On March 15, 2015 the Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA ordained 4 new, *A Course In Miracles* Ministers. This month we will print two of their acceptance talks. Next month we will print the other two. Enjoy.
Reverend Daphne Blunck – CMC Minister #82:
I started studying the A Course In Miracles sometime in 2007, and in a way I discovered it by accident. I got to hear an audiobook by Gary Renard, who wrote The Disappearance of the Universe. I thought it was related to a 2012 prophecy — that's why I picked it up. But you know how Guidance works, because Disappearance is an introduction to the book we know as A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I finally got how ACIM content is so distinctly different from regular Christian study. It was so radical, so profound, and so, intuitively "Yes!" You know that inner feeling where something just feels right? I remember precisely where I was, plugged into my headphones, walking around. As different parts of this book would sound in my ears, I felt this hyperawareness of Presence. I really got that this was "it" for me.
Before this, I had read all kinds of metaphysical and New Age books, and I couldn't seem to find the answers I was looking for. A year or so earlier, I had picked up the Course in the library, and it felt like Greek to me. Not only did I not understand it, any reference to the Christian-like language that it had – turned me off. But little did I know then that the Course uses Christian terms to redefine them, and it points to something very different than the God outside of us. It shows us to look within and understand our Divinity and our unity. The Course is the map to me and to many; it points the way to a spiritual freedom in a way that has captivated me ever since.
In 2007, my life was pretty "okay" compared to a lot of people who come to the Course. I had a marriage that seemed to work pretty well. I had a nice home; I had work that was reasonably satisfying. I had a cadre of friends that I enjoyed entertaining. So why look for something more?
I couldn't make sense of why I wasn't continually happy – you know, just kind of that abiding thing. The world – the way that it advertises everything you need to do – it just never quite cut it. Even with the best plan, there was always something that would show up that would disappoint and somehow miss the mark. Each decade of my life seemed to indicate something different regarding how to live life and know one's purpose. So here I was close to turning 50 (in 2007), and I just didn't get why I hadn't found the answer already. My early life kind of set me up for where I was then. My elementary school aged kid-hood was carefree. But by my teen life things were very abusive, and I felt "victimy." Life was very chaotic then, and of course that seemingly set the stage for my whole life.
For the next few decades, there was always existential angst. As a young adult, I worked to improve and repair my early life experiences. I learned to think of myself and behave in the ways the world advertised to me: through counseling, self-improvement, more education, better job, better partners, Dr. Phil .... It's what the world teaches.
The way the world teaches us to get that satisfaction is always to try harder. I didn't understand how, since I seemingly was doing everything right and doing all the trying harder that there was. There was always some aspect of life that was, for me, disappointing. I finally got tired of all these ways not working. I got tired of that sense of lack and being unable to make sense of why things were the way they were, so I went on a search. I read a lot of books. There's a saying I just thought of. My mom gave me this refrigerator magnet. It has a picture of Gloria Steinem on it, and she had made famous this saying, "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off." I'm a big believer in working to improve oneself every day; it's part of what I understood about what my purpose was here. But after a certain point, I realized I'd done most of the world's expectations. So I really wondered, does that desire to improve oneself ever stop? Can it? Are we just kind of stuck with this or what? Does everybody have it? I figured there's gotta be a way to find out.
I started reading a lot of New Age stuff written by mediums and psychics, and I studied stories of near death experiences. It felt like I was getting closer. Intuitively it felt better, but it wasn't yet the bullseye. Then I happened upon a book which transcribed an interview with the Dalai Lama. In one of the answers, that I paid especially close attention to, he said, "I'm never lonely." I looked at that, and I thought, "How could that be? Well, I want that. So, now what?" Well, lots more reading, of course, and Guidance also – though I wasn't aware of that Guidance for a long time.
Meditation was the next big "thing" for me. I had known how to do it since I was a kid, but back then I used it mostly to relax before school exams. Now (back to 2007), it suddenly seemed to be really fun. I could do it for hours. It was just amazing. When I did it, it felt like something really important was coming. It always felt just impending. It seemed to point to something larger – I could feel it. That's why I kept doing it. Sometimes I had altered states that were rich, and satisfying, and getting ever closer to a general idea of Truth, with a capital "T." I also started to have some bigger-than-life experiences.
