I just want to pass.” And I did! It was very cool. I got a “D” but I passed. (laughter) If I become a lawyer nobody is going to ask me “What did you get on the ‘Baby Bar?’” (laughter)

I just submitted my last midterms. I’m in my last year. This time I asked for “Bs.” God forbid I should ask for an “A.” I asked for “Bs” and that’s progress for me. I thought that was really cool. The Workbook has told me, “You do not ask too much of life, but far too little.” (W-pI.133.2.1) It’s just amazing to me. I’m going to be a lawyer. That’s a huge accomplishment. Working full time and doing this kind of stuff.

I love this place. (gesturing around the CMC San Francisco facility) I feel like I’m home. I’m so grateful to be here.

The Text tells me, “The power to work miracles belongs to you. I will provide the opportunities to do them, but you must be ready and willing.” (T-1.III.1.7-10) In the course of four years I done 17 packages of definitions from 25 to 30 pages, 17 midterms from eight to ten pages each. 150 case briefs and sixteen finals from eight to ten pages each. I raised my kids and I worked full time. (applause) Is that cool?

I don’t know man. I don’t see any battlefield anymore. I really don’t. Thank you very much. (applause)


Rev. Marci Benson:

I’m 53. That’s my reverend number. (Rev. Marci was the 53rd minister the CMC ordained.) One of my friends, who actually came to our ordination, every time he saw me after I was ordained he’d say, “Hi ‘53.’” Unfortunately, I don’t get to hear that from him anymore because he died from a heroin overdose. We all try to go home, some just want to take a short cut. But you know what pisses me off? Shortcuts don’t work. I’ve been trying to find an easier, softer way to God for as long as I can remember. “Can’t I just take this ...?” I never wanted to be an over achiever – get the “A” grade. I call the people who sit in the front row the over achievers. I want to sit back here with the “Bs” and the “Cs” because I want the shortcut to get to God. I want the easier softer way.

What happens to me is all the things that I do well, work well – and then the other parts in my life suck some times. It’s really easy for me to work this A Course In Miracles in certain areas of my life. I am just “Miss Spiritual” all the time in traffic. I’m “Miss Peace.” Everybody is my brother; we’re all going home together. Nobody can do anything wrong. I’m about 82% spiritual in my marriage. (laughter) Some percentage of the time he is wrong – okay? (laughter) But the place that kicks my butt every single day is my job. And because I’m who I am, someone who wants the easier softer way, “Can’t I just get a different job?”

I teach Algebra and science to 13 year olds. The thing is, if the Course was easy, if going home was easy, I wouldn’t. If it was all easy I wouldn’t get home. It’s the hard work, it’s where my ego is in my face – that’s where the forgiveness happens. That’s where the work gets done. Mo (Rev. Marci’s husband) was talking about what he was going to talk about so I decided to steal his idea a little bit. I decided I was going to do the Gospel according to Sheryl Crow because I’ve been listening to this song of hers awhile. This particular song is called “Leaving Las Vegas.” There’s a little piece in there that’s a great example of the ego trying to find satisfaction in the world. My ego is trying to ... “If I could just do it my way. If I could just have everything like I want it to be than everything would be okay.” “Leaving Las Vegas” says,

“I’m standing in the middle of the desert
Waiting for my ship to come in ...”

That sounds like the ego. You’re in a desert waiting for a ship.

“But now no joker, no jack, no king
Can take this loser hand
And make it win”

That’s what the world is for me. No matter where I try to get fixed from the world it’s a loosing hand. There’s no ship coming to this desert. The only way I can get home is, for me, to wake up and stop trying to get my satisfaction from the desert. There’s that other part of me that doesn’t want to do the hard work. There’s another Sheryl Crow song where she sings, “All I wanna do is have some fun.”

I’m trying to figure out how can I get home to God, have some fun and do it the easy way. That’s really what I want. I want to go home but I want it to be easy. Damn! Sometimes it’s not. The thing is it actually is pretty simple. It’s, maybe, not so easy, but A Course In Miracles always tells us it is simple. You only have to do one thing to get home to God. This one, little, tiny thing – just one thing. Just forgive every single solitary image I make up out there. That’s all I have to do. It’s just one thing.

