All Roads Lead to Heaven

It’s Fall now – my favorite season of the year – and as busy a one as I can remember. We are making sauerkraut and kimchi and putting up apples. I’m back at the college, teaching a handful of English and writing classes. The kids are back into their homeschooling routine. The leaves are turning.

I started studying A Course in Miracles in the Fall (many years ago now). I ordered the book in October, received it around Halloween, and began to read and do the lessons in early November. By the time the snow flew, I knew that I had found the spiritual path for which so much of my time I had been searching. It’s nice when that happens.

Nice, yes, but also hard. A Course in Miracles – if it is the right path for you (and it isn’t for everybody, nor should it be) – is demanding. A few months after I began studying (in late Spring actually), I discovered Tara Singh. In the light of his teaching, my practice became very devoted and intense. I think for a lot of students I’m a pain in the ass, but I mean well. I’m just doing what feels right and is most helpful.

The course is – as its name suggests – a course. We are allowed to approach it like students. The more willing we are, the more humble we are, the more open we are, the better our learning experience will be. Miracles meet us where we are – psychologically, culturally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – and then takes us as far as we are able to go.

Slowly we reassess our lives. We see what works and what doesn’t. We make adjustments. Slowly we turn inward. We reach that point where “[m]en have died” (T-31.IV.3:4) and like the maple tree facing winter keep going. We hunker down, turn inward, and trust the light and the rising sap. There are laws that we follow – very simple ones, very generous ones. It takes time to see this but that’s okay. It’s not a race. And the end is sure.

You can not escape from what you are. For God is merciful, and did not let His Son abandon Him . . . There is no path that does not lead to Him (T-31.IV.11:3-4, 7).

I remember this in Fall, wandering around the fields and forests, sitting by the lake, working through the garden. You see the colors and the light and no longer confuse it with what is merely external. Your mind is changing: what is beautiful becomes more so and all you can see is what is beautiful. Truly, what else is there? So you open a little more. You take another step down Basho’s “Narrow Road to the Interior,” enter Dickinson’s space between “the form of Life and Life,” and meet Frost’s secret at the center of all our dancing.

I stood today in a whirl of falling leaves and thought with respect to Heaven “it cannot happen soon enough” and heard that still quiet voice within say “it already has . . . it already has.”

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Cheryl September 25, 2013, 4:15 pm

    Funny, this morning I was thinking about my path to the Course and how it coincided with my discovery of the writings of Rumi. Finding Rumi, seemed at the time, just one of those things. My older daughter had just started college away from home, and I had decided to e-mail her an inspirational quote each day. That led to a wonderful introduction to sages, mystics, poets and the occasional irreverent wit. (thank you, George Carlin.)

    Like many, my first encounter with Rumi was his “Out beyond ideas…,” but I quickly found myself pulled more deeply into the well of his poetry. It seemed that as I read Rumi, it helped me to understand the Course and as I read the Course, it helped me to understand Rumi. And then, like a rock thrown into a lake, the circles of understanding began to grow larger, encompassing everything from song lyrics to number sequences to license plates. Miracles seemed to manifest everywhere I looked. (It’s like, as you say, “what is beautiful becomes more so and all you can see is what is beautiful. “)

    To bring this full circle, this Saturday, Jessie, my older daughter, went to a local library book sale and brought home a box full of books. I asked if she found anything she thought I would like and she pulled out “The Forty Rules of Love,” by Turkish author Elif Shafak, sub-titled A Novel of Rumi. I don’t know if you are familiar with it, but it’s a novel within a novel, with Northampton, Mass., as the present-day setting. (Indeed, tucked in the book was the original receipt for its purchase – Broadside Bookshop in Northampton)

    Reading it has been another of those remarkable spiritual experiences that come our way when we are ready, but not a moment sooner. I have been blown away. At the same time, I smile and simply say to myself, of course.
    With all that being said, perhaps after traveling down Basho’s narrow road, bridging Dickinson’s space between and discovering Frost’s secret at the center :), we can rest in the grass of Rumi’s field.

    It’s all an inside job, anyway.

    Enjoy the rest of this glorious fall day!

    • Sean Reagan September 25, 2013, 4:54 pm

      I love Broadside Books! Have purchased many books there over the years . . .

      I am familiar with Shafak’s novel – it actually hovers very gently and beautifully in my awareness – but I have not read it. Apparently, the college at which I teach is in it! So one day I will read it but for now I am enjoying it at a distance, kind of like a sunset toward which one walks. It makes me happy to hear about it again. Thank you.

      Yeah, Rumi . . . I got turned on to him decades ago in Burlington, VT, living in a one-room apartment across the street from the homeless shelter (suitable in so many ways for me in those days) and desperately reading and writing poetry and trying to stay sober. I read Bly’s interpretations (Rumi, Hafez et al) scattered throughout his work. I have found the ghazal quite fruitful in my own writing practice, though I haven’t fallen for Rumi the way so many people seem to.

      I think we have to trust those guides, though – whose work radiates both internally and externally. They are like stars in the sky maybe, lights we follow to whatever is next in the landscape. If we are lucky, they seep into our own writing.

      And yes of course – Dickinson, Basho, Frost – one day we must also lie down in Rumi’s grassy fields, blessed by his luminous heart . . .

  • Lynne Murphy September 26, 2013, 1:32 am

    Hi man!yes I did the CIM,,,got stuck at lesson221 and just couldn’t get any further!!!,,,,now I know what it really means,,,,the boat has sunk brother and it is wonderful to drown!!!!(With Ash Ruiz!!)Love u

    • Sean Reagan September 26, 2013, 7:21 am

      Hey Lynne! Love back to you! Thanks for being here . . .

  • Emily September 26, 2013, 5:47 am

    I love Rumi and am glad to be reminded of that here. I got bits and pieces over the years, it always felt good but only recently starts to make sense in terms of the rest of life.

    Sean, thank you for the lovely description of the fall. Boosts me into a high space just reading it. I have not spent fall in New England, but fall in Colorado in my childhood was also stunning.

    Cheers, Emily

    • Sean Reagan September 26, 2013, 7:20 am

      Thanks for reading & sharing Emily! Colorado is on my short list of states to visit some day. I would love to hike those mountains . . .

  • Richard Whiston September 26, 2013, 6:30 am

    Hi Sean,
    Here in Scotland what we like to call Autumn is well under way also, and today we have a blaze of autumn sun which is most welcome. That ‘all roads lead to Heaven’ is an extraordinary thought, my belief in the ego snorts at that idea, posturing and pouting like the baby bad boy it thinks it is, too cool for school man (ACIM). Thanks for the posts and thanks for allowing me to avoid filling in this job application for a few minutes and thus allowing me to return to it again with sincerity, but not seriously ..
    ….have fun….Richard

    • Sean Reagan September 26, 2013, 7:20 am

      Hey Richard! Thank you for writing. I hiked & bummed rides through Scotland many years ago, one of the loveliest countries I have ever seen. My goal was to meet Dougie MacLean and play music with him but I was so easily distracted . . . In those days, all it took was a pub that wasn’t locked . . .

      Sean

      • Richard September 26, 2013, 7:39 am

        Heh… aye Dougie Maclean… hmm .. i spent a new years eve in Dougie’s pub, (the Taybank Inn) in fact i have been to his pub a quiet few times..ahem..in fact i think that’s all i want to say about Dougie’s pub.. Here in Edinburgh there is always a pub open somewhere..
        love the blog – best thing on the net.
        Peace
        Richard

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