A Course in Miracles Lesson 108

Near the end of ACIM Lesson 108, the course proposes an interesting equation: the measure of joy, peace and love that we receive is equal to the measure of joy, peace and love we give.

On that view, the cause of our unhappiness or discontent is our unwillingness to extend happiness and contentment to others.

Another way of saying this is that if we view the world in terms of what it can give us – if other people, places and things are valuable only in terms of what we can get – then our unhappiness is guaranteed.

This happen when we separate giving from receiving. Rather than see them as one movement (which they are), we set them up as discrete actions in both time and place. Giving precedes getting. And, because they are now separate, we can judge them as good or bad, preferable or or not preferable.

Lesson 108 intimates that if we want to be happy, then we need to realize that giving and receiving are the same and cannot be separated in terms of cause and effect or preferred and not-preferred. When this is clear, our only objective will be give love, because love is all that we want to receive.

The sameness of giving and receiving is not obvious at the level of the body. At that level, they are obviously different. To get a slice of pie is not the same as to receive a slice of pie. Loss and gain are meaningful to bodies. Sacrifice means something.

Yet it is possible to see that the happiness we feel at receiving a slice of pie and the happiness we feel at giving someone a slice of pie are the same. And that sameness is a clue; it points to something that is worth learning.

There is a light in which all things are seen as equal, and attention to this light allows us to pass quickly through the many forms of differentiation in order to arrive at what A Course in Miracles calls the “One thought, completely unified” that serves “to unify all thought” (W-pI.108.5:1). This is not a mystical process but a pragmatic healing.

This is the same as saying one correction will suffice for all correction, or that to forgive one brother wholly is enough to bring salvation to all minds. For these are but some special cases of one law which holds for every kind of learning, if it be directed by the One Who knows the truth (W-pI.108.5:2-3).

The idea here is that there is a light in which it is clear that giving and receiving are the same. Our work is to perceive the light rather than to work out an intellectual understanding of how giving and receiving are one movement. I mean, we can work that out in that way, but intellectual understanding doesn’t readily generalize. It’s a relatively narrow and constrained form of healing. And effective generalization is a critical aspect of the healing contemplated by A Course in Miracles.

. . . when this special case has proved it always works, in every circumstance where it is tried, the thought behind it can be generalized to other areas of doubt and double vision. And from there it will extend, and finally arrive at the one Thought which underlies them all (W-pI.108.6:2-3).

When we see that giving and receiving are one, then we can use that vision to undo other apparent splits.

So Lesson 108 invites us to close our eyes and practice giving what we would like to receive: love, peace, patience, kindness, joy, laughter, gratitude . . .

What happens? This is where the lesson has some special value, in my experience. In the actual application of the lesson, do we experience love and joy and peace to the degree that we want? Not the idea of love, joy and peace but actual love, joy and peace?

I think most of us, if we are honest, will confess that while we are perhaps getting a whiff or joy or a hint of peace or a trickle of love, we are not awash in the eternal and infinite flow of them.

If we can say that, then we can take the next step and see that this is because we are not giving the eternal and infinite flow of love, joy and peace. And so we remain stuck – in ways that are perhaps subtle and hard-to-see – in the kind of seeing that insists giving and receiving are separate.

This is a valuable insight! Properly accepted, it leads to humility, and in humility our practice begins in earnest because it becomes fundamentally honest about its shortcomings. Of our own we can do nothing. We can’t even see the problem clearly, let alone solve it.

Thus we become students whose posture of learning is most amenable to the Holy Spirit’s instructive intervention. We become faithful because there is no other option that we can see. We are not spiritual experts but beginners.

And yet our beginning is also our end, for in it we are joined with out Teacher and with all our brothers and sisters. Our shared “classroom” is transformed into a manifestation of the One Love which is our shared identity. What we learn is what we are because just as giving and receiving are one, so are having and being. Thus we relax in “the perfect safety of God,” where “inclusion is total and creation is without limit” (T-6.V.C.10:9-10).

A Course in Miracles Lesson 121

Forgiveness is the key to happiness.

I want to talk a little about what can happen when we do the lessons of A Course in Miracles. There is a tendency to write or share about the lessons as if there is only one way to learn – using Lesson 121 as an example – that forgiveness is the key to happiness. But this is not true. The daily lesson meets us where we are, and goes with us as far into healing as we are able to go.

