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I am still rather amazed at my ability to flip a switch and be bathed in light. Light and light bulbs are truly wondrous inventions.  Power is such an important commodity in our world.

The really powerful Light, however, comes from within.  It is the Light which illuminates truth.  It is most helpful to see the stack of books on the floor so you don’t trip over them, but how much more can you gain from seeing that you’re not feeling appreciated! With that information you can be aware of the ways that you’re not appreciating yourself.  There are simple things you can do to appreciate yourself more like acknowledging yourself, or buying yourself a gift for a job well done.  And before you know it your steps are a little lighter and maybe more sure. You might just be able step over those books without flipping a switch.

The insights we receive from shining our own light inside our heads can change our lives completely.  The effects of it can be profound.  Far more than shedding light in a dark room.  In A Course in Miracles they call this Light a Miracle. Seeing what’s really going on in your head is the beginning of forgiveness.  Leading to nothing less than salvation.

Professor Cox would tell you that the Earth could not sustain life without the light of the sun. Personally, I would be deeply depressed if I lived in one of those countries where it’s dark most of the day.  We thrive on sunlight.  But we blossom by the Light of our inner knowing.

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This came from A Course in Miracles lessons.  It was speaking about how we are “at one” with the creative process and therefore have limitless “power and peace.”

On the surface they appear very different.  Power is strong and forward moving.  Maybe even a tad aggressive.  Whereas Peace is quiet and to itself. Seems an odd pairing.

When you think about it, though, what else do you need?

If you have Power (especially of the creation sort, but the energy as well) you can manifest whatever you need.  All that Power can make you feel empty inside. Sure, I’ve got all this, but what does it really do for me?  Where is the meaning?

Peace keeps you grounded and happy.  With the addition of Peace, simple, unassuming Peace, you are able to see the true effects of your Power.  Experience it on a deeper level, you can nod your head and say, “Ahh, I see now.”  How well they work together!  And how truly powerful you can be with both.

As I am working A Course in Miracles through Chris Cade, I’ve found this intriguing idea: “Forgiveness is our only function.”  This is a powerful notion and something that could change a person’s life forever.  The Course is saying that we all hold the power of salvation in us through our forgiveness.  Is this really all we have to do?  To find out, I thought it would pay to take a deeper look at forgiveness.  What is it anyway?

There are a lot of ways to look at it.  One way is to see it as letting go of the past. Marianne Williamson called it, “a discernment between what is real and what is not real.” In legal terms it means releasing, giving up rights.  Yes, I can see that: releasing the right to hold onto this thing that happened in the past.  Forgiveness is about: healing, renouncing, and setting free – both you and the person or circumstance that harmed you.

It is most assuredly tied to surrender and faith. Forgiveness is a surrendering and acceptance of what happened.  It asks you to surrender, or give up of all the stories you’ve been telling about it over and over.  Releasing your need to be right or justified in your actions.

Forgiveness asks you to have faith that the other is far more than all the things she thinks she is.  Because you know she is more than she thinks she was capable of being when she hurt you.  It’s a leap of faith to say I believe there is innocence in all people.  No matter what they’ve done. To be willing to see through what is apparent to what all of us are at our core: innocent. In many cases it takes faith to see beyond all a person’s stuff to who he really is. To see beyond the offence.

I like thinking of forgiveness as seeing through misunderstanding to innocence or at least understanding. I’ve been tossing around this notion of doubt around forgiveness.  That if you understood that you never need doubt the other’s completeness, worthiness, and innocence, you wouldn’t need to forgive. So it becomes a matter of seeing more clearly, the innocent person beyond, who is just scared, hurt or unknowing.  Just another soul – made of the same stuff as me and the entire Universe.

Neale Donald Walsch warned us that God will never forgive us for anything.  No matter what we’ve done, how we plead and cry and moan.  Because in God’s eyes we have never done anything to forgive.  We, on the other hand, have plenty of work to do in forgiving ourselves and others.  A Course in Miracles talks of  “grievances.”  Our unforgivens are loaded with them.

Maybe this is how God wants to use us: As instruments of forgiveness. What amazing things that can do us and the rest of the world!

Forgiveness lightens our burdens.  Whenever we forgive, ourselves or others, we lose some weight off our shoulders. Life becomes easier.  We can feel safer, more at ease.  Protected.

Forgiveness is extremely healing to the body.  There are those in the healing profession  who say that all illness, of all kinds, is linked to an unforgiven. It’s damaging to our physical bodies to hold onto stuff that should long ago have been released.  There are science-backed reports of those who have been cured by forgiving. Forgiveness is powerful stuff. Anyone who has let go of a big one will testify how healing it can be to forgive.  Perhaps forgiveness is our best medicine.

What a concept that forgiveness is our only function! Something the Dalai Llama expresses so beautifully in everything His Holiness does, no matter what has happened.