The Course say’s, “The ego is afraid of the spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego, and become totally without investment in fear. “ (T-4.I.10.1) What happens when I am in that place of just doing that one thing, doing my forgiveness – my ego’s going, “But wait! What about me? If you go home there won’t be any me.” The Course says the ego is capable of two things. It’s either suspicious or vicious. (see T-9.VII.3.7)

Actually the more work I do on being a Course student the ego gets more vicious in a more cunning, subtle way. It says, “You can hold onto this. It’s just one little grievance.” Or, “But you are right in this situation and they really are wrong. They really are a shit head.” (laughter) If all I want to do is have fun, I have to let go of the ego because fun and joy come from truth. The Course says the call to joy is the call to forgive my brother not for what I think he has done but for what he never did.

Every day in my classroom I am accusing those thirteen year olds of taking my peace yet again, day after day. (laughter) It’s always them, of course. There’s a little passage that Rev. Larry read today. It says, “You are not persecuted ....” (T-6.I.11.1) Oh! You mean they are not persecuting me? It’s my choice? It’s never them. I’m always the one making it up. This leads me to another line in a Sheryl Crow song. If I want to have fun, if I want to get home to God and if I want to be joyous the song says,

“I’m gonna soak up the sun
Gonna tell everyone
To lighten up (I’m gonna tell ‘em that)
I’ve got no one to blame” (from “Soak Up The Sun”)

The only way I’m going to have the joy of God is if I’m willing to forgive my brother, not blame, and do that work – that forgiveness every day in front of your face.

What I do, my little every day thing, I have this over head projector where I sit there and “torture” children daily with Algebra and these Algebra problems. I put things on my over head to help me, to remind me why I’m really there. One thing that I’ve also learned about the Course is the form doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I’m teaching. They’re not going to remember how to solve a quadratic equation – and it does not matter if they remember that ever. But they are going to remember the content. They are going to remember how I was with them. So if I can bring some Holy Spirit moments to them and see them as innocent then that content is what matters in that classroom. That’s what going to heal me. Every time I see my students as innocent I’m healed. I get to forgive my own rebellious teenager.

I’m going to read the last thing I put on my over head and then I’m going to let Mo talk. It says, “Dream softly of your sinless brother, who unites with you in holy innocence. And from this dream the Lord of Heaven will Himself awaken His beloved Son. Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams.” (T-27.VII.15.1-6)

Thank you very much. (applause)


Rev. Mo Benson:

If you would all just do me a favor and pass these out. I will tell you what to do with them later. (Rev. Mo passes out a sheet of paper with song lyrics on it.) If I remember I’m number 54 because I think of it as “Car 54.” Remember that television show from the 60s? (from the audience, “Where Are You?”) Exactly. (laughter)

I want to say first off, “Happy Birthday CMC.” We talked about this being the 21st birthday. Someone brought up, “Yea, we’re of legal age to drink.” The CMC is. I can’t help but wonder, it there any coincidence – the CMC is 21 and on the latest issue of Miracles Monthly there’s an advertisement for an escort service (See “Sex, Scandals & Miracles” Vol.21, No.12/ Feb. 08) (laughter) With it’s phone number!

So Rev. Tony and Rev. Antoinette have never been too shy about combining sexual references and music. An example might be when Tony did a talk and he had the Rolling Stones as part of the subject and then the Rolling Stones got on the cover of the program and on the web site. Tony’s always been able to take topics that you wouldn’t think would work and then with some symbolism, or some context, bring them here. With that in mind I’m going to try to combine a little sex and music in what I’m going to talk about today.

I call this the Gospel of Donovan. I don’t know if everybody remembers who Donovan was. Donovan was a Scottish singer back in the 60s. He was very popular. He had a number of records. We actually looked at the list and we said, “Oh yea he had a lot of records on the top ten.” He was a person who was supposed to play at the Monterey Pop festival but they wouldn’t let him come into the country because he had gotten busted for the possession of marijuana. You don’t want to think about Donovan and this, but there it is.

With that in mind I passed out the lyrics to a song of his. First, I want to tell you that a couple of years ago I was in Los Angeles with a couple of hundred men friends of mine and some of us went out on a Saturday night and we went to a strip club in LA. What was funny was while watching the show one of the strippers used this song in her act. I didn’t remember this song. I knew it back in the 60s but I hadn’t given it any thought but then I heard this song and I realized the spiritual content of Donovan’s “There Is A Mountain.” When we listen to the music, you have the words, you can look at the words or you can visualize a stripper of either gender stripping to this music. (laughter) Okay Marci, hit it. (Rev. Marci is at the back running the audio system.)

