the middle way
Group Hugs are essays written by Mary Claybon expanding upon the Course In Miracles lessons studied in group meetings.
To receive upcoming essays in your email box on a regular basis, please contact Mary and put GROUP HUGS on the subject line.
What is it about this election that is stirring us?
Regardless of who you voted for, it is a given fact that you think you are right about your choice and that the winner is either a winner or is a loser in your mind. This sense of self-righteousness is destroying our peace of mind and ability to truly practice according to the Holy Spirit and with a holy peaceful mind. This is a great opportunity for observing our resistance to all we are being taught in 365 daily lessons as we study A Course in Miracles.
Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. Yet as we say these words, read these words, meditate on these words, we sit with a sense that either the threat will be minimized because we voted for the right person or all can be threatened with a sense of doom because the right person did not get voted in. What this is clearly telling us is that we don’t believe or trust the Holy Spirit/Right Mind and that we must not let go of our own right mind. The world, the environment, our bodies, our attachments are being threatened and fear prevails. This fear feeds our anger and resistance to a still quiet voice within that has no preferences and sees all as included within the heart of the Holy Spirit’s thought system. We think we know exactly what is going on and that we can control it by demonstrating, resisting, or supporting. Either way, taking sides, puts us in a place of separation and righteousness or helplessness and hopelessness.
“It’s all gone a be all Right!” is what the Holy Spirit will teach us if we listen. You may be guided to march or call your governing representatives or work on a campaign. If this is done with the Right Mind you may be in a position to promote peace, joining, and calm. If we can operate on the principal that we don’t know anything and that we trust in an inner guidance, we may be surprised at how effective we are as a healer and teacher.
We finished Chapter 19, The Attainment of Peace, with the words Free your brother here, as I freed you. Give him the selfsame gift nor look upon him with condemnation of any kind. See him as guiltless as I look on you, and overlook the sins he thinks he sees in himself…Here is the rest and quiet that you seek, the reason for the journey from its beginning. Can we rest? Do we trust the quiet?
The crucified give pain because they are in pain. But the redeemed give joy because they have been healed of pain. Remember the lesson- if pain is real there is no God and if God is real there is no pain. What do we believe is real? The world? The world was made as an attack on God and is reflected by our attack thoughts-either our attacking others or our feeling that we are attacked.
You came this far because the journey was your choice. And no one undertakes what he believes is meaningless. It seems hard to carry on this journey of trust sometimes when the world seems so threatened. Remember all we are being asked to do is nothing with our own small ego mind, but everything with the Right Mind as our guide. Trusting the Right Mind will lead you to do great things that will not heal the world, but rather the perception of the world we see with all minds joined.
If healing is our one goal and we all come together for that, healing will occur.
Living A Course in Miracles
For the last month or so I have been working on a Group Hug about living this Course in Miracles. As we begin the year it is helpful to reflect on what this Course means to us and how we can truly live it. This Hug encompasses some of the responses I received when asking people how they lived the Course.
When I am living the Course:
- There is “No Sense of Urgency.” I know that if I am rushing or tripping over my feet to do something or get somewhere, I am thinking with the wrong mind. When we are guided by Holy Spirit timing is just right. There are no accidents or interruptions.
- Life progresses with a “A Sense of Flow.” We learn the lessons we are meant to learn. Teachers and students appear. Everything becomes a teaching moment and all challenges are our classroom.
- I have “The ability to forgive in an instant.” I can call on the Holy Spirit to help me see things differently at all times when I feel tense about something I have said or done or judged someone else. Forgiveness is the key to happiness and regardless of what just occurred, I can always see a situation instantly through forgiving eyes.
- I feel a huge weight off my shoulder. We do nothing alone. We always have a full partner holding our hand, guiding our step, smiling and loving us totally.
- There is a true a sense of joining instead of separation. I begin to see myself in someone else’s shoes or see us both in the same shoe, on the same path. I don’t have to be right. I can admit I am wrong about everything I think I know.
- I can stay curious rather than knowing. It is so freeing to simply be a participant observer rather than a problem solver. I can listen more and speak less.
- I respond at a slower pace and with “ less reactivity.” As I practice the Course lesson by lesson, I am reminded to rest, take quiet time, be in the moment, meditate, and be mindful. This practice reduces a quick defensive response. I do not need to perceive threat or attack, but rather at times fear and a call for help.
- I am able to laugh at myself and situations instead of taking everything seriously. It is all a silly mad idea. Let’s not forget to laugh. Laughter and lightness are healing.
- I am in the habit of asking for help instead of jumping to respond. Thinking with the Holy Spirit/Right mind is a choice and if we make this choice to decide to give Holy Spirit control, we will experience a gentle guidance.
- I am accepting of what is remembering it’s all perfect.
- I find I have less preferences, still some, but very aware of how I can let life unfold instead of me thinking I know what is best.