Application of the ACIM daily lesson is by definition a personal experience. It occurs in the context of our own need for healing which, because we are invested in a world of differentiation, including the bodies within that world, is always different from that of other students.

The lessons are effectively starting points, and although there will almost be certainly be similarities in terms of where we end up and how we get there, the pathway of healing is never perfectly identical.

One of the critical concepts underlying Lesson 121 is that forgiveness in A Course in Miracles is a learned skill, one that we have to practice and get good at. It is not inherent in the mind, which “cannot sin” (W-pI.121.6:1-2).

As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, Who represents the other Self in you. Through Him, you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear (W-pI.121.6:3-4).

We study – and then practice – how to overlook the appearance of separation in order to learn that in Mind, which is the undivided will of God, there is no separation. We are doing this in the explicit context of bodies in the world. In practice, it resembles learning how to swim or meditate.

The lesson invites us to look at three “individuals.” The first is someone with whom we are angry or hate or just plain refuse to acknowledge (all of which are forms of fear), the second is a friend, one that we cheerfully identify as an ally, and the other is our own self to whom the first two appear.

Our goal in looking at the first person – the so-called enemy – is to find in the image of them a tiny spark of light that we can then magnify, so that the one we hate might be perceived in love.

When I do this, I often see literal sparks around the subject’s eyes. Or – in the specific instance I am thinking of as I write – their hair becomes whiter than driven snow. Sometimes I project a halo around them, a soft golden glow like the Catholic church used to paint around a saint’s head.

Often – and, again, I am recalling a specific example from my practice here – a second “enemy” will appear beside the first. They are different people and I am hostile towards them for different reasons and yet – in my anger, in my fear, in my resistance – they are the same. Indeed, they sort of merge – the one as close to the other as a shadow.

As I gaze at them, I realize that the “light” to which Lesson 121 refers is not a literal light (like sparks or a halo) but rather is the light in which these two individuals appear. I am thinking here of Lesson 92‘s emphasis on strength.

Strength . . . keeps it steady gaze upon the light that sees past [appearances]. It unites with light, of which it is a part. It sees itself. It brings the light in which your own Self appears . . . The strength in you will offer you the light, and guide your seeing sothat you do not dwell on idle shadows that the body’s eyes provide for self-deception (W-pI.92.4:2-5, 9:1).

Even with my eyes closed I can “see” in this way.

When I shift this “light” to my friend, the difference is instantly clear. My friend – a man who stood by me at my wedding, with whom I attended law school, et cetera – is bright and luminous. It is easy to see him. The light is large and steady.

Yet when I shift back to my so-called enemies, they are dim and cramped and shadowed. This interior light – this strength – clearly treats the two images differently.

When I bring the images together – allow the weaker and stronger lights to merge – I became distracted. I start thinking about dinner plans, when I have to pick up my daughter, and so forth.

And when I tried to see the friend and two enemies extend their shared light towards me – when I try to allow myself to appear in this light – I grow deeply fearful and resistant. I open my eyes. Is the the ten minute lesson over yet? Only halfway? That’s good enough, isn’t it?

If you look closely at the text of Lesson 121, you will see that what I describe here is not precisely what the lesson instructs us to do. Yet it is precisely what happens when I do the lesson. The distinction matters.

In the moment when I cannot bear to be gifted with the light of strength, which is the light of Love, I see briefly yet with utter clarity – as in a lightning flash – the “unhappiness” which characterizes a mind that believes it is capable of sin.

That is, I see precisely the unhealed mind which Lesson 121 says is the very mind in which all my living is enacted.

The unforgiving mind is in despair, but without the prospect of a future which can offer anything but more despair. Yet it regards its judgment of the world as irreversible, and does not see it has condemned itself to this despair. It thinks it cannot change, for what it sees bears witness that its judgment is correct. It does not ask, because it thinks it knows. It does not question, certain it is right (W-pI.121.5:1-5).

What an apt description of my anguish and confusion! And – especially in the last two sentences – what a concise and accurate description of my approach to – or refusal to approach, really – “healing.”

And so I come back to the lesson in a state of humility and desperation. I close my eyes again, and give attention to what happens. I see how scared I am of my “enemies,” certain that they want to hurt me. In this light, I even doubt my friend. What if he talks to my enemies? What if he agrees with their judgment?

How quickly the mind which believes it can sin – and thus believes that other minds must sin – makes a mess of itself. How far away the possibility of healing seems.

