Unconditional Holiness

On the other hand, why not pick up A Course in Miracles?

When there is a sense of seeking – and of one who is doing the seeking, who is in charge of the seeking – then means and methods will appear as well. This is natural and availing oneself of those means and methods is okay. It’s more than okay.

Attachment to the means and methods – this is the way and the only way – begets conflict. But resisting means and methods when one is naturally drawn to them also begets conflict.

It is not necessary to take a stand for or against that which appears. So we are students of A Course in Miracles – so what? We could as easily be Zen acolytes or Catholic novitiates or sparrows on a tree in somebody’s yard.

Abraham Joshua Heschel said that “simply to live is holy.” This is such a lovely statement! It makes clear that holiness is uncontingent and unconditional. Heschel does not qualify “live.” He does not say to live “rightly” or according to the tenets of this synagogue or that church or as a vegetarian or anything else.

Being itself is holy. It is all the holiness there is. Nobody and nothing is required to complete it, just as nobody and nothing initializes it.

Perhaps seeking does not end when one finds what is sought, or learns the answer to some deep and complex question, but rather becomes comfortable with not knowing, with resting in peace with the impossibility of conclusions. Means and methods come and go; goals and outcomes come and go.

Somebody recently shared a saying from Shunryu Suzuki. He said that if one begins zazen with a goal of getting something – enlightenment, say, or inner peace – then they are involved in “impure practice.”

Perhaps. But can we also see that the possibility of an impure practice necessarily begets the possibility of a pure practice? The two are not separate. Can we see how Suzuki’s well-intentioned and compassionate directive implies that a pure practice is more desirable than the alternative and so itself becomes a goal?

There is no way out of this duality! That is the mystery, the joy, the paradox, the confusion and the utter, almost annihilating, frustration. There is only this. Not getting it is as impossible as getting it because there is nothing to get. Not seeing it is as impossible as seeing it because there is no “it” to see. Nor is there some central being or self for whom all of this might resonate or make sense.

There is nothing either correct or incorrect with saying or writing this, nor with reading it, nor even with adopting it as a stance against the inexpressible puzzle of existence. But please see that whatever one does can never obliterate the fundamental truth: what this is I cannot say, but that it is is beyond question.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Cheryl Williams March 30, 2016, 10:24 am

    I have this friend, Sean, who was standing in the middle of a creek one day — a place he considers and calls paradise — and thought “None of this matters.” And at the same time “This is paradise.”

    Dealing with some of my ego’s most intense fear-raising issues at the moment, I am caught in the push-pull of thinking. Seeing my resistance and knowing I must drop my resistance to free my Self . . . keeps bringing me to my knees. And yet, I am beginning to see (because thought keeps dragging me back to that beginning, or very close to it), that this thought of a “me” that must be a certain way is keeping me in a Hell and that this same “me” remains so terrified that an even bigger Hell will break lose and destroy me if I let go.

    So I keep moving back and forth, back and forth, fear to love, love to fear . . . to let go of seeking peace long enough to see, as my friend did in that moment that “None of this matters” and “this is paradise.”

    And, through it all, there is the small self that waits . . . as though everything has to fall into place a certain way before fear will fall away, not trusting that fear will fall away when I no longer believe everything has to be a certain way.

    “. . . utter, almost annihilating frustration” indeed.

    • Sean March 30, 2016, 1:26 pm

      The dance of the me’s . . .

      That fear of something worse is so potent. On some level, we know we have to let go, we have worked through the rationale and all of that, but we can’t be sure that we aren’t just jumping into some hotter pan or the actual fire. And we’ll never know until we jump! What a cruel dilemma . . .

      The funny thing is – or maybe can be funny, at certain apparent points in the process – is that there is nothing to let go of nor – in the ultimate sense, any one to do the letting go. There is just seeing the dance, knowing that no “me” is going to solve or end or absolve the dance because the me is the dance, and so eventually we just turn away . . . If I’m going to be crazy, I might as well look at clouds or watch Seinfield reruns or whatever.

      But this self or me comes up and comes back because it’s just part of the show, or just another appearance, of whatever language one is comfortable with. One can get very intense and deep about these things, and that’s fun and interesting, but I was also remembering the other day a line from John Denver’s Looking for Space: “If there’s an answer, it’s just that it’s just that way.”

