Thank you so much for coming. It is really an honor to be here and be joined with you. The topic we are going to talk about tonight is accepting the Atonement. Everyone who is familiar with a Course in Miracles knows that if A Course in Miracles was a symphony, then the Atonement is the crescendo. If we think of it in terms of notes, you might say that the Atonement is the keynote. It is what everything is leading to in your work with A Course in Miracles.
I don’t know about you, but for me simplicity is important. Years ago I thought to myself, if I am going to experience truth, or reality, it must be very, very simple. This world is very complicated and heaven is nothing like this world, it is not fragmented. So, it must be the big “AHA”. Almost as though it’s been under your nose all along as you were running along frantically trying to be good enough or to work hard enough or practice enough. Atonement has been under your nose all the time. It has always been there and it is just a matter of stopping instead of running around and seeking and searching so hard: it is to just relax and behold it.
I would start off this talk by saying that Atonement is a total commitment. The ego doesn’t even know what commitment is. It is so impulsive. The ego is like a little wild child, it doesn’t have a parent. That is because it really doesn’t have a parent. It doesn’t have a source. It is like this wild, frantic fearful thought that has no parent. It has no sense of stability. It’s impulsive, it’s complex, and the Holy Spirit is like the answer in the mind, the bringer of the Atonement, putting the Atonement principle into action for the mind that has fallen asleep.
It is so tranquil and quiet and still, that the Atonement and the Holy Spirit literally do nothing. It just looks and watches and waits, and judges not. It is just a state of pure stillness. But in order to open your mind to accept the Atonement you have to be ready and willing for something completely different than anything you’ve known in this world.
A Course in Miracles is a tool for your mind to use. You might say the first step is that Jesus and the Holy Spirit first have to get your attention. They have to catch your attention with the desire to see something differently or to have a change of mind. You might say the first part of this whole plan of awakening and accepting the plan of Atonement is to let them get your attention, whatever it takes
You really have to be ready for the Course. I’ve traveled around the world many times and I’ve been in 19 countries and I hear the same stories. Some people have used it and it sits on their bookshelf, used it as a doorstop, they used it to put their plants on, and then one day suddenly, they just go “Hmmm, I think I am supposed to read this book.” And something gets their attention. Sometimes it falls off the shelf and it hits them in the head, or something very dramatic, but first Jesus has to get your attention.
And once Jesus has your attention then you have to be willing to open up for miracles. You need to be convinced that there is another way of looking at the world. You shouldn’t be concerned and feel pressured because it is the Holy Spirit’s job, it’s Jesus’ job to convince you. You just have to be willing. You have to have a little bit of willingness.
Through many, many, many miracles, you prepare your mind for the Atonement. The Atonement has been described in the Course as the first miracle, and the last miracle, and all the miracles in between. Atonement is different from miracles per say in the sense that, some of you have read the section on The Last Unanswered Question [in Chapter 21]. You may have answered the first three but the last one has a sense of certainty. The last one has a sense of finality where you cannot go back and vacillate.
When you are practicing the Course you have a miracle, then the ego seems to come back - but not with the Atonement. The Atonement is a principle that takes you to a state of certainty of who you are. What I mean by this is, for example, there is a workbook lesson, titled, “I will accept Atonement for myself”, which is lesson number 139. The very first sentence of this lesson is “Here is the end of choice.” The end of choice - how relaxing must a state of mind be where there is no decision to be made? Where you don’t have to ponder alternatives, you just rest and be who you are. Here is the end of choice. That is why that this Course is really about training your mind to accept the Atonement. To ‘accept the correction’ is a synonym for it. That is what I am going to talk to you tonight about.
Just to give you a little background on me, my name is David, I got the Course delivered to my lap in 1986. When the Course came into my life, I said “Oh my God, this is my escape from fear and doubt and misery.” I felt an immediate recognition with it. I studied it for an average of eight hours a day for the first two and a half years. It is like you were drowning and someone threw you a life raft and said “grab hold!” That is how I felt when I found the Course. I felt like this was the answer to an unspoken prayer. I studied it for so many hours a day. You can imagine immersing your mind so deeply into something, and after a couple of years instead of just reading the words a Voice started to speak to me very clearly in my mind and started to guide me very specifically. “Call so and so.” “Go here, go there.” “You forgot your keys, go back.” Like a little bird on my shoulder chirping away, like having a little miniature Jesus. I would say that really started to speed up my Awakening because I was being guided very specifically. And Jesus saves time. The whole point of this is to save time. Not to prolong time and to extend time, but to collapse time, that is what miracles do.
So after about two and a half years of this I went to my first conference. I was introduced to some who were speakers there as, “a walking ACIM encyclopedia”. There is nothing like getting introduced as an encyclopedia to spur you on. I don’t want to be an encyclopedia. I could quote verses and tell you what page number and so on and so forth, like a scholar, but I wanted the experience. That launched me into an experience of listening to the Holy Spirit and following the Holy Spirit, and feeling the joy and the inspiration of being in tune with the Holy Spirit.