I breathe deeply, smile at the messiness. I let it be. “You take over Holy Spirit. I can’t figure this out.” And what do I get? What happens next?

I get a bit of peace because I no longer judge myself for failing to do the lesson correctly. I get a little clarity that it’s okay to be a learner, a beginner even. I relax into the posture of a student who trusts his Teacher.

Critically, I get a sense that I deserve the happiness that comes with healing, and resolve to continue my practice, however half-assed and imperfect it might be. Throughout the day I remind myself that “forgiveness is the key to happiness,” and that what I am in truth is neither mortal, nor fallible, nor full of sin but rather “the perfect Son of God” (W-pI.121.13:6-7).

Is this enough? Is this the learning A Course in Miracles anticipates?

Yes. It is. Our work is not meet our interior standard of perfection but rather to let that standard go altogether, and allow a new Teacher to set a new standard. That Teacher becomes our guide – evaluating us, offering helpful prompts, reminding us of this or that insight, introducing new study partners or curricular aids.

In this light – which is the light of Love, whether we are ready to see it as such or not – our learning has but one outcome: the shared happiness of all God’s children.

Pacing in the ACIM Daily Lessons

The early lessons of A Course in Miracles go slowly, the one building on the other in ways that can feel so slight as to be almost negligible. We might long for the express lane to awakening, or a path that appears less obtuse. Yet both the pace and the logic of the progression of the ACIM daily lessons builds a strong foundation for healing at the level of mind.

The sixth lesson of A Course in Miracles is a good example of this: “I am upset because I see something that is not there.”

We are not consistently happy. Our sense of peace and joy is always compromised. If we are not hurt or angry or guilty in one moment, we may well be in the next, and so a sense of impermanence always threatens even our happiest moments. Lesson Six of A Course in Miracles is an invitation to deepen our understanding that both our distress and our fragile inner peace are illusory because they they are premised on a wrong idea.

If we can reach that wrong idea, and see its ineffectiveness, then we can replace it with a better idea, which is to say, we can begin to re-learn a joy and inner peace that are not conditional.

We think that we are angry because so-and-so stepped on our toe. Or because it rained on our picnic. We think we are depressed because our preferred candidate didn’t win election. We think we are scared because the world isn’t taking the climate crisis seriously.

That is, we notice our feelings and we identify their cause. Absent the cause, we wouldn’t feel the way we feel. And the causes are always outside our control. I can’t fix the rain, I can’t cast more than one more vote, I can’t keep the world from stepping on my toes.

Lesson six does not deny the law of cause-and-effect, nor the way that it appears in our lives, but it does suggest that we reconsider our certainty that the external world can actually function as a cause. We are asked to name “the form of the upset (anger, fear, worry, depression and so on) and the perceived source very specifically” (W-pI.6.1:2).

This specificity is what allows us to anchor the lesson in a personal way (these are my feelings), and also in a way that feels logical and rational (this is the world I live in). The lesson’s effectiveness – and the workbook’s overall effectiveness – is strengthened by this.

For example, we might say “I am angry at my boss because she doesn’t recognize how much overtime I give to my job.”

Or, “I am depressed about my marriage because my partner no longer expresses much interest in me.”

Or, “I am scared because I don’t have enough money to pay next month’s property tax bill.”

To the ego – that is, to the habitual thought patterns that characterize our thinking minds – these seem like reasonable statements. Who would disagree?

But to each them, without qualification or conditions, Lesson Six adds: “I see something that is not there” (W-pI.6.1:4-5).

That is, the actual cause of our upset is not the named external cause but rather the fact that we “see something that is not there.”

In other words, both the form of our upset and the apparent cause are illusions. We think they are real – they certainly seem real and feel real – yet they are not. We are getting worked up literally over nothing.

But not quite nothing! For so long as we accept fear and guilt and anger as a part of our reality – to be judged good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable, to be mitigated, resisted, et cetera – than those experiences will remain real for us.

Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you. It is your acceptance of it that makes it real. If you enthrone the ego in your mind, your allowing it to enter makes it your reality. This is because the mind is capable of creating reality or making illusions (T-5.V.4:1-4).

Thus, lesson six allows us to begin undoing what we have accepted into our mind. We look at the specific forms of our upset and distress as well as their perceived causes, but beyond that – as the lessons and our study and practice progress – we are undoing the very idea that what we are can be vulnerable at all.