I have always fancied the notion that our function is to expand our capacity to love.  I liked that idea.  But isn’t that what forgiving is all about?  Expanding our capacity to love and accept?  And in the process, gaining more clarity.  I feel the best thing you can do for someone else, the way to give them the most love is to accept them for exactly who they are, at this moment. That feeling of being accepted for who you are, not judged for anything, is a pretty groovy way to feel.  Forgiveness does that.  It’s a perfect vehicle for spreading love.

Many people bristle at the notion of forgiveness.  As if it means to condone actions that are hurtful and are otherwise inappropriate behavior.  Maybe they could see it simply as a release of something from your own heart. It is something that happened in the past.  It comes nowhere near saying that it was okay.  (There is a wide gap between forgiveness and trust.)  Just that you are choosing to put it down. To stop telling stories about it.  To stop letting it affect your present moment. Refusing to forgive is all about the other person or thing and what it did or didn’t do to you.  (Or the horrible thing you did or didn’t do.)

Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. (Save for the incident that triggered it.)  The person need not be in front of you, on this planet, or by all means even “worthy” of it. You are simply releasing the guilt, ceasing to tell about how you were wronged.  Giving it up. You can’t change what’s happened.  And no amount of clinging to your hurt feelings will erase it.  In the case of a loved one, it’s likely that whatever they’ve done, you’ve probably done yourself.

Forgiveness is seeing through to the person who did the best they could with what they had to work with – what they knew, how they felt about themselves, what fears or wounds they carried.  (That doesn’t mean you have to let the person back in your life or your house.) It merely clears the way between you. It allows you to release the burden you’ve been carrying in that unforgiven. It’s a heavy load. You realize that if that person had been connected to his or her true self, neither of them would’ve done that hurtful thing.

I, personally, find it easier to forgive others than myself. Being my constant companion, I have borne witness to all my misdeeds, missteps and betrayals.  Often times judging myself harsher in the situation than the wronged party. There’s a lot more on my ledger sheet!  It boggles the mind what I could do if I let go of all those grievances!

Maybe something this Big could be our only function.

Please let me know your thoughts on forgiveness.

I have been going through A Course in Miracles. Thanks to Chris Cade, an enlightened being who is working it well – giving, selling, and supporting others’ in their work.  Every day I get an idea to work with.  The practice doesn’t take a lot of time but generates plenty of insights.  This Blog entitled Lesson got me thinking.

The Course is rooted in Christianity, at least in its speech.  I tend to shy away from the word God in these writings, but I do, very deeply, believe in Him. Susan Jeffers said, “There is just too much that nourishes and supports us to deny the existence of something . . . whatever that something is.” Surely, the fact that we come equipped with such amazing tools could be seen as proof of His existence.  Every one of us has at our disposal, whenever and wherever we want it, things like Imagination and Curiosity.  We all have the capacity for Courage and Love.  We are well supported by these things that come built-in.  By His nature, God can be anywhere and everywhere.  So, His presence can be achieved with simply a thought.  Barbara Sher offered a tool she calls The Ideal Family.  You pull together in your mind anyone you choose.  Knowing a little something about who they are and what their experiences have been, you can imagine asking them questions.  I know a few things about Marianne Williamson who I have chosen as my ideal sister.  Whenever I have something I’m churning in my head, I can think of her and imagine what she might tell me. Angels and Saints.  Music and Art.  Not to mention all the people I can reach out to with a word, a phone call or an email. All of this adds up to some serious strength at our beckon call!

When it came to the second part, I balked a little.  God has given so many gifts!  I’m healthy, I have a wonderful husband and live in a beautiful place.  I’m able to give of my talents to support others, etc. etc.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe Vision is one of His most important gifts.  We’re not talking about physical sight, but inner vision. So even those who are sight impaired can use this vision.  If I don’t see all those blessings in my life, they don’t do me much good.  The most pervasive change I’m seeing in myself from working The Course is my perception.  It is really all about how I see things.  I don’t know if there’s anything more valuable than being able to see who I really am, the truth of a situation, what I have to give and all that I have.

It’s so easy to get caught up in seeing, being and doing “enough.”  Doing it Right.  But the truth is, this no such scale of how much is really, truly enough.  And the jury is still out on what exactly is the universal definition of Right.

Instead, the world operates on the very neutral law of Cause and Effect. You create a cause, you get an Effect. That’s just the way it works.  It’s merely about how energy moves and has nothing to do with good or bad, right or wrong.  It is only how we, who live in this dual world, decide to see it.

With this system of Cause and Effect, there are no “mistakes.”  Just the effect of a cause that you don’t like. The outcome, likewise, is always assured.  There is no way to fail at Cause and Effect.  All you have to do is make the cause and the effect will follow.  And you are always at Cause. If you did absolutely nothing, you would still create quite a stir!  Making a choice to not do is a cause, as well. As long as you are alive you are creating a Cause and there will be an Effect of some kind to match it.

I am doing a daily lesson of A Course in Miracles, thanks to Chris Cade.  Any seeker on the path should check out his web site.  Lesson 25’s idea is “I do not know what anything is for.”  This tells me that I can’t know what my cause will bring, what it might bump into on the way, which cage it could rattle, what window it opens . . . This no way of knowing what effect all those causes might conjure.

