Category Archives: A Course in Miracles Blog

Time is a Betrayal

A couple of mornings ago I wrote down that sentence to think about; “Time is a betrayal.” At the time I wrote it I was thinking specifically of “later” as a way of deluding myself into believing that “not right now” isn’t a cop out. I find that it usually is just that.

I’m not speaking here of time in terms of “I have an appointment at 10:00 a.m. and I need to plan to make it on time.” I’m thinking more about the things that I long for that seem to fall out of priority in the ongoing-ness of daily life. For me, those things are writing, spiritual study, music, stillness or quiet time, walking… What are the things that inspire you, that make your heart sing? Do they somehow fall into the vortex of “too busy?”

Is there really a shortage of time, or is this very prevalent notion just a cover for something else? I bet we all have had the experience of finally getting to the gym, or whatever that thing is that we haven’t been able to make time for, and being surprised to find that everything else somehow gets done, and perhaps even more easily and efficiently. Or have you ever given yourself over to a creative project that has been languishing at the bottom of the to do list and found that time suddenly disappears all together?

What if time really is just a construct of our mind, a setup that we act out in daily life as if it is an unalterable reality? There are so many references to time in the nomenclature; late, too late, early, always, forever, sometime, never and on and on. It is kind of amazing to think how completely how we see or use the concept of time influences practically every thought and certainly most actions – the very warp and weave of our lives. It bears looking into, no?’

In my study and practice of A Course in Miracles I have come to understand that I have a split mind. One side of my mind is adamantly attached to my identity as Nancy Slocum, a separate and distinct individual trying to do her best in a difficult world. The other side of my split mind holds the memory of Oneness, my home in the un-separated state of Love, or God. Whatever our chosen path or the name we have given to this memory, once it has awakened within us it recollects the experience of eternity, or timelessness, and it feels like the truth.

I have learned that, with a great deal of practice, I can sometimes view myself bustling about in the world, while I watch from that place of timelessness. I shake my head and wonder about the disparity between what I perceive and act out in my life, vs. what I know from a direct experience of something greater than myself.

I have seen that Nancy Slocum likes to feel important and seeming overly busy shores up that perception. It also becomes clear that certain things that scare me, or that I don’t want to take responsibility for, are quickly relegated to “later.” In fact, most things that seem to be hard to do, or to face, easily fall victim to “not enough time.”

Moreover, I see how resistant I am to actually giving myself what I say I want. Clearly, I am threatened by the things that are for me, that actually bring me home to that memory of all encompassing love, outside of time and space.  It would appear that I’m determined to maintain my version of my separated self at almost any cost, peace and freedom be damned! And that’s why those things are squeezed out by time. That’s where it becomes a betrayal of my Self.

Even “now” is a concept of time but paradoxically, it seems the only one that can jump the confines of it. Right here, right now is the only place that I can have the experience of timelessness, the direct knowing of limitlessness, of oneness with eternal love.

I hereby take a stand for me and for you, if you so desire, to claim one hour a day from the saboteur of time. One hour to be present only in this moment. One hour to relish tasting what has seemed to be forbidden fruit, plucked away by time. One hour of freedom and adventure into Self. And we’ll see what happens. I expect to be amazed.

 

 

 

 

My Dream Of Me

I am in an unfamiliar place, floating in time and space, giving myself day after day of being home alone. I thought of mom earlier and remembered how much she liked being on her own, and how jealously she guarded her independence and her space. It used to hurt my feelings when I visited.  Now I’m noticing how I’m gradually becoming more and more like her, wearing my old, worn, comfy clothes and wanting to be alone without any intrusions.

Many years ago I spent a fascinating and valuable weekend in the Landmark Forum.  One thing I learned is that most people tend to fall into one of four universal “rackets” (a persistent complaint plus a fixed way of being). Our racket becomes the lens through which we interpret and experience our world.   The four rackets are (1) Being right/making someone or something wrong, (2) Dominating/avoiding domination, (3) Justifying myself/invalidating others, and (4) Winning/avoiding losing.

Dominating/avoiding domination is the one that had played out in my life.  For as long as I can remember, I have gone to great and often painful lengths to not be controlled by anyone or anything.  I have invited people into my life and then resisted their being there.  I have defended against imagined demands or manipulations. I even resisted things I wanted to do if they had morphed into “shoulds” and I felt dominated by them.   

I was chagrined to realize that the other side of the coin (my side) of resisting domination is being dominating. Not a pretty picture. My stories of me have certainly always ended with me being the conqueror. That “other,” the oppressor/perpetrator, was necessary for me to be the heroine of my avoiding domination drama.  I have required a victimizer from whom to defend my kingdom.  I even defeat myself if I am requiring anything of myself.  The dominator and myself are one.

