On September 10th, 2017, Rev. Tony Ponticello addressed those in attendance for the Community Miracles Center’s Sunday Gathering. Below is lightly edited transcription of the talk he gave.
Thank you all who are listening on ACIM Gather and now thank all of you who are watching this video on YouTube.
I am going to be talking about a new program that we have started at the Community Miracles Center called the Healing Team. I am going to give you a little history about it – try to explain it to you a little bit. There have been a number of questions, plus I’m real excited so want to talk about it.
The fact that CMC has a healing list and a prayer list is nothing new. This is actually the evolution of something we’ve been doing for a very long time, but we’re expanding it. We are changing the way that we are doing it. We first started having a healing list when we started our First Friday Healing Ritual. That was in 1991. We did our first First Friday Healing Ritual almost 26 years ago in 1991. Rev. Dusa Althea was as that first First Friday Healing Ritual. Actually after the second First Friday Healing Ritual, Rev. Dusa Althea and I went out for dinner. It was our first date! (awwww) We went to We Be Sushi down on Valencia Street. We had some raw fish and rice.
We did the healing ritual every first Friday of every month and people have always asked us to pray for them. Because we are an established organization, people will write us, email us, or call us. People from all over, not just our local congregation. We would write these prayer requests down, and then at the First Friday Healing Ritual we would work on that list. A Course in Miracles says “Prayer is the medium of miracles. Prayer is the natural communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.” (OrEd.Tx.1.10)
Miracles are expressions of love. That is the most common definition of miracles in A Course in Miracles. It’s all over the Miracles’ Principles section. It seemed only natural to express love through prayer, through miracles, with the consciousness that we had. We are A Course in Miracles students and we are doing our best to move our minds to higher consciousness, to more of a connection with the Divine. When people ask for our help, they are asking for love. We can express love in the highest form we are able just by being there and accepting their requests. Like I said, we’ve been doing this since 1991.
I don’t know when it evolved, but at some point early on, we started calling these things “appearances.” Instead of saying, “So and so had cancer,” we would say “So and so had an appearance of cancer.” We didn’t want to affirm that disease was the truth about them, but it was what the appearance was. If you are listening lately, for those of you who have been here for the Gatherings, when I read the healing list you might notice that we have items on the list like “Mark - the appearance of having a brain injury and tumor, and subsequent schizophrenia, anxiety and depression.” It is an appearance; Mark has that appearance. Mark isn’t even somebody I know. Mark just found our website, saw that we did this, and spontaneously asked us to pray for him.
We have the appearance of Ruby Lee in the hospital with colon cancer. I mention Ruby Lee because I know that all of you out there on ACIM Gather know who Ruby Lee is. She was very prominent, still is very prominent, in ACIM Gather. She did Festive Fridays. So Ruby Lee is on our healing list. She has the appearance of colon cancer.
There are things on the list like like the appearance of many people having to deal with the wind and water of Hurricane Irma. That is really going on, or really appears to be going on. So we send our love and light to those people, many of them have asked us to pray for them or pray about them. At some point in this process, maybe six or eight years ago, we started involving certain Community Miracles Center ministers. Not only would we pray for the healing list on the first Friday of every month, but we had certain ministers, like Rev. Regina Dawn Akers and Rev. Brad Pethoud, pray for the healing list all throughout the week, the month, maybe even daily. I would send them the current healing list and they would pray for it. As I said, this program is an evolution. It’s not actually something new.
On January 1 of this year, we moved. We moved away from the location where we had been for 30 years. We had to let go of having a meeting place we could use 24/7. We didn’t have a place we could do the First Friday Healing Ritual anymore. Plus, over the years, we at the Community Miracles Center had learned doing something once a month is a difficult challenge. It’s a challenge for people to remember that it is happening. They can’t make it a habit; it’s not a weekly thing. It’s hard for people to remember a monthly thing. So we simply let go of the First Friday Healing Ritual, coupled with the fact we just didn’t have a place to do it any more.