What I tell people is that when they do the workbook lessons, you should do them with such anticipation that every day you expect to wake up. You expect that lesson to be the One. Instead of thinking in your mind, well, I’ve got 365 and if I don’t get it I can go back and do it again, which is only buying into this sense of time. I just expected to wake up. I would go, “Ah, another day! Another lesson.” And I would give everything I had to the lesson.
To go for an experience that will end your doubting, to go for an experience that takes you beyond theories and concepts, is what Atonement is about. It is the sole responsibility. It may seem like in this world you have many responsibilities, and many duties, and many roles and many obligations, but I can assure you that as you keep allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you, you keep coming back to, “Oh. But I just have one responsibility. Just to accept the Atonement. And I need to be guided very carefully by the Holy Spirit.”
It is not about abdicating on responsibilities and just affirming the truth and affirming that you are the child of God. It is about letting Holy Spirit handle what is going on in your mind with integrity.
You will not be asked to lie and break promises and to cut and run. You are going to be asked to follow so clearly, so intricately, so loyally, that all things are handled through you by the Holy Spirit. There are still things that you face every day but Holy Spirit handles them. Some of you remember in the Bible, Jesus said “Be like the lilies in the field,” and “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven .”
In the Course, Jesus is saying that once you have accepted His plan as the one function you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. Holy Spirit will go before you, making straight your path, and leaving in your way no stones to trip on, no obstacles to bat your way. When you accept your function, everything in this world is completely orchestrated for you. You literally live a life that has no problems. No personal problems, no societal problems, no health issues, no financial issues, no relationship issues; that is what salvation is. That is what Enlightenment is. It is realizing as we study in lesson 80, “Let me recognize that my problems have been solved.” that in the Holy Spirit they are solved. Not in the ego. So that is why we have to go so deeply into that.
For me it has been an experience of listening and following, and listening and following, to the point that you feel a merge taking place, an integration, in your mind. There is no longer a leader and a follower; there is no longer a guide and one who is being guided. The personality, the mask of being human, just starts to dissolve away. You feel yourself as the living presence of God, as the living Christ, as the I Am presence.
You must be clear that in order to consistently experience this you can make no exceptions to the miracle. That is what the workbook is about, making no exceptions. Go through your day willing to make no decisions by yourself, willing to let every decision be made by Holy Spirit through you. If I make no decisions by myself, this is the day that will be given me.
It is like lesson 135 where Jesus says, “A healed mind does not plan. It carries out the plans that it receives through Listening to Wisdom that is not its own.” If there are plans to be made, you will be told of them. That is the feeling. “Oh, you want me to do this? Okay, okay…” Where will I be in Feb 2007? It is given. But there is no sense of pressure in it. You flow in that Divine Flow and you keep your integrity. If the Holy Spirit gives you a plan or a prompt, you follow through.
Not only is Atonement a total commitment, it is in the present moment you start to understand what the Course means when it says, “Atonement might be equated with total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future.” Isn’t that a lovely phrase? You can just let that wash over you. Total escape from the past and total lack of interest in the future.
That sounds so relaxing because it takes the stress of trying to figure things out away from you. It takes the stress of having to work out your salvation. It sounds a lot like Grace. Total escape from the past and total escape from the future.
What I want to talk about tonight is how this is very practical. This is safe. This is sure. You can have confidence in this. Be certain of this, Instead of being gullible or instead of being ‘airy-fairy,’ or some of the other words we’ve heard that people have talked about over the centuries, such as ‘Pollyanna,’ or “Why don’t you get grounded, you are living up in the clouds.” I have a friend in Argentina , and her whole family says to her, “You and your miracles, you live in the clouds, you live in the clouds everyday.” She just smiles and says, “Come join me.”
It is lightness. There is no sense of trying to convince anybody of anything. You don’t have to proselytize. There is no need to try to force something; you are not trying to change anyone’s mind. You are trying to let your mind be guided and changed by Holy Spirit. You aren’t trying to change anybody else. And it brings you into a sense of relaxation and joy when you allow this to occur.
I think we’ve heard some great speakers today saying Jesus “orchestrates” things, and how He is orchestrating our lives. That is one thing that really caught my attention. I read in the Course that Jesus was saying, “If you will be a miracle worker for me, I will orchestrate time and space for you.” Orchestrate time and space for me? Wow. That sounds really interesting. They never taught us that in high school or college.
How to orchestrate time and space! Jesus says time is in the hands of the miracle worker. Wow, that’s a change. Instead of being a human being stuck in time like a fly stuck on fly paper, what, time is in my hands? The miracle worker is in control of time, because Jesus says I will perform miracles through you if you will let me. You don’t have to be perfectly clear. If you were perfectly clear, there would be no need for miracles in the first place. But just for an instant, you need to be fearless. Just for an instant, relax. And trust in my readiness, Jesus says. Don’t worry about your readiness, trust in Mine. I will perform the miracles through you. But they cannot be performed in a state of doubt or fear. Doubt and fear just block what’s there, but you have to relax.
Over the years I’ve had to change from a person who was very quiet and shy. I was voted most shy in my senior class and listed that way in the yearbook. Nobody thought I’d ever go around the world and talk about God and things they tell you never to talk about in public. And I thought, “Oh boy, Moses stuttered and now here we go. I get to go around the world and talk about God.”