      I love the ambiguity of that line – there may or may not be an answer, and if there is an answer, it may just be very plain and undramatic – this is just how it is.

      Anyway, I often feel that you know all this, and are just hanging around to keep everybody else honest until they’ve seen the light, too. So thanks, Cheryl. I need the help 🙂

      Love,
      Sean

  • Eric April 2, 2016, 10:16 am

    Sean: Somebody recently shared a saying from Shunryu Suzuki. He said that if one begins zazen with a goal of getting something – enlightenment, say, or inner peace – then they are involved in “impure practice.”

    Perhaps. But can we also see that the possibility of an impure practice necessarily begets the possibility of a pure practice? The two are not separate. Can we see how Suzuki’s well-intentioned and compassionate directive implies that a pure practice is more desirable than the alternative and so itself becomes a goal?

    Eric: That’s the problem with language and I see Suzuki’s statement as something used for brevity, though the term impure may not be the best word to use.

    But at the same time I find it to be correct. Reading certain sites, it is common to hear about attaining enlightenment and it is something that I caution people about. Because what is the person trying to attain? A conceptual idea that they have on what enlightenment is. How can one attain a conceptual idea? They might as well capture the wind. It’s kind of why I don’t bother myself with enlightenment.

    Then there’s enlightenment’s sister, peace of mind. LOL talk about chasing the dragon, especially since most of us when we think of attaining peace of mind, we’re looking to our outside environment to attain it. And that is a recipe for failure.

    And yet, I find the paradox to be that when feeling mental tension, if I mentally step back and am still enough to just look and simply look at my thoughts, I find that both the thoughts and the one who’s looking have no deep seeded (though not grammatically correct, in this instance I prefer it over deep seated 🙂 ) roots. It is in that small moment, that now, that instant, that there is peace, even in the presented conflict. The mind is above the battleground so to speak.

    I am reminded of a passage in the course that states:

    You could live forever in the holy instant, beginning now and reaching to eternity, but for a very simple reason. Do not obscure the simplicity of this reason, for if you do, it will be only because you prefer not to recognize it and not to let it go. The simple reason, simply stated, is this: The holy instant is a time in which you receive and give perfect communication. This means, however, that it is a time in which your mind is open, both to receive and give. It is the recognition that all minds are in communication. It therefore seeks to change nothing, but merely to accept everything. ~ACIM

    Eric: Well I’m blabbering on again. I better get ready to go mow my lawn. 🙂

    • Sean April 3, 2016, 7:03 am

      After enlightenment, mow the lawn . . .

      It is the problem with language! Language is always a trap so long as one wants to use it to escape or end dualism. However, if one uses it to point rather than declare or assert, then it can be helpful. You and I can’t eat the word “bread,” but we might use it to point towards that which *can be eaten.

      The point is that Shunryu Suzuki is right when he talks about “impure” practice and he is also wrong when he talks about “impure” practice. A Course in Miracles is right when it states that purification is a necessary precondition to miracles and it’s also wrong when it states that purification is a necessary precondition to miracles.

      And Sean is right when he says that “the point is that Shunryu Suzuki is right when he talks about ‘impure’ practice and he is also wrong when he talks about ‘impure’ practice” and Sean is wrong when he says that “the point is that Shunryu Suzuki is right when he talks about ‘impure’ practice and he is also wrong when he talks about ‘impure’ practice.”

      There is no doubt that Suzuki knew this and was simply adopting a teaching style – a use of language and communication – that in his experience was most helpful to students (which, clearly, it was).

      How can we say someone’s “enlightenment” is false? How can we say that it is true? It may appear false or true from a relative position but isn’t that just an appearance?

      For example – to use the ACIM hot button – I find Gary Renard to be distracting and redundant. He’s an R-rated Ken Wapnick, and Ken Wapnick will always be the best Ken Wapnick. However, lots of people find Gary helpful. Reading him was certainly helpful to me, though not necessarily in the sense of thinking “this guy’s got it.”

      If someone asks me about Gary, I’ll share my experience, but at the same time, there is no sense that my experience is “right” or “wrong.” It’s just an appearance that may or may not be helpful, in ways that may or may not be obvious.