For a while, we didn’t have any way to process our healing list. It fell by the wayside for a little bit. Then a couple of months ago I got the guidance that we needed to revive this in some way, because this was a large part of what we did. It is an important thing that we exist as a healing ministry. Then I just received the guidance, got the idea, that we could offer our healing list up right after the meditation at the Sunday Gathering. How perfect! How simple! It didn’t need anything complex. We could just bring it into the Sunday Gathering. So we did that several months ago, and people really liked that. As soon as they saw we were doing an active healing list, they started sending us more healing requests. People were really grateful that we were doing that. That’s how this evolved.
Since it seemed so needed, it seemed so welcomed, it seemed so appreciated, I just asked for some guidance on how we could increase that. You always try to increase that which is working. This is a good thing – how can we make it better? Then I got the guidance we could involve more of our members in this. We’re all healers. We’re A Course of Miracles students, most of us are anyway. That’s what we do! We’re healers. We are studying this discipline to be healers. Why not work with the healing list every day? All I had to do was make sure I sent it every day. I was already sending all of our members an email every day anyway, so I could just include the healing list. Copy and paste the healing list and send it to the people who agree to do this. I was not going to send it to everyone. I want people to make the commitment that they will, on a daily basis, just do something with the list.
You see how simple we all did it earlier this morning. I just read the list then added some thoughts afterwards to send light and love. People can do it however they want to if they were willing to make that commitment. That’s how it started. I put it out there to the members. I’ve been talking to our members about it. I’m also talking to new people who hadn’t been members but liked the idea of praying on a list every day. People who like using their A Course in Miracles healing skills in a very focused way. We’ve gained six new members I believe and nine of our other current members have signed up to be on the healing team. We have fifteen people on our Healing Team right now and I know we are going to get more!
I know if you are steeped in Unity School of Christianity or Religious Science, the idea of mentioning the appearance of the illness at all is really not something that you are comfortable with. I am fine with that! That is how Unity and Religious Science do this. I think that is great within those disciplines. People have challenged me about how we do the healing list – the way that we do it. People have challenged me on that for years, but this is my guidance on how we do it. There are certain passages in A Course in Miracles that seem to give me support in that. Here’s one. It is one we quote a lot. It’s Workbook Lesson 333. It says, “Conflict must be resolved.” (OrEd.WkBk.333.1) You can say sickness must be resolved. “It must be seen exactly as it is, where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it, and with the purpose that the mind accorded it. For only then are its defenses lifted and the truth can shine upon it as it disappears.” (OrEd.WkBk.333.1)
There is a place for seeing things exactly as they appear. We don’t stay at that perception, but we have got to see what it is or how it is appearing. Listen to this again, “… where it is thought to be, in the reality which has been given it ...” exactly as it is “... and with the purpose that the mind accorded it.” (OrEd.WkBk.333.1) That’s the only way you are going to lift your defenses on it. You have to complete the experience. I remember that from my EST training. You can’t deny things; you have got to get them. You’ve got to complete the experience. You’ve got to perceive it thoroughly, then it can complete the experience and the energy that manifested it can dissipate. It doesn’t dissipate the way I frequently think of things, by denying them and being afraid of them. I think some people are afraid to say the appearance, thinking it strengthens it.
To me that’s the same idea as “I don’t go visit sick people in a hospital because I don’t want to buy into their belief that they are ill.” While I understand that theoretically, it just doesn’t seem very kind. It doesn’t seem very compassionate. When a person is in a hospital with an illness, I want to be kind and compassionate. I want to go see them. I want to share my love.
People have also talked about and asked “How do you want us to do the list?” I don’t care. I want you to do it however you’re guided to do it. If you feel guided to spend a little time on each name and see them with light and love, well that’s great. I think mostly it’s just to be there with that person. Be there with that energy. Be there with that appearance. This was in the reading today and I think it’s really clear. It’s talking about people who have illnesses. “To them God’s teachers come to represent another choice which they had forgotten. The simple presence of a teacher of God is a reminder. His thoughts ask for the right to question what the patient has accepted is true.” (OrEd.Mn.5.11) So that’s all. It’s just a simple presence. You’re just being with these appearances, being with these people, is enough. That’s all that is actually needed. Just be with them. There is nothing more healing than just being with someone. People in the healing arts know that. Ask them. Just be with the people with disturbing appearances in forgiveness, in non-judgment, and in love. Just be with them, and that is the healing.