There Is A Mountain – by Donovan

The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is
The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is

Caterpillar sheds his skin to find the butterfly within
Caterpillar sheds his skin to find the butterfly within
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain

Oh, Juanita, oh, Juanita
Oh, Juanita I call your name
Oh, the snow will be a blinding sight
To see as it lies on yonder hillside

The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is
The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is
Caterpillar sheds his skin to find the butterfly within
Caterpillar sheds his skin to find the butterfly within

First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is
First there is a mountain then there is no mountain, then there is

All right. Does everybody remember that song? Probably haven’t heard it in a long time because you don’t hear it on the radio. And you probably won’t. As an aside, for me it kind of sticks in my head. Once I hear it, it plays over and over and that’s part of the purpose of this song for me. If you go on the internet and you go to – there’s a really cool short film of Donovan singing this song with Bobby Gentry who was known for “Ode To Billy Joe.” She had her own variety show back in the 60s and he did the song on the show with her. You might take a look at that.

So I want to start off my discussion of this song with one of my favorite quotes from the Course. It’s found in Chapter 16. I think about this a lot and it’s on my wall.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. It is not necessary to seek for what is true, but it necessary to seek for what is false. Every illusion is one of fear, whatever form it takes. And the attempt to escape from one illusion into another must fail. If you seek love outside yourself you can be certain that you perceive hatred within, and are afraid of it. Yet peace will never come from the illusion of love, but only from its reality.“ (T-16.IV.6)

What I want to do with these lyrics from this song is take a look at that first line, “Lock upon the garden gate’s a snail that’s what it is.” I thought about this line. In the Course when it talks about the gate it’s always referring to the “gate of Heaven”, or “Heaven’s gate” is referred to a lot. That’s what this garden is, in my interpretation of the song. This garden gate, beyond the gate, is Heaven – or we can call it salvation. We can call it our One Self. We can call it ... there’s lots of things we can call it, but that’s the symbolism here. As you know, there’s what something is and there’s how we perceive it. What we’re looking at is – we’re perceiving this lock, this barrier to Heaven on this garden gate. However, when we get closer we see that it’s not really a lock at all. It’s just a snail; it’s not a lock. Does that make sense? That’s how I’m going to interpret this.

The Course says, “Think not the way to Heaven’s gate is difficult at all.” (T-26.V.2.4) “Within your hand is everything you need to walk with perfect confidence away from fear forever, and to go straight on, and quickly reach the gate of Heaven itself. ” (T-30.V.8.2) “And all you need to do is but to wish that Heaven be given you instead of hell, and every bolt and barrier that seems to hold the door securely barred and locked will merely fall away and disappear.” (T-26.II.8.5)

The lock – it appears like a lock, but it’s really just a snail in the garden and we have access to the garden. That’s that line.

The imagery of the butterfly and the caterpillar is kind of obvious and I believe that’s why the stripper used this song actually. It would make sense. We know a lot about this. A caterpillar, as you know, doesn’t just walk down the road then one day, suddenly, sprout wings and turn into a butterfly. It has to go through the cocoon stage. This cocoon stage – the symbolism here for me is, the cocoon is where you have to undo your ego, choosing the thought system of the Holy Spirit rather than the ego, letting go of fear. Fear is what you get when you are focussed on the future. Also, letting go of guilt which is what you get when you are focussed on the past. So you have to go through this cocoon stage, okay. Once you get through that and you are able to let go of the ego then you realize your one Self. You are a butterfly. That’s the symbolism in the song. That’s what I like about this song.

This song was recorded in 1966 and that was while the Course was being scribed actually. Imagine that.

Now the part that jumps out at me all this time is, “First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.” Actually, that is an old Zen saying which is about the circular motion of your path. It starts off as one thing. It changes. It comes back around. There’s no beginning and no end. For me, you can look at this particular part of it from several perspectives. I chose one for today, looking at it more from the perspective of the world of form, in that the mountain is what it is. Everybody knows what a mountain looks like. This doesn’t even have to be a mountain. It can be any object. It just is what it is. The lesson in the Course tells us that things just are what they are. They’re neutral. We give them the meaning, right? That’s what “then there is no mountain” means. The mountain suddenly becomes: a goal, a thing we have to climb, a barrier – whatever. It isn’t just a mountain anymore. We’ve attached the meaning to this mountain. That’s the evolution of our consciousness. Now there is this thing out there. We perceive it. We attach the meaning, the interpretation, whatever, to it. Then, as we engage in letting go of our ego we find that one Self, that we talked about earlier, then it just becomes a mountain again with no particular meaning. It just is what it is. Does that make sense?