      Again, I don’t think you and I are disagreeing here so much as refining given modes of expression, for which I am – always – grateful.

      ~ Sean

  • Eric April 3, 2016, 1:01 pm

    Well yes, that is a hot button topic. You already know how I feel about Gary’s story. I believe his story is deceitful, and not simply because I just believe that, but because there is so much pointing to in all likelihood that this is so. Does it matter if one is being deceitful if it helps others? I don’t know. Though I have seen many examples of people “helped” by Gary either be cruel to others not in “the know”, but also attempt to exalt the course above other paths. Not to mention the spiritual bypassing running rampant with level confusion of the Absolute with the relative. 

      Isn’t it ironic that Ken Wapnick often called course students some of the worst people on the face of the earth?  Yet he overlooked the fact that it was his teachings along with Gary’s that helped facilitate the very attitudes that he found to be repugnant in a lot of course students. So to hear that the course is “faster” than other paths from Gary and his fan club is rather amusing to say the least.

      I know you corresponded with Ken in his last years and I’m sure that he was a very nice person, but I found Ken to have an uncanny ability to disconnect and/or dissociate himself and what he said. i could maybe say that Ken helped me to at least keep interest in the course in my early days, but while there are certainly things that I agree with him on the course, I found through many reads of his books, along with the many reads of the course itself, that he took many liberties.

      Despite his assertions that he didn’t interpret the course, (which is an absurd statement within itself), the fact is he did interpret the course, like everyone else. And unfortunately, it was that arrogance in which he decided that he was going to attempt to quash any other interpretation of the course except his own and implicitly set himself up as the high priest, and FACIM as the course’s orthodox church. It really seemed that what surrounded the course was so much lighter before Ken was given the copyright. I’m thinking of the books of Jampolsky, Singh, Walsh, Vaughn, Prather, etc. How serious it became when the copyright was turned over from FIP to FACIM. 

      Followers of both Ken and Gary repeat their sentiments that people are trying to make the course a religion, and yet, it seems that both Ken and Gary have attempted to do just that. Ken through legal action, and Gary through the mouthpieces of his “ascended masters”. Thankfully, at least, Ken lost the copyright so that more than his voice or those who fell in line with him could share their ideas of the course, whether one agrees with them or not.  

      Is Gary helpful? Who knows. I suppose he is helpful to me to show discernment and not throw out critical thinking in the name of “spirituality”. It is helpful that I do not take anything at face value, not even ACIM. Yet, Gary has also attempted to set himself u as the premiere teacher through the mouthpieces of his “ascended masters” by stating that only he and a few others are the only ones really teaching the course. He also attempts to exalt the course above other paths with his “ascended masters” stating that at least one certain path will “not get you home” and spoke about others as moving furniture around a burning house.

      It’s ironic that followers of Ken and Gary repeat what they say with the phrase let not theology delay you and yet use it as a measuring stick for “getting it”. 

      I find Ken’s theology to be very concrete thinking with the idea that the Son of God is some literal super persona instead of merely the abstract metaphor of Life itself. I also find Ken to be like the theologian spoken of in the course, who spoke of a light, but emphasized the distance, with his “pure non dualism” theology that is rather dualistic. 

      I know this is probably not the direction you would have liked this conversation to have turned, but it is probably one of the main reasons I have begun to distance myself from the course.

    Eric 

    • Sean April 5, 2016, 8:05 am

      Hi Eric,

      It’s $300 + for an unsigned copy . . . you can’t imagine what signed copies goes for. . . 🙂

      Is it possible to step back from the intense feelings about Gary Renard and simply see that it’s a question of perspective? That was really my point. This person sees it this way and that person sees it another.

      Before we argue who is right and who is wrong, or whether “right” and “wrong” are even possible, can we just see the presence of the relative viewpoints?

      You could compare it to looking at a mountain. From a few miles out, I can hold up my thumb and “blot” the mountain with it – hide it from my field of vision.

      Yet at the base of the mountain, the mountain blots everything from my field of vision. My thumb covers only the tiniest fraction of it.

      The mountain never changes but perspective is always changing. If I argue that “mountain” is small enough to be hidden by my thumb I am “right” from my relative position of a few miles out but “wrong” from another perspective.

