Error and the Ego

This post is part of a series of posts entitled: Reflections from A Course in Miracles

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In my honest assessment, much of this section is a continuation of the last and there is not much new information to share on this section.

With that said, let us recap a few things: You are spirit. Each of us is spirit. Spirit is eternal and spirit is perfection, there is no need to correct the spirit, as it is already perfect. The body is nothing more than a playground and learning lab for spirit to experience life on earth in human form.

We learned in the last post that perception comes from the senses and is not knowledge. To imply that something is perceived is also to imply that it is a topic not currently known. Knowledge does not require perception proof, it just is.

In this section, we do learn that we are only aware of part of our real strength. I believe this is because most of us are unaware just how powerful our minds are in creating our own realities. It is that unawareness that causes us to not know what we are truly capable of.

Since spirit is perfect, all corrections of mis-perception are made in the mind. The mind is the only part of us that can mis-perceive.

“Consciousness, the level of perception, was the first split introduced into the mind after the separation, making the mind a perceiver rather than a creator.”

This part is a little confusing because we have already learned that the mind is the creator of our own individual reality. What we come to understand now is that when we rely solely on our perceptions (meaning the five primary senses) we are not acquiring knowledge but perception.

“Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego.  The ego is a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be rather than as you are. “

Here we learn that our self-identification is part of the ego process and not part of a deep knowing of the truth. Part of the human experience is our ability to use our senses and develop perceptions of the world based on those perceptions.

Knowledge, as we learned yesterday is more of an innate knowing of something. It is true, just because we know it is, even without proof for the senses.

As long as we are relying on our perceptions (Senses) to understand something, then it is not knowledge of the truth because knowledge does not require the use of the senses to be understood. Perception always involves misuse of the mind, because inherent knowledge does not require the senses of perception.

Perception is part of the human experience which also means it is part of the separation we have made with being a whole and complete spiritual being. It was a conscious choice we made when we entered earth in human form. We all seek to remember our spiritual form, it is part and parcel of the human experience, the human journey.

The text tell us in paragraph seven, that Jesus was a man who remembered spirit and its knowledge. It tells us that we must correct the basis of the error, not the error itself. This means, we must first reconnect with spirit.

“I can erase all misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under my guidance. Only your misperceptions stand in your way. Without them your choice is certain. Sane perception induces sane choosing. I cannot choose for you,  but I can help you make your own right choice.”

This reminds me of a concept I learned many, many years ago as part of my Al-anon experience. “Let go and Let God.” While the word “God” in this sentence has always thrown my agnosticism for a loop, I have come to terms with this idea now, knowing that each of us is part of a greater consciousness, if you will. We each create our own reality. There is something greater working here though, because all the strings of reality I create and all the strings of reality you create are not necessarily on the same path, so they are bound to get tangled and cause us some problems. Trusting that while I may not have control of everything in my life is a fact of life itself, I have control in my reaction to what does happen and I can have faith (defined here as innate knowing) that there is a plan and everything is always just as it should be.

Are you capable of accepting that somethings are indeed outside of your control? It is often a difficult concept to grasp at the same time we are learning just how much control we actually do have over our current circumstances.

I would like to close this post with my favorite part of this section:

“Many are called by few are chosen” should be corrected to be, “All are called, but few choose to listen”

Something has brought you on this path, to be reading A Course in Miracles along with me. This dear one indicates your readiness, now show up for yourself here today and listen to the message as it plays out for us:

“God Knows you only in Peace, and this is your reality”

Can you forgive yourself for those times you didn’t live up to your own expectations? How about when you didn’t live up to someone else’s expectations? Are you able to forgive others when they don’t live up to your expectations?

God, or your Higher power or the greater consciousness, higher consciousness, the Universe, the Great Power, the Source, whatever term you use already sees you as perfection, A part of the eternal perfect spirit. When you are ready to see yourself and all others in this way, you have remembered the knowledge of spirit. Only your misperceptions stand in your way.

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Miracles as True Perception

This post is part of a series of posts entitled: Reflections from A Course in  Miracles. This is Section II of Chapter 3.