. . . God created you as part of Him. That is both where you are and what you are. It is completely unalterable. It is total inclusion. You cannot change it now or ever. It is forever true. It is not a belief, but a Fact. Anything that God created is as true as He is. Its truth lies only in its perfect inclusion in Him Who alone is perfect. To deny this is to deny yourself and Him, since it is impossible to accept one without the other (T-6.II.6:2-11).

Accepting this as our actual identity feels like a big step and, as we currently think and live, is is, but keep in mind that we are not called on to make it either alone or all at once. Indeed, the Lessons of A Course in Miracles aim at gently but surely correcting our thought process so that accepting our oneness with God does not feel like a big or scary or dramatic step. Rather, it feels natural. It feels like saying “yes to what already is.

To that end, Lesson Six is a gentle nudge to look more closely at our thinking, and to consider that it may not be working very well. That’s really it. We are getting tied up in knots over something that’s not there. We are like children panicking over a nightmare, unable to discern that it was only a dream (e.g., T-6.V.2:1-5).

Giving our attention and energy to the order of the workbook lessons, we begin to perceive the light that wakens us and, in time, to perceive that the light is us. As we accept that our egoic thinking only perpetuates anxiety, depression, fear and guilt by virtue of a confused application of the law of cause-and-effect, we naturally make space for a healthier way of thinking, one that allows our natural happiness and love to extend themselves in perpetuity.

On Understanding and Lesson 3 of A Course in Miracles

The third lesson of A Course in Miracles asks us to declare that “I do not understand anything I see . . .” (W-pI.3). I want to say something about this lesson, mostly arising from my own experience of being a course student. Perhaps it will be helpful.

As human beings who are social and whose social communion arises primarily in our languaging, we make meaning and our meaning-making is premised on understanding. At any given moment, our experience “means” something and more than not we “understand” it. If we understood less or less consistently, then there wouldn’t be any experience, personal or otherwise. In a sense, to be bereft of meaning is to no longer be.

This is to say that we don’t have to be taught over and over what the growling in our stomachs is or what will quiet it. Faced with a cliff we turn back rather than leap forward. Every object in our world appears already-named, already-contextualized, already differentiated from the background.

Does this make sense? In a very basic and fundamental way, we are quite functional and this functionality seems to arise from understanding meanings that appear to be pre-given or at least already there. Our experience is always shared (it includes both animate and inanimate others), always meaningful (named, contextualized, differentiated), always anticipatory (there’s a future for which we must provide),and always re-membering (there’s a past which taught us how to handle the present and provide for the future).

But the perceptual and cognitive tools by which this dynamic and vivid experience appears are incomplete. Clearly they do not reveal a whole but rather a sequenced composition of parts necessary to the observer’s continuity. We get what we need. Critically, these perceptual and cognitive tools do not consist of a 1:1 correspondence with some external reality. Your goldfish can’t sleep in your bed, your cat could care less about Emily Dickinson poems, and you can’t persuade a cheetah to go vegetarian. The world is not fixed or pre-given but actively and continually constructed by observers; indeed, the world is its observers.

The upshot of all this as it relates to A Course in Miracles – forgive my long-windedness – and its lessons is that when we encounter words we translate them according to a context of which we are at best only partly aware. This “translating” and this “awareness” (partial or otherwise) are pre-intentional; they just happen. If you think they don’t, take a look at the word “Jesus” and don’t recognize it or attach any personal or historical or theological meaning to it. You can’t. You aren’t built that way.

So, when I began to study A Course in Miracles, I did so intellectually. I read it over and over, read all the secondary material (Wapnick, Singh, Williamson, Renard et cetera) I could get my hands on, took notes, turned those notes into essays and published them, talked with other students and teachers both online and off, correlated ACIM ideas with other spiritual, religious, philosophical and psychological traditions, took positions on contested issues . . .

That kind of study is quintessentially “Seanish.” It’s what this particular “I” does and it’s how this particular “I” does it. More to the point, generally speaking, it’s functional. It works. It’s fun, it’s nurturing, it’s dialogic, it’s sexy (at least I find it sexy when it appears in others so I assume it’s sexy when I do it) . . . so, generally speaking, it’s how living occurs. Not a lot of reflection precedes it. It feels right and natural. It feels given. It’s me being me; I just do it. Why not?

But in saying that, I am implicitly saying something that Claire Petitmengin recognizes as a challenge to clear thinking and communication which in turn complicates – sometimes painfully – our living together as human beings called to bring forth love.