      In the same way, one can have an opinion about ascended masters, or Ken Wapnick, or the helpfulness of ACIM, or this or that “enlightened” person, and one can be quite sure and emphatic about their opinion, but it will always be a relative position.

      There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, or sharing it, but it is important not to confuse a relative position with absolute truth. All conflict arises from that confusion.

      It is helpful to ask whether it is possible to take a position that is not relative.

      From the perspective of the organism and/or the egoic belief system, the answer is no. One can sense the whole – one can sense the limitation of perception – one can sense the fragmentation inherent in the relative first-person view – but that’s it.

      The most thought can do is see that it can never reach or grasp the whole. It is forever trapped in its relative position.

      And the self – the holy grail of being – is itself just another thought, another memory, another stitched-together narrative of that which is always shifting.

      Given all this, how can one assert or believe or call real anything that arises from/through perception?

      Whatever one “says” is always a relative position and always includes by necessity its opposite – as well as myriad positions along the spectrum between opposing poles.

      When one “sees” that perception is inherently illusory – not false or evil but illusory – then what is there to argue about? Long path or short path or no path, Gary or Ken or Tara Singh, Sean or Eric, apple pie or blueberry . . .

      Perception will always take its stand. It will always give the impression of a discrete self to whom things happen and who causes other things to happen. It will always argue “this” is what is “real.” It will always project goals and means to achieve them.

      We don’t have to undo these and we don’t have to choose amongst them – how could we? The self is just another illusion. An illusion choosing an illusion over an illusion . . .

      The course may or may not be a useful tool for coming to clarity or recognizing oneness or whatever, and Gary/Ken/Tara Singh may or may not be useful teachers for learning and studying the course, but their relative appearance is not the truth.

      Being right or wrong about the battle, doesn’t mean the battle ends. The invitation in A Course in Miracles seems to be to leave the battleground altogether, to realize that leaving it is actually possible, and then see what happens.

      ~ Sean

      • Eric April 7, 2016, 8:20 am

        Sean: Is it possible to step back from the intense feelings about Gary Renard and simply see that it’s a question of perspective? That was really my point. This person sees it this way and that person sees it another.

        Before we argue who is right and who is wrong, or whether “right” and “wrong” are even possible, can we just see the presence of the relative viewpoints?

        Eric: But Sean, don’t you see, that is what I am saying. I’ve never said that I didn’t interpret the course or that other’s perspectives of the course wasn’y their perspective. I’ve always said that EVERYONE interprets the course. I’ve never said that the course was/is truth. I’ve always said that the best it could do is point the way. 

          I think you know I am fairly open to different perspectives, as we have spoken about different authors, books, and paths many times.

          I’m not speaking about different interpretations or opinions of the course. I’m speaking about when people hold their opinions and/or interpretations up as Truth to the point where they proceed to attempt to quash other people’s perspectives/opinions/interpretations. 

          As I said before, I’m glad that Ken lost the copyright lawsuit, so now people can share their perspective/opinions/interpretations, whether I agree with them or not. Your ability to write about the course for the years that you did (your long path, as you used to call the course your path), might not have been as freely written as you wanted had Ken retained the copyright.

           That is not really as  hyperbole a statement as it may appear, as I have spoken to various author/teachers who have told me the cease and desist letters they received from Ken’s lawyers with the threat of legal action. Robert Perry told me that he had written a book and was not able to publish it until ACIM was made public domain.

          So this is not just about different perspectives. This is about people confusing their perspectives as Truth and then trying to impose this truth onto others by attempting to either oppress the other person’s ability to express their perspective and/or use “higher beings” as the trump card of authority that they are not simply coming from a point of view, but are pontificating Truth. 

          I certainly do not want to fall into the “spiritual” trap of seeing the relative as  essentially irrelevant compared to the Absolute.  That then can breed apathy in the form of spirituality or the attempt to wear the “spiritual mask”. Unfortunately, this approach has led teachers abuse their power and manipulate and abuse well meaning, but impressionable people. Sai Baba, Osho/Rajneesh, the numerous Zen teacher scandals of the 50’s and 60’s, Adi Da, etc. These happened, because people let it happen in the name of spirituality. People I supposed wanted to fit in or maybe thought it wasn’t “spiritual” to speak up about it.

