A Few Days With Jesus

Some time ago, maybe two years, I reached out for spiritual answers through “automatic writing.”  This is a much more woo-woo way of saying soul-writing or journaling.  It was at a point where I was quite certain I needed a spiritual teacher.  I’d been informed by various people that everyone needs a real-life teacher.  You can’t get there with books alone.  I asked my journal, or asked God through my journal, who would be my teacher.  The answer that came into my head and onto the page was JESUS.

At that time I’d just bought A Course In Miracles which is supposedly a curriculum by Jesus (through Helen Schucman). I started reading the text but didn’t complete it and didn’t even begin on the student workbook.   The book is a lot to grasp, I’d say in parts it is as tricky to decode as the Bible.  And to some extent I was as skeptical of it as I am the Bible.  After reading over 700 pages of it (it’s over 1000 pages) 400 pages of the almost 700 page text, I put it aside and have only thought of it on a few occasions.  (One of those occasions was when I was bringing the blog back and I considered making it an ACIM themed blog.)

So the idea of learning from Jesus through A Course In Miracles has been a seedling in my brain for a while.  This week I read the last two books in the Reflections of the Christ Mind series by Paul Ferrini.  Just as Helen Schucman before him, he feels and claims that the content of his books came directly from Jesus.  When you read it you feel as if you are having a modern day conversation with the Savior himself.  The teachings are exactly what resonates with me and nothing like what I heard in the Baptist church that reminded us again and again that without accepting Christ we’d suffer for eternity in Hell.

The last book in the series mostly came from Paul Ferrini himself.  He talked about how he came to accept Jesus as his teacher.  He was raised Jewish and wasn’t necessarily open to the Christian concept of the son of God.  But in a moment of darkness in his life, a voice came to him and guided him.  Later he would realize this presence was Jesus.  Along his path he found A Course in Miracles and although skeptical of it’s origin found that the teachings were in line with the Christ he knew.  Through reading what was in essence his testimony, I came to understand the true meaning of accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.  It is not a process in which you take a vow and start going to church.  Instead it is about going within, asking Christ to guide you, and being open to that guidance without inserting your ego into the mix. We really can know Jesus.

I had such an experience some time ago (of truly feeling Jesus was with me).  I’d had an encounter with someone who had accused me of worshiping false Gods and being a voice for the devil.  But what I felt in my heart was that I’d learned that I could commune with God and Jesus in silence.  I’d even felt that a lot of what came to me through meditations, books I found, and people I met were messages about Reality from God.  So after this run-in, I wanted to prove to myself that Jesus was with me too.  That night in bed I asked Jesus for a sign.  It may have all been in my head but I swear that I felt the palms of my hands and my feet tingle.  In the next moment I heard “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Since that night I’ve still struggled with my relationship with Jesus.  Because of the religious influences in my life it is often hard for me to separate the loving, forgiving brother and wayshower with the God up on the cross that I am supposed to bow down to.  In my attempts to analyze this I’ve even questioned his very existence at all.  This week I had the opportunity to hear a call in the form of those books.  It reminded me that there is a teacher out there for me and all I need to do is commit to finding quiet time to commune with him and follow the example he set.  The Christ is within all of us, it’s just up to us if we want to meet him there.

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None of us Really Know…Do We?

I just finished reading the book Silence of the Heart by Paul Ferrini.  It talked a lot, like most of the spiritual books I read, about the inward journey being the place where you find your truth.  All of the outward stuff just forces us, if we wise up, to ask those inward questions.  When we bump up against something and it makes us go “OWIEEEEE!” we ought to ask ourselves why.  That is where we get real answers.  That is how we move forward on our unique path to enlightenment.

I went to my grandmother’s funeral a few weeks ago.  She was a wonderful woman, who lived a long life and had a lot of experiences.  I went to the service hoping to cry and laugh at the stories told about her.   But I also knew since she attended a baptist church the sermon would go hand in hand with the celebration of her life.

It’s been a long time since I’ve attended a church like that.  I got bumped…big time.  In a way I thought maybe I’d conjured up and exaggerated the message, that maybe it was bitterness that caused me to remember only one particular aspect.  But no.  The only message I took a way from Mema’s funeral sermon was:

If people don’t ask Jesus into their hearts they are doomed to Hell.  It doesn’t matter how good they are, all that matters is they allow Jesus to save them.  All the other religions are wrong…end of discussion.  And since Mema had Jesus in her heart, the only way to see her again is to take Jesus into your heart.

I was squirming in my seat.  My stomach was doing flips.  A lump was forming in my throat.  I wanted to scream.  I wanted to run.  That is how I felt as I listened to the minister speak.  That is what I felt as I was supposed to be honoring my grandmother’s life.

So why did it bug me?  Why does this particular bump hurt so badly time and time again?  First off, this is my family’s religion.  This is their way of life.  For a girl who did her best to be pleasing (although I’m sure some might argue this), it really sucks to know that your family’s religion and beliefs tell them over and over that all the good I’ve done amounts to nothing.  I can spend years teaching inner city school children and serving food at the homeless shelter but I’m still going to burn in Hell with the worst of them.  In the end it only really matters that I’m on the right team.  And I’m not.  In ways I wish I could go back but I would be deceiving everyone if I did.