Immediately, in this chapter, we are reintroduced to the ideas of non-duality.

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“Certain fundamental concepts cannot be understood in terms of opposites. It is impossible to conceive of light and darkness or everything and nothing as joint possibilities. They are all true and false.”

But, the next sentence takes us even farther this time, but telling us that we must choose.

“It is essential that you realize your thinking will be erratic until a firm commitment to one or the other is made.”

But, we immediately learn that this choice actually doesn’t exist entirely, because there really is only one choice.

“A firm commitment to darkness or nothingness however, is impossible. No one has ever lived who has not experienced some light and some thing.”

So, in choosing life, we choose light in some shape or form.

Every single part of creation is part of a greater whole. While many times in life it is difficult to see the good within the bad when it is out of our limited control. However, at least in looking back on my own life, I am able to see that even those situations from which I thought I could never possibly survive.. those painful moments where I felt as if my world had been swept out from under me…. Those moments in my past are all now clearly, simply steps leading down a different path. From the death of one life circumstance lies the birth of the next.

As we have learned about the suspension of judgment, once we stop judging things as separate from the whole, or defining them as good or evil, light or dark etc., we begin to recognize that we have created our own realities and everything in our creation is part of the whole and remains perfect as it is.

“The way to correct distortions is to withdraw your faith in them and invest it only in what is true.”

This means we stop acknowledging anything as bad or imperfect because everything in our reality is part of our own creation and therefor is part of the whole and part of perfection.  Seeing things as they are prevents us from judging them as good or bad, but rather just acknowledges the presence of what exists.

“Because you see them as they are, you offer them your acceptance of their truth so they can accept it for themselves. This is the healing that the miracle induces.”

Human beings are all in search of being seen. Acknowledge me as I am. Accept me as I am. Love me, as I am. When someone does this for us, it creates the miracle of unconditional love, which ACIM Has already taught is the ultimate goal of all miracles to begin with. Love is the answer, it is the solution to what ails us. Just unconditionally love one another and accept them as they are.

 

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Atonement without Sacrifice

This post is part of a series of posts entitled: Reflections from A Course in Miracles. This is the first post from Chapter 3 of a course of Miracles: The Innocent Perception I. Atonement without Sacrifice.

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In a previous post, I discussed the Atonement at length, if you are new to this series, it may be important to go back and read this post in particular to understand my views on atonement.

The entire idea behind this section of chapter three is to break us free of the popular Christian Belief that we must suffer in order to find atonement.  This is outlined right out of the gate in sentence 2:

“The crucifixion did not establish the Atonement; The resurrection did.”

It is essential that we remove the idea that suffering creates freedom, because it is the exact opposite which is true.

“Is it likely that God Himself would be capable of the kind of thinking in which His Own words have clearly stated is worthy of His Son?”

“Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear, and frightened people can be vicious”

Again, we must be reminded here that We are one with spirit, spirit is eternal and perfect. The body is nothing more than a learning lab for the spirit to learn and experience life in the human form. Spirit has nothing to fear and fear is a creation of the mind.

It is here that we are introduced in the text, to the idea of innocence. Innocence, in this equation can be defined as a mind that does not judge, like a child, the innocent mind just sees things as they exist, but does not categorize them as good or bad, as having to be punished or not.

We have talked previously of the idea of non-duality, and the convergence of the ideas of light and dark, good and bad, happy or sad, heaven and hell to become simply parts of the whole.

“The lion and the lamb lying down together symbolize that strength and innocence are not in conflict, but naturally live in peace.”

Just because we have the ability to cause mass destruction does not mean that we should act on it. You see, we create hate and destruction by choosing to believe that one thing should be labeled as good and one should be labeled as bad or evil.

“Only the attempts to shroud it in darkness have made it inaccessible to those who not choose to see. The Atonement itself radiates nothing but truth.”

“innocence is wisdom because it is unaware of evil does not exist”

Recognizing that something exists is different than judging it as good or bad, right or wrong, heaven or hell, good or evil. It is merely the recognition that something exists without passing judgment.