“Consciousness, the level of perception, was the first split introduced into the mind after the separation ....” (T-3.IV.2.1) That’s suddenly where we are seeing things other than ourselves. “... making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator.” (T-3.IV.2.1) A perceiver meaning we interpret. We’re all interpreting things all the time – like interpreting that snail as being a lock for example. “Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are.” (T-3.IV.2.2-3) “Yet you can know yourself only as you are, because that is all you can be sure of. Everything else open to question.” (T-3.IV.2.4-5)

“All that is needed is you look upon the problem as it is ....” (T-27.VII.2.2) the mountain, the chair, the room, the whatever. “ ... as it is, and not the way that you have set it up. How could there be another way to solve a problem that is very simple, but has been obscured by heavy clouds of complication, which were made to keep the problem unresolved?” (T-27.VII.2.2-3) These clouds of complication are all the meaning we have attached to it – our interpretations, our perceptions that we have attached to it. “Without the clouds the problem will emerge in all its primitive simplicity.” (T-27.VII.2.4) When we get beyond the ego we find out who we really are. So that, for me, is what this song, “There Is A Mountain” by Donovan means. Does that make sense?

Just like you see images of Jesus, or of Buddha, that were not meant to be worshipped, only to serve as reminders or demonstrations, as was talked about in the reading earlier, let this song be a reminder to you if you hear it. You can download it. You can have it in your head now that you’ve heard it today. You can go home and try to get rid of it. (laughter) You can listen to another song so you can get rid of it – but that’s a reminder of who you really are, your one Self. That takes you back to today’s lesson. “Salvation comes from my one self.” (W-pI.96) Thank you. (applause)


Rev. Adrienne Bermingham:

Good morning everybody. (from the audience “Good Morning.”) It’s a beautiful day. It’s CMC’s birthday and I’m really glad to be here. I want to talk a little today about purpose and intention. Purpose and intention and what I think is the CMC’s purpose and intention. I had a flash about this a couple of weeks ago. Wouldn’t it be fun to do the Community Miracles Center’s natal astrology chart. (laughter) Some of you may, or may not, know you can do a chart of a person, a country or state, a business and an organization. This is an organization. It’s a church. I decided to cast that chart and I plugged The CMC’s birthday** into my little computer program and I was completely delighted with what I saw. There are no mistakes.

CMC Astrological Natal ChartA Course In Miracles. It was a way for me to look at things and to have some idea of what was going on in the world around me because I had not yet developed a spiritual understanding. This was written by a very world renown astrologer Robert Hand. It’s from his book, Planets In Transit.

“The purpose of astrology is really to give you an understanding of your place in the universe and the kinds of energy that are flowing through you and the physical universe. Astrology should not try to make up your mind but instead provide information for you to make an intelligent decision.” He goes on to say, “I don’t believe that the planets or the sun cause anything. There are merely signs of the manifestation of the original intention, part of which is experienced as flowing through you as well. This is the intention that you are aware of. Part of the intention is experienced as coming from without. You may call it: fate, destiny, circumstances beyond control – but this too comes from within you and you need to only raise your consciousness to know it. Part of the function of astrology is to raise the individuals consciousness in just that way.” I would like to add that the horoscope becomes a symbol of your intentions, not a record of what might happen to you. After all, character is destiny.

I feel that astrology dovetails a lot with A Course In Miracles. That’s my personal feeling. It’s sort of a chart. It’s sort of a map of the intention, the original intention that we come in here with and the chart, or the horoscope, becomes a physical form. For the Center there’s three places that I’d like to talk about and they are the Sun, the Rising Sign and the Moon. These are the most important in the chart.