[Since] our cognitive processes are the most personal and intimate things about us, we think we are familiar with them, and cannot imagine for a moment that any particular inner effort should be necessary to become aware of them. . . [Yet] not only do we not know that we do not know . . . we believe that we know.

Is this clear? We don’t know that we don’t know, and we don’t know what we don’t know. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that we believe we know and so we never undertake to learn in a meaningful, transformative way. If we already know, then what is there to learn?

This is a universally human experience, but it can be especially acute in overly-verbose smarty-pants types like myself.

My early experience of the course lessons was shaped by the conviction – largely unseen and unchallenged at that point – that I already knew. The course was not new information so much as a reorganizing of principles and ideas with which I in my scholarship and mental wizardry was already familiar. It wasn’t the cake but the icing and I was already a pretty good baker.

So when the lesson said “I do not understand anything I see,” I assumed I understood what those words meant and cheerfully did the lesson. But that assumption was the very problem the lesson was given to address!

Thus, I was in a very important and consequential way blind to the course even as I “practiced” it.

My awakening as such began when at last I could read that lesson and rather than “do” it as I “understood” and “knew” it, stop and ask: “wait – is it true that I don’t understand anything I see? That can’t be right. Is it right? Oh my God it might be right . . . “

At that juncture, with that question, learning begins because I am no longer specifying the outcome or answer. I am giving attention to the experience without qualifying it. I am not “assigning” meaning but rather seeing what meaning, if any, will naturally arise. I am receptive and open (if trembling and tentative). I am assuming the posture of a student. I am making inquiry from a state of epistemic humility. I don’t know what will happen and I am letting that be okay. If only for a few seconds I am suspending my inclination to know and be certain in order to simply be.

And it turns out this simply being is a process – a form of becoming – that enfolds us into one another and into the world, and the other and the world into us. To the extent we are able to sustain our attention to this process, then our learning as such transitions from a goal-oriented exercise to the lucid tranquility of awareness itself.

Our being – never still, never quiet, never discrete – yields to our becoming, which shapes and alters our being, which yields to our becoming, and so the processual, recursive nature of our experience continues. We are, so to speak, immersed anticipatingly, recursively, becomingly, livingly, that is, enkinaesthetically, with our world (Susan A.J. Stuart).

When I don’t know, and I know that I don’t know, then learning begins. Receptivity and generosity begin. In this beginning this way, I am no longer a teacher. Love is the teacher.

And here is the thing: Love’s classroom scares me. The human classroom intrigues and inspires and excites me but, because Love’s classroom doesn’t give a rat’s ass about scholarship or IQ or effort, it scares the crap out of me.

If Love didn’t scare me, then the course would not be a helpful or necessary corrective, and this public writing (which is in a sense a kind of atonement) would not be necessary either. You are probably here because you, too, are scared of Love, though this fear no doubt shows up – is described – a little differently for you.

Yet here we are, learning what it means to be in love, and how to be in love, which is to say, how to bring forth love, together and apart, for all the world that our living together brings forth. I would be remiss if I didn’t say I am grateful, especially since so much of my living suggests I’m basically not even aware of you, let alone loving you in a way that saves us and our world.

In my experience, A Course in Miracles is not about ending our spiritual search/psychological quest for wholeness/philosophical yearning for Truth in some ultimate or final sense but rather about making a better beginning. It taught me how to be humble and thus open to a way of thinking and being that at times still feels deeply unnatural. And yet.

That is all I mean when I say I have moved on from A Course in Miracles. It ended the foolishness and loneliness of delay which arose from misplaced confidence in personal knowing and shallow insistence on the sufficiency of becoming better. It nudged me gently but surely into a light which, oddly enough, you embody. But – equally oddly – you only embody it as I see it in you. And vice-versa.

Thus, absent you, no me. Absent me, no you. Our shared love – tender and tentative as it may be, dim as it sometimes seems – is literally the light of the world. I saw it the moment I knew I wasn’t seeing it: and you were the one that I saw.

A Course in Miracles Lesson 188

The peace of God is shining in me now.

Lesson 188 of A Course in Miracles is part of a sequence that aims to deepen our commitment to our practice by undoing specific obstacles to that application – casualness, stubbornness, specialness and so forth.