We’ve been doing this now extensively with the new format for just a short period of time, about three weeks I think. The one thing I can say is that it has strengthened my own daily practice. I am practicing the lessons now better than I have in a long time, because now I have a reason, a mission. I practice my lessons. I read the lesson of the day; I do my meditation. The lessons are short right now so I read them two, maybe three times, until I really get the ideas. My mind can gloss over some of those ideas so I try to really get them. Then I do my meditation. I usually just do a short meditation, five or six minutes is what usually works for me.
Then after that, I have my candle lit like it is lit down there. I have my little healing wand that I got at Mount Shasta a year or so ago and I hold onto that. I like holding something in my hand when I do healing work. Then I just go through the list, maybe twice. Then maybe I say something after I’m done to the people, or to myself, like “love and light.” Maybe I don’t but I’m just with the process. I’m with those people and that’s it. I’m sending the list out to The Healing Team the night before. The list changes every couple of days. After something has been on it for a while, something drops off. That is just the way I do it.
A Course in Miracles says “If to love oneself is to heal oneself, those who are sick do not love themselves. Therefore, they are asking for the love that would heal them but which they are denying to themselves … the light in another mind must shine into theirs because that light is theirs.” (OrEd.Tx.11.14) So that’s how we heal. People who need healing are calling for love. If we hear the call, we extend the love. That’s our job; we need to do it. We need to do it for their sake. We need to do it for our sake. They are us. They are a manifestation of us. The light in our minds hopefully shines into this other mind and it blesses them and it heals them. The light in another mind must shine into theirs because that light is theirs. It’s the same light and that’s how the healing happens. That’s the expression of love. That’s what miracles are, expressions of love. That’s what A Course in Miracles is about to me.
Some people are arguing with me about it and having these theoretical discussions about whether it’s right or wrong. Whatever. I’m fine to have the discussion with them, but I know this is right. It feels right in my soul. It feels right in my heart. I’m just extending love to someone or to situations that appear to need it.
Now as I said this is a program for members, for Supporting Members of the Community Miracles Center. I got instruction and some guidance about this. This is the tricky part of the whole program. I ask people to visualize their energy, their green energy, their money energy. Then this becomes a way of putting some of our green energy towards love, towards healing. You could just think of it as a dollar a day. Do you have a dollar a day to spend on healing and love? Think of all the things at we spend money on. A cup of coffee now, at the places I like to get it, costs me three bucks! Coffee costs me three dollars! And I just put it out and spend it. A dollar? I can spend a dollar a day, or we ask people for an even multiple of a dollar. I can spend whatever I get guided to spend, per day, for healing. It’s a redistribution of our resources. Instead of spending money on consumerism, and chasing after things that I’m not even sure I really want. I think I want them. I think I’m going to like the experience I will have if I spend money on them. Generally, it doesn’t feel all that satisfying. It’s fine. But I can spend a dollar a day, or two dollars a day, or three, or five on healing!
This money supports this organization that has become the magnet for these requests, for this procedure. We get those requests because of the organization that we are, and that organization needs support and this is a way to do it. We are supporting healing. I am asking people to actually put their contribution right on their little healing altar. People have a lot of trouble with this. People don’t want to put money on their little healing altar – like money is something negative. It just shows you how messed up we are about money that we aren’t willing to put it on our healing altar. I put my five dollar bill right by my candle, right by my little healing wand. I actually carry the five dollar bill around with me during the day as it reminds me what I am spending my resources are on. I’m spending my resources on healing.
When I’ve talked with people about this program, it’s very interesting. Every time I get to the money part, I can feel people’s resistance. Everybody just gets a little resistant around the money. That’s because we’ve all just been so steeped in this lie that things are scarce, that resources are scarce. We’ve been living in that lie for a really, really, really long time and it’s just not true. Scarcity is not the truth.