What happens is miracles are involuntary. It is not like you have to consciously control what you are going to say and whom you are going to talk to. You can see I have no script up here. I am enjoying the talk along with you, as always. I am listening to what the Holy Spirit has to say, as if it is for the first time. Because it always feels that way, it always feels that way.
When you are a miracle worker, time and space are orchestrated for you. Let me give you an example. I get invitations all around the world. I was invited to Cali , Colombia , and I had not been on many trips overseas. I was going down to Miami , Florida to go down to Colombia .
I got down to Miami and there was a hurricane coming right into Miami and the airport looked like an evacuation area. There were people trying to get out of Florida to get back to their homelands in South America . Babies were crying, it was very crowded; people were all over the place. I was supposed to meet my friend Susana, a friend and translator who was flying all the way from the Canary Islands and then with me across over to Colombia .
When I got to Miami I just kept looking around for her in this sea of people, and we found each other and got on the plane. As soon as we got on the plane and it was in the air, they announced that they had shut down the entire Greater Miami airport. And I joked about it. I got to Colombia and I said, “Yea, Jesus was holding off the hurricane. You can just imagine Him saying, “Okay, he’s almost through, good there he is.”
Think about it. You don’t think about yourself as so important that a hurricane gets put on hold. When you are watching the news you don’t think, “Well, if I was down there, that baby would not come NEAR me because I’m doing God’s work.” I tell you that example because I’m not fooling when I tell you that Jesus says I will control time and space if you will perform miracles.
I was just going down there to let the Holy Spirit speak through me. You’ve heard of people that lay and bust clouds with their mind? Oh, clouds are little things. Your mind can move mountains, stop hurricanes. It is so powerful that there is nothing in this world, in this entire cosmos that is more powerful than your mind. You have dominion over the entire cosmos when you are a miracle worker.
I’ve been down in Venezuela for example. Some of you know what is going on in Venezuela with Chavez. I went to Venezuela . I landed in Merida and Caracas . I was on television twice, I was on eight radio interviews, and the military there was doing war games. They were preparing for an invasion from the United States taking over the oil fields. I’m talking about miracles and love and sharing healing, and they’re doing war maneuvers. They were in a state of alertness for an impending invasion. I do not fear for my life because I do not identify with the body. I feel invulnerable. So I will go wherever the Holy Spirit would have me go. When you are performing miracles you might remember the line in the Bible, “If God is with us, who can be against us?”
Isn’t this a GREAT profession that we’re being called to? If you are in your state of miracle mindedness and state of readiness, then nothing can be against you because everything is being used for good. All things work together for good, the Bible says, and the Course says. It feels good to feel invulnerable. It feels good to feel powerful. And Jesus says in the Course, all power is given you in heaven and earth. All power is of God.
If you follow the ego you can believe in manifesting. You can say that you manifest your soul mate and your yacht. Some of you have seen the movie, “The Secret.” You know the mind is very powerful We are not trying to diminish the power of the mind, but once again, all power is of God, because God is the Creator. So power is of the Spirit. Even when you seem to be able to manipulate the dream and have the dream come out in a certain way, that is just a step along the way. Who could be content with such small things when the Kingdom of Heaven is your inheritance, when Eternity is your inheritance? You may like to tinker around for a while with time and space, but a happy dream is worth more than being able to control or manipulate the world.
That is why it has gotten to the point in my life where peace of mind is no small gift. I live in such a state of peace and happiness and joy that I get invitations to talk on Enlightenment with people that are into Bhagavad-Gita or many different traditions, and ACIM is generally what I use. It is near and dear to my heart, but now it has gone beyond the Course. It is just joining everywhere I go.
I’m going to read you a few sentences from lesson 139 and to me this is really great. This is what makes it all worthwhile. This is what Jesus said, in paragraph number nine, “We have a mission here. We did not come to reinforce the madness that we once believed. Let us not forget the goal that we accepted. It is more than just our happiness alone we came to gain.”
It is more than our happiness alone we came to gain. What is coming next?
We accept that what we are proclaims what everyone must be along with us. Everyone must be along with us…Do you realize the implications of that sentence? What we proclaim for ourselves is what EVERYONE must be along with us. We’re not talking about gurus who’ve got it, and devotees who grovel and bow and say, “I want to get what he has got”. If you accept the Atonement, then EVERYONE goes with you! Everyone has to be enlightened if you are enlightened. Do you see the implications of this? Do you see how this old game of “I’ve got it and you don’t,” isn’t going to fly with this Course? If you are enlightened, everyone that you perceive is enlightened. You must treat everyone with the same enlightenment that you experience. If you are love, everyone is love. Are there exceptions?
What that means, what the reading in the review section we just opened up means, is that when you allow your mind to be changed, every mind is changed. I can change all minds, is what was read, along with mine. Listen to that sentence. I can change all minds along with mine. It must be that there is only one mind that needs to accept the Atonement. Not six billion, just one. And the one, of course, is your own.
It isn’t about trying to get Mom and Dad to accept the Atonement. Some of us have tried. We know how that feels. All you are doing when you accept the Atonement is you are allowing a transformation in which you realize that everything is connected and we all share one mind. As they say in South America , “Una Sola Mente.” One Mind.