Which brings me to my next point.  There are so many people I want to shake and say “don’t you see how much of this life, this moment, this world you are missing out on by living a dream.”  We build up walls between us and our brothers and our sisters, so that we can stake claim to some plot of land in the afterlife that may or may not exist.  I am as convinced that they are wrong as the minister and his congregants are convinced they are right.  So I have built my own walls.  I have chosen to love my brothers and sisters less.  I’ve been prideful and smug.  I’m no different than the man that smiled and told a roomful of mourners that unless they followed his ideas they would suffer in a fiery Hell forever.

The truth is we don’t know.  None of us actually know what happens when we die.  We don’t actually know if there is a God.  We take it by faith.  We look at our own personal life experience and if we see something that appears as God there we make a choice to believe.  The books we read are all just experiences shared by other people just like us.  It is not my place to tell you where or how you should find God.  It is not my place to tell you that your God is not the right God.  I should simply love you for having the courage to seek at all.  And I hope to be loved for those reasons as well.

Breathing Instead of Bailing

In case you haven’t noticed, I trashed the “What No Longer Serves You” post.  Since I decided to return here to this space I didn’t want my bailing out post to be hanging out there anymore.  Obviously, bailing wasn’t the answer to my search.  It reminded me more than anything that I’m still searching and it sucks to not be able to talk about it.  It seems a bit silly, but I realized coming here gives me a sense of purpose.  It exercises my craft but more importantly it exercises my soul.  When I take my reactions and my feelings and I put them into words and out into the world I learn more about who I am and where I’m going.

I physically bailed on this blog on August 27th when I published that last post, but I mentally bailed at the beginning of the summer.  At that point I lost touch with friends (such as Musing Madman) who challenged me and helped guide my spiritual development, I stopped making time for silence, and I let my mind carry me to the future far too often.  I spent oh so many hours dwelling on goals and desires that I fear will never come to fruition.  I let the fears grip me to the point of paralysis.  I let gratitude slide and my breathing become shallow.

I mention breath because it really is a metaphor for life.  Shallow breath usually comes along with anxious feelings and anxious feelings usually accompany shallow thoughts.  When you breathe deeply and consciously, you can’t help but live that way too.  I’m reading the Paul Ferrini book, Silence of the Heart, now.  It begins with a few pages about breath.  It points out that whenever you are upset you can stop and observe that you are not breathing (or not breathing deeply).  If in that moment you take a few deep breaths you will feel some relief from that angst.  “One who breathes is not afraid or overwhelmed by what life presents….”

I hope that this post is the first of many.  I hope I can find solace and inspiration in both the silence and the breath.  I know I have experienced great peace from them in the past.  Yet in the moment, returning to that peace is a challenge that should be easy but strangely isn’t.  I took a minor detour on my path to self-discovery.  I lost myself a bit in fear.  I wanted answers that are simply not ready for me yet.  Now I’m easing my way back to surrender…

Paul Ferrini

I read this amazing book this week called Love Without Conditions.  The author does not present himself as a channeler, but the book is in essence channeled.  So the entire book comes through Ferrini from Jesus.  The following is one of the quotes I underlined while reading:

“I ask you to remember that everything that you think about, say or do to another person reflects back to you what you think of yourself.  A negative thought about someone else demonstrates how you see yourself.  Verbal abuse of others indicates your own feelings of shame and emotional rejection.  And physical violence toward another indicates your own suicidal impulse.”  -“Jesus” through Paul Ferrini

Ramblings

I have had no burst of inspiration today.  There’s no words of wisdom or deep questions I have for myself or you.  I’m writing this on Sunday, April 25.  The 25th of each month is no longer just another day.  The 25th will forever be the date that signifies one more month without Amy in my life.  Someone wrote the other day on Facebook that they think of her everyday.  I paused for a moment realizing that I don’t think of her as much anymore.  Everyday seems like a lot, but compared to every minute it is not.  For so many weeks, maybe even months, a minute could not pass without a memory or thought of Amy coming to mind.  But yes, like the friend on Facebook, I do still think of her everyday.  Yesterday I was on the couch reading and I stopped for a moment to think of her.  I looked up from my book and on PBS was a commercial for a documentary about frogs.  Today the girls brought me yet another mysterious toy frog that they found in their room.  She’s still sending me signs.  I hope she never stops.

I used a gift certificate and bought two books yesterday:  Love Without Conditions by Paul Ferrini and The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. I started reading them both yesterday.  Apparently The Master Key System is a 24 week program.  You are supposed to read each chapter over a week period and apply what you are learning.  I’m excited about it, but hope that I can stick with it.  I’ve bought and read several books like this one and never treated them like a class, but instead just devoured them and placed them back on the bookshelf.  Intellectually I understand a lot of what (I think) is going to be presented in this book, but it is really time to take it to the next level.  The best way to get to that next level is to use the book as suggested.

The other book, Love Without Conditions, is just wonderful.  Seeing as I had my belief in Jesus shaken a bit a week or so ago, this book is just what I needed.  It is not a channeled book specifically, but the text comes through the author from Jesus.  Ferrini says in the introduction that we all have access to Jesus and can commune with him and get the same information from within our consciousness directly from him.  I believe that because I have experienced it!  I have realized through some of the comments I received on that post, some answers I received within, and from what I read in this book that I really don’t need absolute proof of Jesus’ human existence on this earth for me to know that he is a spiritual teacher for me.  His words and lessons will not change.

Happy Monday everyone!  Have a great work/school week and for those of you who might be wondering…I did sign up to give a talk at church this summer.