           This is where I think we differ Sean. I think people need to speak up about things such as this. When one is most likely being fraudulent about something, I don’t want to simply re-brand it as a perspective, because it isn’t simply that. It is dishonesty, and through that, manipulation. Speaking up about things such as this doesn’t mean it has to be done in a hateful manner, but discernment and critical thinking of the relative doesn’t need to be thrown out the window due to the Absolute.

           The issue of gay marriage is of the relative level and people certainly have different perspectives of it,  but when someone uses their religion as Truth and then proceeds to attempt to quash the rights of another with that so called Truth, I am going to speak up about it.  

          My relationship with my daughter is of the relative level, but if someone attempted to hurt her, I guarantee that there would be conflict. 

          Yes, I can step back as see the flow of things, the rising and falling of the ephemeral. I can see the mind become concrete with opinions. I can look at the self and see that there really is no anchor, no real roots to it. I can see the thoughts come and go. I do see all of that. 

          Yet, I have not transcended the relative, as the relative is within the domain of the Absolute. They are not separate. 

           I remember listening to a religious scholar and Buddhist practitioner speaking about westerner’s confusion on some of the Buddhist teachings. He said that this was due to the fact that the English language wasn’t as rich as the Pali and Sanskrit language of the Buddha’s days. One of the confusions in the Buddha’s teachings was this idea of detachment. The scholar said that this wasn’t a very accurate translation and said a more accurate translation would be correct engagement. That to me makes more sense. Whether I am correct or not, the world is an illusion or not, I am engaged. There’s always that darn 3rd step. There’s mountains and rivers, there’s no mountains and rivers, there’s mountains and rivers. 

        Take care,

        Eric 

        • Sean April 10, 2016, 7:42 am

          Hmmm . . .

          The thing is, when we assert that we have to speak up and correct people who, in our view, “think that their view is the right view” then we are ipso facto asserting that our view is the right view.

          “There are no right views only relative views” becomes the new right view – or right “interpretation” – that needs to be asserted and defended.

          It is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.

          But no body is exempt from this! It’s a trap that is inherent in first person perception and there is no way out. That is why the course teaches students that they don’t have to correct their brothers and sisters but rather accept them as they are.

          [Your brother’s] errors do not come from the truth that is in him, and only this truth is yours. His errors cannot change this, and can have no effect at all on the truth in you. To perceive errors in anyone, and to react to them as if they were real, is to make them real to you (T-9.III.6:5-7).

          All we can really do is give attention to the uniform equality of perception – including the appearance of right and wrong, and the appearance of hierarchies (my family, my spiritual path, my political views, my country etc), and perhaps especially the appearance of the decider, and then see what happens. Do they hold up? Are they really there? If they aren’t, what is?

          Perception is always a symptom of the underlying error: the belief in a self with agency who is at stake in the world and needs to take action to protect and defend itself. This can be very subtle. Ken was fond of paraphrasing the course: the only problem you have is that you think you have problems.

          When it is seen that there are no rights or wrongs, and no self to choose between them, what happens?

          Ken was not my teacher but Ken understood and taught this aspect of the course very well. Nobody is saying that perception won’t take its stand – it is inherent in the illusion of separation – but that doesn’t mean we have to align or stand with it. Within the illusion of choice, we can choose to be “above the battleground.”

          Once we see that it’s all illusion, then what is there to step up and speak out about? There is no right, there is no wrong and there is no body to be right or wrong.

          “Mountains and rivers, then no mountains and rivers, then mountains and rivers” does not mean that conflict continues. The apparent activity goes on – perception and experience go on – but since there is no body doing it or making it all go, then conflict ends.

          A relevant Zen story might be the one where the monk is accused of fathering a child. “Very well,” he says, and raises the child. Twenty years later, the biological father comes and admits that he is the father and wants his child back. “Very well,” says the monk.

          Agency is an illusion. “It’s all interpretation” is an illusion. “It’s all illusion” is an illusion.

          Someone wiser than me will no doubt ask why continue to engage in what is perhaps becoming a heated exchange if it’s all an illusion . . .

          Good question!