- I give because all that I give, I give to myself. There is a gift in giving and I no longer have to be thinking about “getting back” or the laws of reciprocity.
These are just some of the ways we can live the Course. Living the Course is not reading the book or carrying it around. Living the Course is being the lessons, practicing the lessons, and using every opportunity in life as a teaching/learning moment.
Here are some of the responses I received when asking others how they live the Course.
I become an observer from a distant land, whether watching or reading the news. ACIM provides me with daily nourishment, along with meditation and energy healing. But its The Course that gives me the information needed to achieve long term solace. Lesson 284: I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. Lesson 281: I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts. Lesson 286: The hush of Heaven holds my heart today. In You has every conflict been resolved. And I become peaceful by those reminders.
Let peace begin with me.
The best way I have found to live the Course is to be conscious of my thoughts and feelings; otherwise I would “waste time” with past or futures thoughts or miss forgiveness opportunities.
Use the defense/attack lessons almost daily to stop me from doing the “dance” of using judgmental thinking of defense/ attack.
The lessons help me are #135 ( If I defend myself, I am attacked)and # 153 (In my defenselessness my safety lies.) I then know that this is the reality that I do not want and shift into waking up from the dream into peace/peaceful thinking.
As we begin the new year of study and living the Course, I invite you to send me your favorite lessons and ways you “live” A Course in Miracles.
Happy New Year!!
Why Are We So Attracted to Sickness, Pain and Death?
When the Buddha was a young man he ventured out of his blissful abode and for the first time witnessed someone who was sick, someone in pain, and someone who had died. Attempting to heal his mind of these images and perhaps thinking he could heal the world (probably not so lofty at the time), he lived with the forest dwellers who meditated all day, begged for food, and pretty much got nowhere other than erasing all images from their mind.
Siddhartha (young Buddha) realized something was wrong with this picture. He began to reenter the world “the Middle Way,” and started teaching the Four Noble Truths: We will suffer in life. Suffering is caused from our attachment to this world and this life. You can get rid of your suffering. Give up your attachments and follow the Eight Fold Path of Rightness.
How does this fit into A Course in Miracles. The Course teaches that the world is a projection of a mind that thought it separated from God and is riddled with guilt. That guilt has to go somewhere and thus we have a world full of pain that we try very hard to make pleasurable. We have a world where we get sick and die and our thoughts often are preoccupied with how we feel physically, how to get well or get through illness or just give in and realize death is inevitable.
We do whatever we can to make the world a better place, yet the Buddha was right, nothing here is permanent. The Course teaches that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists. The illusion of a fearful and suffering world, although rock solid reality to us, is simply that—a result of wrong thinking coming from the ego that constantly keeps us in the dark and hopes we never lift the veil to see that it’s all a movie we project on a screen. We have a choice to live side by side with the Holy Spirit, keeping us in Right Mind and reinterpreting our perceptions to a mind that is healed and at peace.
In order to truly live Right, we must bring all of our thoughts to Holy Spirit where the world and all our relationships are forgiven. What is being forgiven? Everything we ever thought could be separate. Now guilt is replaced with forgiveness and fear is replaced with love.
We needn’t sit in meditation to erase our thoughts, but rather by asking to see with true perception we can function in the world, but with never-ending guidance of the Holy Spirit, and thus we may still happen upon pain, sickness and death, but will be guided as to what to do, say or be in such situations that would be most helpful for healing.
Our reading The Incorruptible Body (Ch 19, C.i) tells us that sin and guilt and death came from the ego and are totally in opposition to the Will of God or the peace of Heaven. This is a tough section in that it uses the metaphor of the funeral procession as a dedication to the body. You have another dedication that would keep the body incorruptible and perfect as long as it is useful for your holy purpose. The body no more dies than it can feel. It does nothing. Of itself it is neither corruptible nor incorruptible. It is nothing. This section essentially tells us the body has one purpose in the dream and that is communication in holy relationship and awakening from the dream of separation, sin and death, the silly mad idea that we separated from our Source-God-Heaven. Death is but a dream. Life is forever and not reliant on a body. Time is an illusion. If we truly align with the Holy Spirit and this belief system peace of mind would be our only goal and the result of right-minded thinking. We no longer would fear death, nor worship it. Death like the body would be nothing.
You will still visit friends who are sick and may appear to be dying. You will still attend funerals, but with a new inner vision that let’s go of what you thought you knew about death and instead comes from a source of innocence and peace being guided as to what to do or say (if anything). Here you are focusing not on the body, but on the mind and not on the form, but on the content. How it looks can be varied but how it feels will be peaceful.
So after all of his meditation what did the Buddha gain? Nothing, but he did lose his anxiety about suffering and death. He realized the body is nothing but a shell and that time is eternal. Most important is living with the purpose of joining and forgiving and peace instead of conflict.