In Not One, Not Two, Francisco Varela points out that we can only experience what corresponds to our organization. We are human! So we cannot experience living and world as ants or maple trees or Beluga whales. We can imagine those beautiful lives and those fascinating worlds but in doing so we are still just human observers. We are still just experiencing what our organization allows, in this case imagination.

But there is a paradox here, says Varela. Somehow, despite our perceptual and cognitive limitations, we are sometimes able to perceive a whole, a nonduality that transcends the personal and subjective – and separative, the dualistic – nature of our own being. How does this happen?

I cannot but take as consistent the fact that socially so many different cultures and individually by so many routes, these leaps of experience can occur and are quite isomorphic . . . I am assuming that mind as the unity of the conversational domain of the biosphere (i.e., mind-at-large, or mind proper) can be experienced, and further, that more or less all of us have experienced it (Varela Not One, Not Two).

Varela appreciated that this kind of thinking – for him located in a scientific, rational and logical domain – was naturally and positively analogous to religious and spiritual thinking. Indeed, his work was often about bridging those two domains in ways that were advantageous to both.

Thus, for me, it is helpful to consider Varela in tandem with A Course in Miracles. The effect is harmonious.

A Course in Miracles points out to its students that a sure way to miss the peace of God is to actively seek the peace of God.

Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all (W-pI.188.1:2-4).

That is, we already are the peace of God but, in our zeal and ambition for spiritual growth, divine bliss, self-improvement et cetera, we actively overlook that peace. To seek outside the self is to fragment the self, because one already is that which is sought.

The peace of God is shining in you now, and in all living things. In quietness is it acknowledged universally (W-pI.188.5:5-6).

How then shall we come to this quietness? How shall we reach that space in which “honest thoughts, untainted by the dream of worldly things outside yourself, become the holy messengers of God Himself” (W-pI.188.6:6)?

Well, if we are students of A Course in Miracles, we will come to the daily lesson, seasoned by our study of the Text. We come not out of a duty but because it is a gentle and consistent means of opening a sense of the sacred, of making manifest that love that is naturally brought forth in our living.

To spend quiet time with the Course, morning and evening, is essential . . . Reading the course slowly is a holy undertaking . . . To be a serious student of the Course requires integrity, discrimination, and a deep sense of responsibility. But miracles and holy instants will open the way (Tara Singh Nothing Real Can Be Threatened 54).

In this way, our practice of the lesson becomes a prayer that informs our day, a giving of attention that quiets our hyperactive brains and restless bodies.

The peace of God is shining in me now.
Let all things shine upon me in that peace,
And let me bless them with the light in me (W-pI.188.10:6-7).

Notice that the light – the peace of God – in this prayer is reciprocal. It is not only in us but in all things. Notice too that the prayer evokes a responsibility to extend a blessing to all things. Attention is a gift – to us and from us. Attention is the blessing we extend to the world which in turn attends to – and blesses – us.

The shining in your mind reminds the world of what it has forgotten, and the world restores the memory to you as well. From you salvation radiates with gifts beyond all measure, given and returned (W-pI.188.4:1-2).

The mutuality inherent in those lines is not an accident. When seen clearly, it utterly undoes the sense of specialness that pervades our sense of being separate and personal and individual. What appears as discrete and separate is, when perceived and cognized seen in the light of love (the peace of God), remembered as one.

. . . the dual elements become effectively complementary: they mutually specify each other. There is no more duality in the sense that they are effectively related; we can contemplate these dual pairs from a metalevel where they become a cognitive unity, a second-order whole (Varela Not One, Not Two).

I am not suggesting that folks must read Varela or study constructivism or phenomenology, any more than I am suggesting folks ought to become students of A Course in Miracles.

I merely point out a way in which – for me – peace and happiness are revealed in a sustainable and ongoing way. The lesson, as such, lies in accepting the ACIM maxim that “it is we who make the world as we would have it” (W-pI.188.10:3), and the Varelan insight that “a change in experience (being) is as necessary as change in understanding if any suturing of the mind-body dualism is to come about.”

The obstacle to be surmounted in this process is nothing less than the cognitive homeostasis of each of us, the tendency to stick with our interpretation of reality, entrenched and made stable by emotions and body patterns. To work through this veil of attachments, and to see (experience) reality without them is part of the process of unfoldment (Varela Not One, Not Two).

Thus reading, thus writing . . . thus unfolding and infolding . . . and thus the rambling prayers I make in our shared voluble cheerfulness.