          The answer is that the experience isn’t of “Sean is right and Eric is wrong” or even “Eric is right and Sean is wrong and Sean really really hates being wrong and would rather chew barbed wire than admit it” but rather of perception arising through the apparent intellect in a subtly clarifying way. The distinction between “my” position and “your” position is pretty granular and a lot of what is appears as difference is simply the natural space that opens up any time we use language to try and get closer to the Infinite (or Ineffable or whatever).

          Or – to be less fancy – I am not trying to correct you here. The dialogue facilitates a helpful and no doubt necessary clarification of “my” thought and its expression and I am accordingly grateful for it.

          Thank you for helping me.

          🙂

          • Eric April 10, 2016, 9:56 am

            It’s not about simply a person’s point of view. It is to take one’s view as Truth and then proceed to attempt to quash other people’s point of view in the process.

            Ken attempted to quash other people’s point of view and thought his interpretation was not interpretation, but fact. And then he proceeded to attempt to quash other people’s point of view with the threat of legal action. So I cannot really see how Ken was a good teacher in the aspect of the course you are talking about, unless you’re speaking of an example of what not to do.

            Ken also found course students to be some of the worst people on the face of the earth. Something he said many many times. By Ken’s standards, it seems that the course is not all that effective in helping heal the Sonship.

            It’s not just about being right or wrong. It is about actually attempting to stifle other people’s points of view.

            Sean, let’s say I disagree with what you write here. OK, that’s fine, we have different points of view. But what if I had the ability to make you take this site down so you couldn’t write about your point of view? See, that’s not simply a matter of points of view and perceptions. I’m attempting to take away your voice and free will.

            I have spoken to Robert Perry about certain ACIM topics and there are things he says that I do not agree with, but we still hold a cordial conversation. He’s not attempting to quash my point of view, nor am I his. He’s also not attempting to tell me that if I don’t see it his way, then I’m really “doing the course” as Wapnick always did.

            In fact, Perry has said that he could be “wrong” about certain things in the course because he has been “wrong” before and that certain interpretations have changed over time.

            I don’t know how clearer I can be when I say that I am glad that Ken lost the copyright, so that people could share their point of view about the course whether I agree with it or not. Because what I am saying is it’s not about simply whether I agree with your point of view or not, or David Hoffmeister’s or Earl Purdy, or Liz Chronckite, or Paul Tuttle, or Robert Perry’s, or Ken Wapnick’s, or Tara Singh’s, or Jerry Jampolsky’s, or Robert Walsch’s, etc.

            It is about the ability to express one’s point of view.

            And as far as Gary. It’s not so much about his point of view, because as you said, he is essentially a rated R Wapnick. I just find Gary’s story to be dishonest.

            Eric

          • Sean April 12, 2016, 6:43 am

            Thanks Eric.

            We are talking about two different things here which makes it difficult to have a fruitful dialogue.

            It’s like one of us is investigating by what means should we travel to Boston and the other is arguing that Boston sucks and we should go to Hartford instead.

            Nothing is right or wrong with either approach but they are contrary to one another, despite the appearance of a relationship.

            In the tradition of ACIM, Husserl, Bohm etc. I am trying in my half-assed way to look at the structure and function of thought – in this case, opinion/interpretation.

            I am not interested in debating the specific content of that opinion – up vs. down, Ken vs. no-Ken, etc.

            From here, the interesting inquiry is not into what opinion one holds but into the underlying belief that said opinion is real (and thus capable of being right, being defended, etc.).

            There is no desire here to persuade you or anyone that Ken is right or wrong, or that vanilla is better than chocolate, etc.

            There is a desire to look closely at the mechanics of thought – especially beliefs, positions and opinions &c – and see what, if anything, happens, can be learned, etc.

            Again, Bohm & Husserl are instructive – and Schucman, in her way – by focusing not on specific instances but rather on function in the abstract.

            The analogy might be to measuring tidal flows. One can prefer low tide to high and from the relative position have very persuasive reasons for feeling that way.

            Yet that opinion is not a measurement of the tide nor a description of its function.

            No suggestion is made here that this approach to ACIM (or thought or mind) is the only way to go. It’s “a” way to go. If it’s fun and interesting and helpful, great.

            If not, that’s great, too.