It doesn’t matter what angle you want to come at it with. Some of you have heard of the movies, What the Bleep Do We Know? and Down the Rabbit Hole. People all over the world love movies. In all of the 19 countries I’ve gone, everyone says, “ Hollywood , Hollywood , tell us about Hollywood !” So, I bring Hollywood with me. I have What the Bleep in my pocket, or Matrix, all the greats, the T ruman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I even wrote this thing called the Movie Watchers Guide to Enlightenment. Everybody loves movies.
They sit there like they’re going to be entertained and all the sudden they have such a big smile on their face. They are grinning from ear to ear and have the twinkling eyes. I am in a big auditorium like this with people that I’ve never met, and we all have the goo-goo eyes and we’re all totally in love by the time we get to the end of the movie because we all share the same parable. We are all watching a parable of awakening. From the Matrix, “You are the One.” Doesn’t matter what language you translate that into, everyone is like, “Ooo, yeah, yeah, I could live with that.” It is so precious to experience this and to be able to let the Spirit pour through you in a language that can reach everyone in a meaningful way. It has to come in a meaningful way; it can’t just fly over everyone’s head.
When I first went down to Colombia , I did many gatherings and basically 93 percent women showed up. The macho men were not so interested in oneness, seemingly, until after two weeks I was talking to the women and I asked them what they wanted out of life. They said “I wish I could communicate this with my boyfriend or with my husband. That would be the most important thing to me. More important than anything else I want to share this with everyone and share it with my partner.”
They rented the zoo theater, and they had me show What the Bleep Do We Know? because they said that their boyfriend/husbands were into science and quantum physics, but couldn’t stand all this Jesus talk. They said “He doesn’t want to know anything about religion but he loves quantum physics, he loves science”. So, we put on the headsets and I did a translation of the movie What the Bleep Do We Know. You should have seen the looks!
I was kissed by 48 women because everyone was so happy. They were so happy because they were able to look at each other and say, “That is what I’ve been trying to tell you. I’ve been trying to tell you that for the last 20 years!” It was a language gap. They both were coming at it from their own semantics. They both had a different language, a different vernacular. All they needed was that little bridge, and what the Holy Spirit gives is that little bridge, so the gap disappears and we’re joined. That is what Atonement is about. Atonement is about accepting it for yourself.
When I first started traveling and doing this around 1991, I went all over the place. I was first guided to go spend time with people who had spent their entire lives working with A Course in Miracles. I figured that they were very dedicated and I would like to talk to them. The Holy Spirit said everyone you meet is going to give you a nugget of gold. Everywhere you go you are going to get a nugget, a recognition. You are going to have a miracle that is going to show you the way back to the Kingdom of Heaven . I look around and see people I stayed with as I’ve been doing this for 16 years, following my prompts, and we have such intimate connections. It is like you have known people forever even though you just meet them for the first time. It is an interesting quality with Course in Miracles students and teachers. What that did was to help me to join with everyone I met because I was expecting a gift, a jewel, from everyone.
It didn’t have to just be Course in Miracles students; I invite the Jehovah Witnesses into my house. My family used to go run and hide in the back of the house, because they’d say, “Oh, my God, he’s opening the door; they are in the living room!” They would be sitting there and I would join with them on Jesus. They adore Jesus. There was our nugget. We could join on that and rejoice on Jesus. The Mormon Missionaries go out around the world. When I went to Temple Square they would come up to me. One of the Mormon missionaries came up to me and said, “I love Jesus. I love Jesus and I gave my life over to him and I am so happy.” And I said, “I know exactly what you mean!”
You simply join in what you have in common. There is no time to pick apart semantics and pull things apart, you are there to join. You are there to feel the connection, to see that there is no gap. To me, that is really what ACIM is about. You train your mind so completely to join that you reach a state that Jesus talks about in the Song of Prayer, and He puts it in italics, He says, “Do not see error.”
Do not see error? Wow. What kind of state of mind is that?
Most of the time as you are working with the Course, first you spot the error. You spot it either in yourself or someone else. You are quick to spot it. Then you say, “Help. Help me get back, back into my right mind.” Most of the time when you work with A Course In Miracles in a practical sense, you are going to spot it first. You spot it, you got it. You perceive it, you believe it, that is what I say.
The more you purify, by allowing the Holy Spirit to purify your heart, it is like the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” That is where this Course is leading. It is leading to such a state of purity that you actually don’t spot the error any more. Do you know what kind of state of mind that is?
You may have seen some of these movies, “The Man Who Knew Too Little”, with Bill Murray. “Being There”, with Peter Sellers. Chancy Gardner was so happy, so content, and so clueless about the world. He’s pretty clueless. He says, “I like to watch.” Now there is a dreamer of the dream. With Mr. Magoo those physical eyes aren’t working too well, but he can walk across the highway, he can go wherever. He is so happy. These are the kind of role models you start to open up to when you are working with ACIM. It is kind of humbling, actually, when Mr. Magoo becomes your role model.
“Who do you believe in? Buddha?”
Wow, that is an interesting saying; it is a “Magooism”.