Those experiences whet my appetite. I want to live there all the time, even in regular life. We all want what we want when we want it. For me, being Aries, I want everything and I want it now. With regard to these bigger-than-life experiences, what did I have to do to keep those happening?
Around this time, I had my first real experience of Grace – and with a capital "G" – a "Hello" with the Divine. For this experience, there were angels involved, big ones. It was my first experience of really knowing. I don't mean the ego version of knowing – but the kind of knowing that has authority and certainty. It was so deep inside, you just don't question it. I was hyperaware. I had a huge sense of contentment and an ease. There was a naturalness about it. It felt like, "Whoa, I've always been here and I'm not really sure why I left." It was truly amazing. Most fantastic to me was the absence of the need to earn my worth. From there I really started understanding about all this "trying harder." It really put a little different shift on that. Once you have an experience like that, you want more. I started questioning this life. What is it really all about? What Divinity really is shaped in it? After an experience like that, I knew this wasn't the Christian kind of God that I grew up with.
By the ways of the world, when you get that experience, you work at it. The ego will co-opt anything. The experience lasted a while – there was that feeling that stayed – but since I wanted it all the time, I figured that it was just gonna take more effort from me and more practice to get there.
Very quickly I became introduced to the Community Miracles Center (CMC) about a year after I started studying the Course on my own. Rev. Tony and Rev. Larry helped to host and sponsor a lot of different events here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rev. Tony and Rev. Larry were producing speaking events from the very authors that I had been reading, so it was very cool to hang around like-minded people and to work toward waking up at the same time. So far I've been able to attend three of CMC's major ACIM conferences. Two here in San Francisco, and one in Chicago. Each time I was thrilled to be introduced to even more authors, and to meet other Course students who were walking their talk.
It seems a bit odd, in a way, that as the Course advocates self-study, and there's truly no need to proselytize, that here we are becoming, or are (not becoming anymore) a "Reverend" dedicated to ACIM. So to me it's just a symbol of the world that gives me a great freedom to be accepted for a degree that's for peace. It allows me some credibility teaching my classes and I now have a title that's generally accepted for spiritual counseling. So thank you, Reverend Tony, for putting the time and effort behind your own personal calling and to get this done and to make this program available for everybody. It's enriched me greatly.
It's amazing when I think how much richer my understanding is about the Course because of these last two years. I've really enjoyed our weekly review classes and particularly for the last year where we've had the daily prayer partner – to know all of these women getting ordained and most of you in the audience. I'm amazed at all of my personal life changes and how I've been able to maintain within the continuity of the A Course In Miracles community because of CMC. Thanks again for everybody's support and for CMC. Obviously I'm very passionate about it, so thank you. ♥
Reverend Gwendolyn Evans – CMC Minister #83
On December 24 of 2012, I was having dinner with two special friends, one of whom is here today. An inner voice said to me, "Change now." It was a voice gentle but firm, masculine, and one that I had never heard before. So in January of 2013, I walked into the Community Miracles Center sanctuary and began what became a two-year journey studying A Course in Miracles, a book that I've actually owned since 1986 but never really read. What could I call this phenomenon – this voice that would not leave me alone, that would wake me up at 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. every morning (still does) and became an increasing presence in my life? Hearing voices, losing my mind? Or was this my first consciously acknowledged miracle? What is a miracle? It is something that I can't explain from the perspective of my present belief systems about what reality is. It's something that happens outside the laws of space and time.
But those are the laws that were the core of the only belief system I knew and lived on planet Earth. Then this other reality kicked in. The Voice, as I came to call him, talked to me daily. Then he instructed me to start studying quantum physics (as though I didn't have enough to do already in my busy life as a psychologist). Pretty soon, I was experiencing thought as waves and vibrations in an electromagnetic field that interacted with vibrations of other degrees of consciousness both on the planet and off the planet, which physicists now call "entanglement." At first it was easier for me to conceptualize this altered state of consciousness, but as I learned about this field of potentiality, or the field of all possibilities, these mechanisms became understood to explain what we call "paranormal" or "miracle" phenomena.