The Sun is the life force of the individual or the organization. It’s the expression of the basic potential or the creative force to grow and develop. Of course, the Center’s sign is Aquarius. I love it. It’s the sign of brother and sisterhood. It’s the sign of: fraternity, determined, stubborn, can be eccentric, (laughter) visionary, operating as an equal among equals. The Aquarian instinct leads the organization to people or has people come to it. The Sun is in the tenth house which is the house of profession and status. I think there’s no mistake there. As an organization it’s about it’s intention of being a profession, of being in the world and being something that is open to groups, organization – pulling in, bringing in that energy and nurturing it. The tenth house is: intellectual, creative, visionary, love of freedom and humanitarianism, friends, groups and organizations.

I want to move on to the Rising Sign which is the exact time of birth. It’s the time we come into this place, this dimension, this form. It’s the time we come in. It basically governs the outer manner of the person or entity – the public face you could say. This one’s Taurus. I love it. It’s the sign of: determination, stick to it, stubborn, sociable, friendly, out going, business like, balance of books, fix that water heater. And the Center, for me, does express: strength, determination, perseverance, loyalty and it welcomes friends and it brings them in. It just keeps going at a steady pace. It may not be big. It may not be grandiose; it may not be flashy. As far as I can tell, it’s got it’s debts paid and it takes care of business. It balances the books and it’s solid, determined. I really feel that. When I looked at this chart I said, “This is going to stay. It’s going to stay. It’s not going to fall apart. It’s grounded.” The Rising Sign is in the first house which is the personality – the personality of the Center. I would say that, more than anything, this is the portion of: friendliness, welcoming and “central-ness” comes out of the Center. You walk in the door you’re welcome. You’re brought in. There’s a feeling of, “I want to give.”

We go on to the Moon. The Moon, actually, is the emotions. It indicates how we interact from our internal world. It’s not always what the public sees. The sign for that is Cancer. That’s great because that brings in the warmth. It brings in the nurturing. It brings in the sense of family, the sense of home, the sense of gathering. The Moon is in the second house – business, money, material possessions – and, as I said, it’s just steady. We have several things that demonstrate Moon here. We have the: Fellowship events, retreats, holiday dinners with the inclusion that goes along with them. This potluck that we will have today, are all an example of that warmth, that gathering, bringing in – bringing in the love.

The Center also has something very unique. It’s called a “Grand Water Trine.” A trine is a given. It’s something that comes with an incarnation – just a given, easy, flowing piece of energy. The Center doesn’t have to push this. It’s there. It’s very unique. This Center has it.

Sometimes a trine can just be, because it’s so easy, it’s so benevolent, it’s so God given. The Center, said, “No. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to make it work.” It turned it into a very rare configuration known as a kite. Without a drawing board I can’t show you what it is. It takes that benevolent energy and it moves it. It makes it move. It makes it flow. It makes it harmonious. It can’t stay as being something for itself. It spins out to everybody and it gives and then brings that love in.

How does this tie in with ACIM? Anyway you want to perceive how it might. (laughter) I got a little stuck there but .... (laughter) Remember what I said earlier about the horoscope being a symbol of the original manifestation or the intention. I believe that we all come here with an original intention. Miracles principles number 51 says “The physical world exists only because man can use it to correct his unbelief, which placed him in it originally.” (Tx.Or.Ed.1.93) So we can say that the birth chart can be a map of how we can best take ourselves through our correction, the lessons that we need to learn.

Astrology is a tool, a map. The Course is: divine original intention, love, Holy Spirit. If I’m in fear, if things aren’t going good for me, if I really want to work on myself, I don’t look at my chart. I ask Holy Spirit for guidance. I still use astrology. I think it’s quite fascinating. I’ve never seen any mistakes in it. There’s so much more to this chart but we don’t have the time. And, there’s always a down side to the chart but it’s the CMC’s birthday were not going to talk about that. (laughter)

I have something I do want to give. I want to give this to the Center as a little gift. (Rev. Adrienne pulls something out of a bag.) And it’s a .... (“Ohhs” and “ahhs” and applause from the congregation. Rev. Adrienne holds up a beautiful, full color, framed astrological chart, about 12 by 12 inches.) If they want to hang it in the bathroom that’s fine with me. (laughter) Or shelve it. I wanted to bring this. Anyone that would like to talk to me about this later, then we can gather and talk about it. There’s a lot to it.