Then, you start to have fun with it and have joy and fun and you relax with it. Then you start to take it as a compliment when someone comes up to you and says that you are “kind of out of it.”
On the Magoo meter you are getting pretty high there! It sounds a little bit like salvation in ACIM terms. In the Course Jesus says salvation comes with the realization “I do not know the thing I am, what I am doing, where I am going, or how to look upon myself or the world.” That’s where you are heading, in case any of you were worried. But remember, you are safe. You are invulnerable, so in one sense you can relax with it. You aren’t being carried off just to be adrift and end up sleeping in the streets.
Some of you know from Eckhart Tolle that may be part of your journey, a park bench here and there, we’ve all had those, but it isn’t your end point. You just end up with a state of being the dreamer of the dream. You are having a lucid dream where you are just aware that you are dreaming. At one point, Jesus said t hat’s what the function of God’s teachers is: “awareness of dreaming.” A very interesting awareness of dreaming. Remember, if you are the dreamer of the dream, the dream can’t hurt you. You are dreaming it. You aren’t in someone else’s dream.
Some of us have worked in jobs where we felt the boss had a pretty strong dream going on there, but the Course trains your mind to turn it around and see. “No, I am the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause does it have or ever will.” It is a sense of empowerment.
What I am saying is that Atonement, Enlightenment, is very, very practical.
You go through many phases with the Course. It has a Teacher’s Manual where there are teachers and students. Even though Jesus comes right out at the beginning and says that there is no difference between the teacher and the student, it is all the same, you are just teaching yourself all the time. Even if you think you are apart from the learner or from the teacher, it is all going on simultaneously. He has levels of teaching; He talks about the three levels and goes through these.
I seemed to be so happy years ago that I would have people show up and say, “I’m your student.”
I’d say, “What is this?” It got to the point where you start to realize that teaching and learning is really equated with thinking. You are thinking either with the ego or you are thinking with Christ. And you are teaching all the time. There isn’t a role of being a teacher or a role of being a student. You start to pay very close attention to your thoughts and learn to hand them over to the Holy Spirit when they aren’t loving, when they are attack thoughts.
It really is that simple. You start to realize that you don’t want to freeze down to a concept or into a role. As soon as you do identify with a role, even if it is ACIM teacher, and someone comes up and steals your role, you say, “Ah!”. If you have a charge, if you have a reaction, that means you are identified with an illusion, with a concept.
Just like Buddhism, this is a Course in emptying your mind of everything you think you think and think you know. It does so in a very systematic way. It prepares you to be still, to be open minded, to be of tranquility.
A tranquil mind is not a small gift.
Meditation, for example, starts out with practice. You do have to be vigilant for God and His Kingdom. You do have to work at training your mind to jump off the trains, as they say in Buddhism, or to sink beneath the leaves and let the leaves flow over you.
But there comes a point when your life becomes a living meditation. You can be singing Zip A Dee Doo Dah like we did today and you are in meditation. You can be walking, you can be eating, and your eyes can be opened or closed. You start to realize that meditation doesn’t have anything to do with posture or breathing. Those things can be very helpful at the beginning, like having quiet places to go and to focus on your breath. I’m not dismissing those. What I am saying is where you are leading in terms of Atonement is independent of the body, and independent of time.
There can seem to be noise or no noise. There can be someone screaming and shouting or a room full of quiet people. You start to realize that you can’t be interrupted. If all things work together for good, what would an interruption even be? An interruption wouldn’t exist. What I am talking about is a state of mind that has no distractions. One of the things I found important in accepting Atonement is realizing the Holy Spirit uses everything in form to reach the state of Atonement.
Another name for the ego is reciprocity. When we look at special relationships, that is really like a core of co-dependency. A core of special relationships is when you are in an interactive relationship where you make a bargain to give to them, but they better give back to you or else!
There is a lot of fish in this pond and I can find another fish if you don’t reciprocate. I’ll take the garbage out this week but next week, you reciprocate. Reciprocity is what the ego is.
If you study the lives of the mystics and saints like Mother Theresa or Saint Francis, you read in their prayers that they are always talking about giving, extending, radiating, and not looking for anything to come back. They are just in the joy of the giving. In Saint Francis’ prayer,” I want to love instead of to be loved.” You aren’t looking for that “be loved”; you are simply extending the love. Why? Because giving and receiving are the same. If you are extending the love, guess who feels whole and complete. You do. The same with Mother Theresa, she would do the simplest things for everyone she would meet, because she was seeing Christ in everyone she met. It is very simple, it is just extending love.
It became very apparent to me at the beginning of my journey that that Jesus was speaking to me and saying the same thing that He told the Apostles 2000 years ago. “Freely you have received, now freely give.” Be very generous with miracles. Shine the light. Take time for everyone who comes into your awareness. Treat everyone with love, with care, with compassion. Because when you meet anyone, you are really meeting yourself. When you think of anyone you are really thinking of yourself. The way you treat everyone is the way you treat yourself and you need to be in that mode of not looking to get things back.