Thankfully, A Course in Miracles has taught me that I am not my story.  This “racket” that I lived for a long time is an archetype born of my illusion that I ever could have separated from Oneness, or God, or Love, or whatever name one gives to what cannot be named.  If I exist as a separated self, then it is at the expense of Oneness (which can only be One), so I must have killed it off.  For that imagined “sin”, there must be a vengeful God, a power struggle, a slayer and a slain for me to exist. What a relief to know that it is all made up!  I have been at home in God the whole time.  

A Course in Miracles has taught me that I have the power to choose between two completely different thought systems, one that is the illusory dream that I am separated from Love (the ego thought system), and one that is the Reality that I never could have separated from Oneness (the Holy Spirit’s thought system).  The ego thought system will have me anytime I’m not being vigilant and allow myself to drift aimlessly into the illusory world.  I can throw myself into the briar patch at will!  But why?  There’s no amount of suffering or penance that I need to go through to be forgiven, to be worthy of love.  Nothing happened!

There’s nothing wrong with liking my solitude, wanting stillness and quiet.  But this story of my kingdom of me feels crimped and miserly, a fairy tale about an crabby, old witch in her run down cottage in the woods. This all-about-me-ness became a prison of my own making.  It is only when I’ve forgotten that I have a choice that I think I need to be walled-up in my citadel of defensiveness, protecting my illusory separated self.  But, no matter, I can simply choose again.

This abundance of solitude, time, and stillness provides me the opportunity to learn to watch my mind, to notice if I’m awake and choosing, or dreaming and believing my dream is real. The only reality is this holy moment, moment by moment, of experiencing the love that I never left, love that extends, and is creative, limitless and eternal.  This peace, the peace of God, is always available, never changing. A moment in my right mind.  All I need do is gently watch without judgment, and ask Holy Spirit for help when I’ve temporarily nodded-off into another dream of me. 

Transforming Defensiveness Into Love

I was working with a couple yesterday who I will call Ted and Lea for the purposes of this article.  Ted genuinely wanted to find a way to face angry criticism from Lea without reacting to what feels to him like a personal attack.  He wants to be there for her, to respect and care about her feelings, even when they are ostensibly about him. A tall order to be sure and one that requires more than a mere behavioral change to pull off successfully.

In a recent class at the Foundation for a Course in Miracles (facim.org) my teacher, Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, said that “You cannot judge someone when you understand them.”  Ted would be wise to beware of interpreting Lea’s motives, for he is seeing through his own filters that are most likely seeking to justify the reaction that he is already experiencing.  However, if Ted simply notices his reaction to Lea’s criticism as his reaction, rather than imagining that he knows what is really going on with her, he has a better chance of staying open and feeling compassion for her. 

A Course in Miracles says that “Every loving thought is true.  Everything else is an appeal for healing and help regardless of the form it takes.”
(T-12.I.3:4&5).  This means that every thought that does not come from a loving place is a call for help, which includes Ted’s defensiveness as well as Lea’s complaint.  If you look deeply into every thought that is not from love, you will find that it comes from some form of fear. The thought that gave rise to Lea’s attack or Ted’s defensiveness in the first place is actually a thought of fear masquerading as anger, blame or whatever.

If loving thoughts are the only true thoughts, it follows that every other thought is false. A Course in Miracles goes on to say that “…if you see attack as the call for help that it is, the unreality of fear must dawn on you.  For fear is a call for love, in unconscious recognition of what has been denied.”    (T.I.8:12 & 13). Love has been denied.         

When Ted reacts to Lea’s upset with defensiveness, he is reinforcing both of their fears that seem to have temporarily obscured love.  They have forgotten who they really are, beings of love, and have become caught up in the painful attack/defense cycle. They are digging ever more deeply into their fears in a vain attempt to find love there.

If Ted can learn to simply notice, without judgment of any kind, that his own fear has gotten triggered, he can then manage his reactions instead of being swept away by them.  This pause in the action creates the possibility of making a different choice.  It would be a good time to ask a power greater than his own self to “Please help me see this differently.”

Just in the asking, Ted has made a decision for love instead of for fear and he will be able to respond to Lea with kindness. That kindness could look like just listening, offering understanding, asking how to help — whatever would be responding to her call for love rather than to her upset.

There’s an old saying that only one person gets to go crazy at a time and whoever gets there first has dibs! When either Lea or Ted chooses love instead of fear, they both have the opportunity to see the unreality of their fears as they dissolve in the face of love. A potential descent into the attack/defense cycle has not only been averted, but translated to love, the only thing that was ever true. 

And better yet, Ted and Lea’s relationship has now become an opportunity to practice transforming fear into love.  This practice will eventually generalize to disarming fears in all areas of their lives. “The veil that you have drawn across the face of love has disappeared.” (A Course in Miracles, T.I.9:11).

Who wouldn’t want that?!