I know a lot of people don't believe in the concept of "God" or don't resonate with that word. It is pretty hard to undo a lifetime of religious indoctrination about God as personified, human-like, all-powerful, and yet judging and punishing. Regardless of what you call it, there is another reality going on here. For me, it is where physics meets metaphysics. It is where I discovered that I have two minds, the mind of the ego, that which my friends happen to know, and access to the Mind of God. By agreeing to study A Course in Miracles, I've taken up the challenge to find out what I am really. Am I consciousness floating around this electromagnetic energy stew? But guided by what? Creating realities that we think we see but for what purpose? Just because we all seem to agree that we see the "world" as it is (this is called consensus validation) does that make it so? If we have the power to create worlds with our thoughts, which the Course assures us that we do, and daily, why are we creating the world as we see it right now?
A thought does create a world. If you don't think this premise is true, follow one of your thoughts through the day – your seemingly innocent thought – and watch what it creates in your emotions and how it ripples. That is your world. So this ordination, for me, is just the beginning of my journey. It is my agreement to accept responsibility, to communicate about spirit. It is my commitment to maintain conscious contact with the field of all possibilities, which I prefer to call God.
This Course is a very disciplined mind-training. I started to take it seriously, and I learned about my two minds. One is the ego mind, that part of me that forgets its energetic connection to the Divine, or the whole, and focuses on thoughts of fear, lack, and death in some way. If I'm not coming from love, no matter how simple the other thought seems to be, it's about fear and death. Then, there's the God-conscious mind, the one that feels infinitely expanded. That part makes curious things start to happen, like feeling peaceful for no particular reason, feeling loving and happy for no apparent reason – to the point where I walk down the street and people ask me, "Why are you happy?" And I say, "Why not?" Then I got the message that this is, was and is, our natural state of being when the little mind is not covering up its connection with God.
So to symbolize my awareness of this greater reality, I chose an avatar, a term that originally meant a descendant of the supreme being – an energy that has many names in many cultures or the embodiment of all our highest core principles. I aligned myself with Jeshua bin Joseph, whom I knew in a past life. You know him historically as Jesus Christ. His consciousness is still available to any and all who turn inward and listen to the still, gentle voice within. Or you may align with any of the other ascended masters with whom your higher self seems drawn. Buddha also works for me. By-the-way, Jesus told me this morning to tell you he does have a sense of humor.
Do you have any doubt about how principles of reality work? Is there anyone here who doubts that gravity exists? I don't think so. From a very early age, we learn that gravity has consequences. But does gravity care whether you choose to jump from the bridge? Or does gravity care that you play with it by leaping into the air like the late great dancer Rudolf Nureyev? On planet earth, gravity rules. In the greater field of all possibility, potentiality rules, and our thoughts become like the pebble that we drop into that field – we magnetize it every day. We create our world, and we create our interactions with people. The physicists again explain this as entanglement, but we feel it as love or hate.
I'm not talking about something that I believe or hope. I'm talking about something that I have been experiencing, this shift in consciousness. As Whoopi Goldberg might say, "Dorothy – girl, you ain't in Kansas anymore!" This trip from one's egoic self to home, one's highest self, is strange and deep. But the distance, ironically, is only the width of a thought. Think about that.
In the movie, Star Wars, remember Luke Skywalker's first lesson with Yoda and how difficult and confusing it was for him to master the light saber? Well, this journey to recognizing that we're more than just a body, that we're really a spirit, temporarily in this space suit, and that we go back to something greater, with consciousness, is just as confusing.
I need only to say that I accomplished a radical shift in my values, a change in my perspective about the nature of life and consciousness, and this has allowed me to discern things more clearly – what is really important and what is not. It encourages me now to speak out about spirit. Those who know me personally know I don't like to take a political stance on anything. I'll sit in the back of the room if I can. But if you thought Christopher Columbus had a hard time convincing people that the world was round, Jesus told me to tell you that convincing people that we are spirits having this temporary physical manifestation and will return to the greater source was an even harder sell. All of us can't be crazy. Start listening to your own inner guides. They will make themselves known to you in whatever form is most appropriate to where your development is now. But you will know it is different from the voice that you usually hear in your own head. They will make themselves known when you're ready.
Am I going crazy? Am I losing my mind? Those of you who are here to celebrate this ordination with me, I want to remind you, you are also here because you're connected, and you're honoring your own spirit. In fact, people may now say, "She's finally lost her mind." To which I say, "Amen." ♥
3006 Buchanan Street Unit 1
San Francisco, CA 94123
This article appeared in the May 2015 (Vol. 29 No. 3) 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.