I think will just close by saying that the Center, in the last year, has become a very important entity and organization for me. It wasn’t always that way for me. I’ve had some hard lessons to learn about that. I am extremely grateful for the benevolence that has been afforded me here, and for the patience and the love that was given out to me in my period of transition and growth. I’m really glad to be here and glad to be a member. Happy Birthday CMC. (applause)

**(Rev. Adrienne used February 9, 1987 at 11 a.m. in San Francisco, CA as the “birth” time and place of the Community Miracles Center. This was the moment when the CMC filed it’s Articles Of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office in San Francisco, CA. This was when CMC became a legal entity and began it’s manifestation in this physical world.)


Rev. Rita Weikal:

Good morning everybody. (“Good morning.”) Okay. Today I’d like to talk about one of the meditations that I do almost daily which helps keep me in right mindedness. It begins, “Dear Jesus I want to be like you.” I think this is a really bold statement. I can guarantee you that is one that would have gotten chastised by my parents and greatly frowned upon by the Methodist and Catholic congregations I was immersed in growing up. As you can imagine, my ego was quite skeptical about this bold declaration. You’ve got to remember the ego isn’t called an ego for nothing. It doesn’t like you wanting to be like anything or anybody else. But I guarantee you it’s a statement that Jesus likes.

In the Course it says we now, and have always have possessed, what it takes to be like him. Jesus says in the Course, “It is only my devotion that entitles me to yours. There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God.” (T-1.II.3.9-11) Now even the people who have so carefully edited the Bible have left in that acknowledgment of Jesus saying, “You can do this or even greater things than I.” (see John 14:12)

The meditations starts out with that bold impressive statement and then it goes on. “You must therefore learn to think like me.” Jesus tells us very clearly that what he is teaching in the Course is the same thing he was teaching 2000 years ago. In essence it’s a “Think System” and in the Course he’s teaching us, not what to think, but how to think. While Jesus tells us the Course certainly isn’t the only way to right mindedness, it’s by far the fastest and the most direct route. He says, “Place every thought you think in my hands. I’ll tell you if it’s helpful or not. I’ll help you retain only thoughts that bless and call you to truth and I’ll eliminate all unhelpful thoughts.” Well, as you can imagine that really ticked my ego off. (laughter) My ego would start arguing with me like a Philadelphia lawyer on a $500,000 retainer. (laughter) It says, “Oh, you got to turn everything over to someone else. ‘Na na na na na.’” (laughter) “Are you that insecure? Can’t you decide anything for yourself?” “Yada yada yada.” “Oh shut up.” But Jesus and Holy Spirit don’t enter into any arguments or debates. The Course says, “The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are.” (T-3.IV.2.3) “It is capable of asking questions but not of perceiving meaningful answers ....” (T-3.IV.3.2) To the ego, I guarantee you, any idea of loosing a perceived power is unconscionable .

An interesting experiment is to write down every thought you have in a five minute period. You’ll find that the ego can virtually run amok. That’s what it likes to do. It’s that constant stream of judgments that Jesus asks us to first bring to our awareness. In this part of the meditation Jesus is telling us to ask for help – making ourselves aware by putting every thought we think in his hands. Larry describes getting a “red flag.” I hear the word, “Stop!” When I hear it I know that I am being asked to examine my thoughts and to become aware of what I am thinking. There were time when I thought I was absolutely incapable of even holding a conversation because I heard the word “Stop” constantly. I was constantly rephrasing what I was saying. I’ve begun to learn to say things like, “I disagree with what you said or with your behavior” rather than blurt out my usual, “Unmitigating asshole!” (laughter)

The next part of the meditation is even more challenging. In it I am acknowledging my willingness to change my mind about any person or situation that I am misperceiving. “Jesus, please help me see this person or situation, not through the eyes of the fear, but as you see them. Please help me see this person or situation with equal love, for myself and all others.” Because if I’m seeing another person as bad then I’m allowing doubt and fear back into my mind, and exclusivity and judgment are the creations of fear. I said, “Jesus, if I can’t see someone through right mindedness then it’s because I’m judging them. Help me to drop my judgments and understand what fears his behavior brings up for me.”

This last part goes to the very heart of Jesus’ thought system. Jesus sees everyone with equal love and acceptance. Our fearful thoughts do not allow us to see everyone as equal. The Course says, “The ego has invented many ingenious thought systems ....” (T-3.V.2.5) They reinforce the perception of separation. Jesus’ thought system heals that separation. He makes the mind whole and under the guidance of Spirit. Thank you! (applause) Y

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This article appeared in the March 2014 (Vol. 21 No. 7) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.