            🙂

  • Eric April 3, 2016, 1:12 pm

    PS,

    Did you know that your book is selling on Amazon for over $300? Do I have a collector’s edition on my shelf? 🙂

    • Eric April 10, 2016, 9:57 am

      I meant not really doing the course as Wapnick always said.

  • Eric April 3, 2016, 1:19 pm

    I would also add that I didn’t speak of one’s enlightenment to be true or false, only that trying to attain enlightenment itself, was chasing a conceptual idea of it.

    Though for someone to tell me they are enlightened, my mind would probably hit the mute button on what else they had to say. I’ve had a few people tell me they were enlightened, and it was painfully clear, they were not. I think anyone truly enlightened (if there is such a thing) would have no need to tell others to make sure the others knew it.

  • Eric April 3, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Speaking of mowing the lawn, it takes me an average of 2 hours to mow and weed whack my yard. It is surpringly big for a Seattle home. So yesterday as I was mowing my lawn I was listening to Buddha at the gas pump. It’s funny, I tend to listen to these types of things rather than music when mowing the lawn. Anyway, I was listening to a conversation between Adyashanti and another person over his book, “Resurrecting Jesus”. I’m not a big Adyashanti fan, but I found this to be a rather interesting conversation and made me look at Adyashanti in a different light. I only bring this up Sean, because I think you might enjoy listening to it.

    Eric

  • Eric April 13, 2016, 8:14 am

    Sean: We are talking about two different things here which makes it difficult to have a fruitful dialogue.

    It’s like one of us is investigating by what means should we travel to Boston and the other is arguing that Boston sucks and we should go to Hartford instead.

    Eric: Are we really though? Our dialogue was about perception, interpretations, and opinions and confusing these with Truth. This, I think we both can agree on. I think we also agree that the course is not Truth, but at best can point the way. I think we also agree that the course is not the end all in spirituality, but is merely one form of the universal curriculum.

    What then seems to appear as talking about 2 different things, is when I bring up the fact that Ken confused his interpretation with Truth, and then proceeded to attempt to quash, to the point of legal threats, other people’s voices to express their interpretation as he felt this “soiled” the Truth that he expressed. He attempted to set himself up as the high priest and FACIM as the course’s orthodox church.

    It seems it is at this point you balk and don’t want to either acknowledge or deny this, so instead you attempt to steer the conversation back to the relative vs. the Absolute, to interpretations and opinions, etc.

    I’m not sure why, but I can speculate that since you had dialogues with Ken in his last years, you may hold an image of him in which these facts seem to conflict with that may make you feel uncomfortable. This maybe the reason. It may partially be the reason, or it may not be the reason at all. Like I said, it’s speculation.

    But to use your analogy, it is like investigating what means to travel to Boston, and having one person say that only “this way” will get you there, and all other ways will not. And not only that, the person attempts to make sure you cannot travel to Boston any other way, but the way they claim is the only way.

    My criticism of Gary is not just about his outlandish story, though I will admit that when you can find more holes in it than Swiss cheese, it certainly is partially the reason for me. To be honest, I find Gary and his fart joke middle school level humored “ascended masters” to be an embarrassment to be associated with ACIM.

    But besides what I have already said, my criticism of Gary is also his idea that only he and a few others are the only ones actually teaching ACIM. He is carrying on the dogmatic and fundamentalist torch that Ken started.

    Do you know there are many people who make some rather extraordinary claims that they are channeling the same Author of the course? Paul Tuttle, Carpenter, Haskell, Ferini, etc. And I do not believe their stories any more than Gary’s. But what they don’t do is attempt to claim that their interpretation is the only interpretation. They don’t attempt to quash other people’s points of views that I am aware of. I may not agree with some of the things they say (I have read some of each author), but they are simply sharing.

    And that’s my point. I agree with you on everything I mentioned at the beginning of this reply, and I’ve given examples of when people do confuse their interpretation with Truth and attempt to impose it on that person.

    Which is why I am glad that Ken lost the copyright. He was able to voice his opinion and freely speak of his interpretation of the course, and yet he attempted to take away that very same ability from others. Whether I agree with someone or not, whether “right or wrong”, at least the person has the ability to freely share their interpretation and experience of A Course in Miracles.

    Eric

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