A long time ago, actually in 1976, a visionary person, teacher, scientist, leader, whose name is Buckminster Fuller made an important statement. Maybe some of you know who Buckminster Fuller is, In 1976 he was in his eighties. He was an older gentleman. He told an audience that he was about to say the most important thing that he had ever said in his long career. He was going to share the most important thing he’d ever said, so everybody perked up. I heard about this from a person who was there in that audience, a person who I find very inspiring. This woman related Buckminster Fuller said that the world was in a particular moment and that the world had passed an important threshold. It was now possible, because we’ve learned to do more and more with less and less, so that it was now possible for everyone to have enough resources to live a happy and productive life. He said that scarcity was no longer the truth. It was now possible for everyone to live a healthy and productive life. There was a sufficiency of resources. It was not an insufficiency. It was not a you or me world anymore. It was a you and me world. We both can have enough to live a happy and productive life. He said that had happened. Yet it would take fifty years for this idea of sufficiency to really permeate the consciousness of society because the institutions of society, the churches, the schools, the government were still steeped in that idea of lack and scarcity. They were all going to have to evolve. It would take about fifty years which would put it about 2026, about nine more years, but we are getting closer. So I think it is actually taking hold.
We actually do live in a world of enough. We need to let go of these ideas of scarcity. Scarcity is actually with us a lot. A Course in Miracles tells us that too. In the Miracles Principles, it says the miracle, “… corrects or atones for the faulty perception of lack anywhere.” (OrEd.Tx.1.42) Any perception of lack is actually a broken perception. It is faulty. It isn’t the truth. Think about that. Scarcity permeates so much of our consciousness, that there is not enough.
The woman that was listening to Buckminster Fuller, is Lynne Twist. She has been around for a long time. She spearheaded The Hunger Project for the EST organization a number of years ago. She has a whole ministry now – though she probably wouldn’t call it a ministry – she has a whole teaching around lack and sufficiency – how lack is a lie and sufficiency is the truth. She has what is called a Law of Sufficiency, or the Principle of Sufficiency. I really like it so I’m going to say it. As I said, her name is Lynne Twist. She teaches a technology called The Soul of Money, or Fund Raising from the Heart. This is it. This is the Law of Sufficiency: “When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is all that we’re all trying to get more of, it frees up an immense amount of energy ...” She sometimes calls this “oceans of energy,” “... to make a difference in what you have. And when you make a difference with what you have, what you have multiplies.”
Let me say that again, “When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, which is all that we’re all trying to get more of, it frees up an immense amount of energy, oceans of energy, to make a difference in what you have. And when you make a difference with what you have, it multiplies.” So that’s all that I’m challenging people to do, you to do – to make a difference with what you have, to spend a dollar of day from what you have for healing, for something that you really want, for love, for miracles, for expressions of love. Move your dollar to that area instead of towards consumerism, instead of towards hoarding, cluttering, and more storage lockers which is just struggling to get more of what we don’t need. Free up that energy. Make a difference with what you have, and then what you have will multiply.
Contact us. Join The Healing Team. I need healers; we need healers. That list goes out every day and new things get added to it. People find it tremendously supportive. We get emails and testimonials of healing and I share those with the team as well. I’ll share some of those with the people here after the Gathering. It’s a great thing to do. We would love to have you as a part of The Healing Team.
I’ll end with just one more quote from A Course in Miracles. “Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time, and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself.” (OrEd.Tx.24.52) If we want to know ourselves, if we want to know God, we have to see the healing of the Son, all of us, and the world, as all we want to do here. Devote a little of your energy in this direction. Join us. Dedicate yourself to healing with us. We welcome you. Amen! (applause) ♥
Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC's 20th minister. He currently serves as the CMC's Executive Minister (03.25.2020). He is also the President of the CMC Board of Directors. He was ordained by the CMC on Oct. 17, 1997.
c/o Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the October 2017 (Vol. 31 No. 8) 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.