When I first started, I said, “Jesus that sounds good. I don’t know about this planet in particular, I think it is kind of practical to ask for things and have some expectations.” And He said, “Freely you have received, now freely give.” I was told very specifically by Jesus, “You will never charge money for anything. You will never charge a penny for anything. Nothing you write, nothing you say, no counseling, no talks, and no gatherings. Freely you have received, now freely give.”
The more I got into this, the more I realized that I was freeing my mind of expectations because love makes no demands. If you are living in a state of trust that you believe that the Holy Spirit will meet your needs, whatever you believe that they are, then you are trusting in Divine Love to meet all your perceived needs. You aren’t putting that on your brothers and sisters.
Think of how wars are fought over territorial disputes. Or think of how children fight over a bigger piece of pie, or neighbors fight over where a fence has come. It is just that when we get into a state of ego, of personalities, then it seems as if the defenses are there. It seems as if you have to fight and protect yourself, but this isn’t our Self.
It is really about trust for me. When I began doing this I didn’t know how practical this is for me. I don’t know how this is going to work. But Jesus said, “Trust me. Go forth and do this” That has continued for the last 16 years. I have watched how the Holy Spirit has orchestrated it so that everything is taken care of. He says that it won’t be done by your own efforts. “He will go before you making straight your path and leaving in your way no stones to trip on and no obstacles to bar your way.” It is almost like a fairy tale, like something that you might read in a fairy tale book. That is where this is leading; it is leading you to such trust in Spirit. You are being led to such a state of God dependence that you can relax. You can relax in your function, in your vocation, in your purpose.
People say, isn’t that carrying it pretty far? Yes, it is carrying it pretty far, it is quite uncompromising. I would say that if a healed mind is relieved of the belief that it must plan then you can go your way rejoicing and trusting that everything is working out for your own good and that is when you can truly relax. You don’t have these expectations that people should act differently. Or you don’t believe that they should give you this or give you that. The should and the aught to begin to dissolve away. You are in a state of giving. It is very practical. When I have fully given my mind over to it, I have been rewarded with the certainty that all things are working together for good. It is a state of non-judgment.
These gatherings that I do are not talks or lectures, I really don’t do that. Someone was telling me that there were some people in the audience that wanted to ask questions that couldn’t be heard, so I have the microphone and I’m opening the floor up to everyone for questions.
The Question and Answer session:
Questioner: I want to ask about the trust issue. What has been your experience with trust when it comes to people with terminal illnesses, with people who are dying. What are your thoughts?
David: For those who didn’t hear, when you are working with trust, what happens when you confront someone with a terminal illness? How does your trust meet with a terminal illness in this world?
I had that experience back in the 1990s. I was visiting a student of mine in Michigan . He was staying with his girlfriend and she belonged to a community. One of the members of the community had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was really on his deathbed. Literally, he was on the couch in his sister’s house, and he was dying. He was reaching the final stages of the terminal illness.
You’ve seen the cereal commercial, “Let’s get Mikey to do it?” My student, said, this is great, let’s get David to go over to the dying man’s house and see what happens! Maybe we’ll see a Lazarus kind of thing, let’s see what happens when you bring David together with a terminal illness!
The way I prepared for this was prayerfully. It was a very somber scene in the world’s perception and the grieving had begun. The man was lying on the couch and his sister was there. I just went in there and sat and went into prayer. I am always willing in that state of prayer to be used by the Holy Spirit. But I don’t know what will happen, I never have a clue. The Holy Spirit is the how.
Part of the scenario there was that his sister was Catholic. After I prayed for several minutes all of these words started pouring through me. I started speaking, I started sharing, and a few ideas from the Course in Miracles started to come out. The sister was getting nervous. At one point she said “I feel very uncomfortable with whatever is happening here. You and your friends are going to have to leave”. The man who was on the couch, who was dying, with all of his strength raised his arm up and said, “NO. Let him continue.”
As it turns out this man who was on the couch dying had been a Course In Miracles student. I didn’t know this; I was just invited over there. He said, “I want to hear what he has to say.” “I studied this Course and there were things that I had difficulty accepting. I feel like this is the Holy Spirit speaking to me now.”
The whole situation turned.
I tell that example because we need to have such faith to trust in the Holy Spirit and not to prejudge the situations where we will be called on to speak. This was a situation where the Holy Spirit wanted to come through and it seemed to change the whole complexion of everything.
I had another situation with a man who was on his couch and seemingly diagnosed with the advanced stages of cancer. We had such a powerful and Holy encounter that his eyes were twinkling when I left because we had joined so deeply in purpose that he realized he had a choice. He wasn’t wasting his time and waiting to die, he was interested in praying and reading metaphysical materials from his couch.
You start to realize that everything is the result of a decision. When we use the phrase “terminal illness” that means a sickness that is destined to lead to death. You come to a state of such trust that you are taught by Jesus that there is no death. In fact, that is a workbook lesson, “There is no death, the Son of God is free.” What you do is bring that attitude, you bring the joy. When you have transcended death in your own mind, you have transcended grief.
Another example is that I was asked to speak at my Grandmother’s funeral. My Grandmother Lillian lived to be about 99 years old. But all my life we had these deep talks about God. She would say, “I just don’t believe that God would send anybody to hell. I just don’t believe it.”