Doing a lot of work lately with the Loving Universe.  This Law of Cause and Effect is just another reason to believe it truly is a loving universe. I’m hoping to let go of my litany of ratings and evaluations, my clinging to outcomes and just focus on putting out a good energy Cause.

Embracing Uncertainty” is a wonderful book by Susan Jeffers, PhD.  This woman made a lifetime study of fear.  “Embracing Uncertainly” teaches us how to let go of our fears, handle, deal with, wrangle the fears.  I like the vision of loading up the backpack with your fears and moving ahead with them, if you must.  As in, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” Dr. Jeffers’ landmark book. The title that became a cheer.  Pack em up and keep on trucking.

It’s so easy though to get attached to our fears, to be driven by them.  Making it sometimes hard to get out of it’s hold. I have a dear friend who is negative about just everything.  His name could be Yes But.  Nothing is ever good enough, nothing can ever work for him. That’s just the way it is.  And he lives his life, hoping against hope that his worst fears won’t come true, again.  He doesn’t know what will happen in the future, but his best guess is that it’s not going to work for him. He’s not alone.  I know many people, including myself at times, who are poised and ready to tell you (and themselves) all the reasons why not.

Is it about risk?  What am I willing to risk to have what I want?  I have been known to over dramatize the possibility of risk.  Be careful, I tell myself.  It’s wise to be prepared for the worst.

But does this keep me focused, then, on the things that can go wrong?  It seems so easy for us to come up with disaster scenarios.  Why can’t we prepare for the positive possibility?  Better still, find that Middle Way to accept and embrace the uncertainty of what is to come.  “What will happen to me today?” has a much better ring than “What disaster might befall me today?”  When we embrace the uncertainty we ask the kind of questions Susan points out from “A Course in Miracles” such as,  What will you have me do today?  Where will you have me go?

Even if we’re going to work as always, we can be open to where our hearts and minds are.  Not just accept, but reach out for the unknowable, embrace the fear and move with it.

A friend of mine said, “I have a book you might like. I got to page 12 or something and just didn’t like it.” I already own it, but it got me to thinking . . .

The Power of Now is one of the most powerful and important books I’ve read. Perhaps one of the most influential books of the last 10 years. I put it up there with “The Law of Attraction” / “The Secret,” “Conversations with God,” maybe even “A Course in Miracles.” Like “The Course,” it attempts to explain what may be simple in practice, but very difficult to comprehend. The Power of Now uses the question and answer format to try to contain these large concepts in a vessel that can more easily pour out small amounts.

Mr. Tolle tries to explain to other minds what can’t be fully understood with the mind. It’s not housed comfortably in the brain. It has to be felt in the bones. Like the elusive meaning of what it feels like to be in love, experience happiness, or after love-making.

These are Huge Concepts. I have read, studied and discussed the power in the now at length. With some familiarity, this book still fills my brain to the point of overload. It reminds me of when I was reading “Conversations with God III” about God, the Universe and Everything. Trying to comprehend the immensity of the Universe, images well beyond my usual view, when someone would say, “Can you move your car?” or even, “Isn’t it a lovely day?” I had trouble shifting perspective.

There is an amazing amount of power in the now. It’s not easy to hold it all. Marianne Williamson, in her brilliant book, “A Return to Love,” infused the principles in “A Course in Miracles” and brought them down to concrete, modern words. The Power of Now could use that. I would suggest to my friend, and anyone else who has trouble with this book, to read it in small bits. Like a Daily Reading or when you have a sit-down in the bathroom.

I read the book a second time and got even more out of it. Now I poke in wherever it opens. And every time I do, reading even a paragraph of it, I feel more powerful and at ease. Like a magic pill that offers instant relief from the ravages of Time. When you get stuck in that volley between questioning your past and trying to get a hold on your future, reading from this book makes you aware of a sudden hush. The fog clears and you see what is really going on around you. As if life has slowed down, so you can get a better look. In that moment you can feel more intensely and hear more acutely what is being whispered in your head all the time: The Truth that it is a Loving Universe and this is what Love would do right now. You see the world just exactly as it is. Not haunted by the past or striving for the future, unfettered, you can make clear and effective decisions.

I appreciate Eckhart’s efforts to explain why it’s so easy to slip out of that place of equanimity and power in the now. That pesky ego needs so much, and sees this place of trust as a threat to its very existence and constantly tries to pull you out of it. Tolle uses text from the Buddha, The Bible, the Sufis and others to show how many ways this message has been delivered through the centuries.

I get glimpses of the power of now and then I’m tossed back into the arena, getting batted back and forth again. My ego proving that life can’t be like that. But I figure, the more time I spend in the now, the more I practice being there, the more I will be there and someday, it will be my dominant state of awareness.

Will all my problems go away? Not likely. Will I see my problems differently? Absolutely. Will I know what to do to solve them? Probably have a much better idea.

This book isn’t easy to get through. But it is worth every moment.

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