I’d say, “Me either.” She was such a loving woman that in all the years I knew her, I could never do anything wrong. I never did anything wrong in her eyes. It was a symbol of unconditional love to me.
I was asked to speak at her funeral. I got there and was praying about it. She was in my mind and what I heard was, “I want to speak at my own funeral.” I thought, okay, this is going to be interesting. I’ve heard of ventriloquism, but to show up at your funeral… I got up and they already had a minister who had done most of the service and Lillian just came pouring through me. People were touched and starting crying because she had touched so many lives. Whatever was said, people recognized her. They started crying and the whole place was crying.
I spoke for five minutes. It was a celebration. There was not a shred of grief in it. She really didn’t believe in death! She was letting everybody know it. “Now that you are all here, now that you can’t see me anymore, I’ve got some good news for you. There is no death.” Afterwards, the minister came up to me and said, “I wish I had a notepad to take down notes of what was said.” At the cemetery there were all these flowers that everyone had sent, and I was saying, “Take these flowers. Take them with you and celebrate this day. This is a day of joy and of celebration. Remember Lillian for who she really is. She lives in your heart forever.”
That is what I mean by not believing in terminal illness or in death itself. In the world a funeral can be a very somber thing. Grief seems in this world almost natural, a grieving period. But when you reach a state of forgiveness, of “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”, you can be truly helpful.
Another example of forgiving terminal illness is when I trained to be a hospice volunteer. I trained as a volunteer along with a minister who had been diagnosed with leukemia. We went to Wendy’s to have a frosty. He was telling me that he had been diagnosed with leukemia and it had spread through the blood system and he had only so long to live and this and that. I prayed and I looked him in the eye and said, “Is there someone in your life, a dear one, a loved one that you are not on speaking terms with?” He was shocked. He said, “Oh my God, how did you know about my sister?” I asked him if he was talking to his sister and he said they hadn’t spoken in years. They had a big falling out.
I told him that his problem was not leukemia. It is interesting to talk to someone who has been diagnosed with leukemia and be honestly able to tell them, “Your problem is not leukemia; there is a grievance that you are holding in your mind against your sister. That’s where you have to do the work. Don’t worry about what the doctor says, how long you have to live.” I gave him an assignment. I told him that I wanted him to go home and call his sister.
I saw him two weeks later, as we were training for hospice. It was interesting that we were training to work with people with terminal illnesses and he had been diagnosed with one. He came to me two weeks later and he said, “You are not going to believe what happened. I went home and I called my sister. We put it behind us. We laughed, we cried, and then I went in for more tests and they couldn’t find a trace of leukemia. The doctors were astounded.” I said that is what doctors do. They are like unhealed healers. They try and do the best that they can but they don’t realize that the healing is in the mind and not the body.
He was so happy.
I finally got to go in the hospice ward. I was with doctors and nurses and they were feeling heavy. I talked to them and they said they felt like they were on the front line of a war zone. Not so much with the patients, because they were there to give them painkillers and administer love and compassion. But when the families come in and everyone breaks down in heavy grief, they felt like they were right there in Vietnam on the front line. It was just heavy. The more I was there, they asked, “What is it with you? You waltz around like you are Fred Astaire dancing in hospice! Is there something you know? Would you let us in on your secret? Why are you so happy?”
I said, “Life is real. Life is eternal. It is beyond the body.”
They said, whatever it is, we feel it. Some of the patients had gone into comas or were not responding. They are laying there in a state of comatose and I walk into the room and they perked up. They would say, “Hi” I would say, “Hey, hi there.” Then they would say, “Can I ask you some questions? I want to talk about my sister or this and that, and they would go from comatose to animated with me and ask these questions. Basically, what I would always tell them is that they were loved, they were innocent, they didn’t do anything wrong, you did a great job, go to the light, you are the light.
The next day I’d come in and hear, that patient, so and so, checked out. So instead of trying to save lives, you start to realize that you aren’t trying to save the body, just wanting to share innocence. You are giving the same gift to yourself. You are perfectly innocent. You didn’t do anything wrong. That is what the healing is. The body is just a temporary vehicle that you use. It is just like a pencil. You can use it. But your life is the Resurrection in your mind. When it comes to something like terminal illness there is a great line in the Course that helps save me every time I get caught. “Jesus says, the mind was sick that thought the body could be sick.”
What Jesus did was to simply resurrect His mind. Everyone is familiar with the Jesus story. Thirty years of public ministry, a crucifixion and a resurrection scene. But what they never told us, the preachers and the ministers, was that the resurrection occurred before crucifixion. Before crucifixion? Wait a minute, David, you have the story wrong! Before? Yes, remember when Jesus was at the river Jordon with John? Jesus walked out and told John to baptize him and John said, “No, you should baptize me, you’re the One.”
Jesus told him, “No, baptize me.”
John baptized Jesus and a dove flew down and landed on Jesus’ head. And a Voice spoke and said “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Did you ever notice what happened after that scene? Jesus started going around talking to people in a very different tone. “Before Abraham was, I Am.” Does that sound like a human being to you? “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” Does that sound like a human being? Jesus’ mind was resurrected before his public ministry. And that little skit at the end of his earth ‘life’ was such a tiny little skit. It was like, “Well, we have to leave an example. What kind of a skit can we do? Judas, here, we want you to play this part. Here we’ll get some silver for you. But whatever you do, let’s do it quickly, let’s get this over with. We are going to make it a quick little skit.”
Jesus was telling the Apostles exactly what was going to happen before it would happen.
“When the temple is torn down it will be rebuilt in three days.” Hmmm, resurrection. Jesus knew exactly what the script was. There was no betrayal. This was just a bunch of characters acting out a skit to demonstrate innocence, sinlessness.
Questioner: I have been studying the Course for a few years. It has taken me from a place of loss to a very happy, healthy, wealthy, place. But something has come up which is disturbing. Maybe you could help me. I keep asking, “What next? What would you like me to do next?”
Now Jesus seems to say, romance and sex pleasure, it is time to let that go. It just doesn’t seem right because I really like girls.
This isn’t a Course that wants to take away the little bit that we have is it?
Yes, it reminds me of when I was in South America . I was in a group of all women and there was one man there and he fell out of the circle we were all sitting in onto his knees in front of all the women and said, “What about sex?” He was down on his knees. That is a good question. What I will say is this. The ego is the belief in lack in the mind. It is like a prism and when light comes into a prism and it splinters into all those colors, similarly when the miracle impulse comes in, beaming into your mind, it goes through the filter of the ego. Since the ego is the belief in lack the impulse comes out on the surface of consciousness, when the mind is still believing in the ego, as what Jesus calls “…a distorted miracle impulse.”
In other words, it really is a call home to God. That is when you have a craving, when you feel an attraction to a woman, when you feel lust, or call it whatever you want, it is really God calling. Think of it as God dialing your number and saying, “Come home. It is time to come home, time to go on the highway to heaven.” When that light, when that bright light, that miracle impulse, comes through the ego, which is the belief in lack, it comes out on the surface of the consciousness as a craving. That is why all appetites involve getting. It doesn’t really matter whether you are hungry, you are thirsty, you are horny, you are hot, you are cold, you are restless: it comes out in many different ways.
Actually, when Jesus dictated the Course, the first text from the shorthand notes, the Urtext, says “sexual impulses are distorted miracle impulses”. ThenJesus decided to have Helen go back and change “sexual” to “physical” because He was simply being more general. Like I was saying, when you are hungry, when you are thirsty, or any time you crave something in this world, it is because you believe the ego, which is lack. You are simply following what seems to be a need or a desire.
The Holy Spirit is such a gentle presence, He says, “I know you believe in lack. That’s okay.” We have a Course here with a workbook and mind training program to work on this thing. Nothing will be taken away from you (in the sense) that you need to experience miracles. [You just need to learn to listen and follow.] You need to call so and so, hug so and so, comfort the person, wipe their tears, be a translucent instrument for God’s love. The more that you do that, the more you get filled up within from your miracle impulses. You are going to be a miracle worker.
We’ve had examples throughout history. Some of you know of Saint Francis. St. Francis and his band of merry men took the vow of celibacy. You might have seen the beautiful movie, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” where Giacondo is having these lustful thoughts for a woman and St Francis hears him say “I can’t do it, I’ll ruin everything.” St. Francis says essentially that everyone is trying to open up and love God to their capacity. And If celibacy feels like a distraction to loving God, then be fruitful and multiply. “But with a wife”… Francis says as he goes off.
In other words, you need to trust the Holy Spirit for everything. The Holy Spirit is not going to give you a pathway that seems like deprivation and sacrifice, because you will quit listening to the Holy Spirit if you start feeling that. It would be like, “I don’t want to feel like St. John of the Cross. What am I going to do, Dark Night of the Soul? What do I have to go through?” You have to be given a carefully developed curriculum, step by step, to build your confidence in miracle working. What Jesus says in the Course is that “all real pleasure comes from doing God’s Will.”
As we open up to what that is, we grow in confidence. We grow in spirit. People can look at my life and say, he trusted the Holy Spirit. No job, no girlfriend, no money in your bank account to call your own, no house, no car to call your own, how does that feel? I can honestly tell you that when you are in a state of joy there is no feeling of sacrifice of anything. And what is joy going to cost you? It will cost you nothing of real value. But you have to let the Holy Spirit convince you. I had to let the Holy Spirit convince me.
There are no set rules. It is not like the church. There are no “dos” and “don’ts.” There are no guidelines, no what is a sin and what is not a sin. You will be guided by the Holy Spirit for the situation where your mind is at. That guidance is just for you. There is no standard answer that is like a rigid moralistic thing where you have to do this or that.
I worked with a couple once that was having sexual problems. The wife was studying a Course in Miracles and her libido was going way down. The husband was Jewish and was telling her that they were supposed to have sex and he wanted it at least three times a week and wanted it on Monday night and Thursday afternoon and Saturday night, and she was saying, 'no way'.
Basically, I worked with them to say: “How about if we can work at a common goal of being spontaneous. You see, how about if you can join together and try to tune in to one another so that you can receive spontaneous prompts and try to practice that instead of saying one should change or the other should change.”
It seems our time for this session is coming to an end. Thank you so much for coming. God Bless You.