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A Very Spiritual Haleakala Sunrise

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It was 3 AM and we began our trek up the Haleakala Mountain for a glimpse of the sunrise at 10,000 feet. It was about 30 degrees at the summit that morning, colder than one would ever think, when talking about a Maui sunrise.

The five of us huddled together, wrapped in warm wool blankets we borrowed from the Yoga Chalet of the resort we were staying at. The idea that just a few short hours ago, we could be found basking in the beautiful blue Maui Ocean seemed ludicrous as we shivered, awaiting for the sun to make its mark on the day. She did not disappoint.

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Haleakala National Park is home to Maui’s highest peak. Haleakala is the Hawaiian word meaning “House of the Sun” and is where Ancient Hawaiians believed their demigod Maui lassoed the sun so that it would slow down, allowing the people more time to dry cloth and grow food.

Because the summit is so high above the island, light from nearby towns does not reach it, neither does the pollution from the city. This makes it an ideal place to watch the Sun set the stage for the day, as it rises from below the crowds, right before your very eyes.

In the late 1800’s, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) wrote

“It was the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think the memory of it will remain with me always.”

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This view has been a popular attraction, drawing nearly 1.9M visitors annual and forcing the park to limit the number of daily sun rise guests.

The sun rose at 0541, this May morning and as the flashes of brilliant purples, pinks and golden colors lit up the morning sky, I felt as though the sun was putting on a special performance just for those of us who rose early enough to beat the traffic to the summit.

What an amazing sight. These pictures do not even come close to showing you what I saw with my own eyes, the colors from the camera do not have the same crisp quality as seeing them up close and personal.

Maybe it was the hour, maybe it was the cold, but the 5 of us grew silent as she made her grand entrance and began to light up the sky. You could literally hear tears drop as we each witnessed this miraculous sight.

 

There was something  very spiritual about it. Something awe-inspiring. We really are very tiny creatures in the grand scheme of things and no matter how big our problems may seem to us, sights like this can tame even the wildest beasts soul.

If you have the opportunity to travel to Maui, the Haleakala sunrise is a not-to-be-missed attraction. Yes, you have to get up very early to find a spot. Yes, you have to make reservations before you go. Yes, it is cold at 10,000 feet elevation, even in Hawaii. It is worth every bit of it!

While the beaches of Maui are the real draw for most visitors, my week long Maui retreat was punctuated by this very cold, very early,  very high morning, where the sun came out to greet me above the clouds.

While my regular readers will know that I am agnostic, I believe this experience at Haleakala was about as close to heaven on earth as one can get!

Writing Prompt: Survive

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This writing Prompt came from the dailypost. The topic is Survive

When you are finally scraping the bottom of the barrel

You have no choice but to Survive

There are no balls and chains to contend with, when everything is already lost

There are no obligations to anyone but yourself

Survival becomes the tool of transformation

Because you go back to the basics: baby steps, one at a time

You relearn how to put one foot in front of the other

You relearn how to stand on your own two feet

When you have already lost everything, there is nothing holding you back, tying you down

There is nothing left to fear

When all of your attachments are already severed

You reach a fork in the road

One is labeled survive and thrive

The other is labeled drown in despair

The choice is clear

What are you waiting for

You are the author of everything that lies in front of you

You need only choose

At the bottom of the barrel

There is nothing left to lose

If you have nothing to lose

You have nothing to fear

You can re-begin at the start

It may feel like survival mode while you are in the thick of it

But it is freedom, ultimate freedom

To start over

To recreate

To believe in your personal power

Don’t just survive

Thrive!

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The Moon Lodge

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Yesterday, I talked a little bit about the spectacular experience I had at a 5rhythms workshop, focusing mostly on the story and philosophy behind the 5Rhythms experience. Today I would like to focus a little more on the retreat itself as it was a life changing week for me and I want to share some of the experience with you.

First of all, let me talk to you about Lucia Horan, the instructor for this fabulous Moon Lodge Journey. Lucia has been dancing 5Rhythms since birth, she learned from the 5Rhythms founder herself, Gabrielle Roth and is an integral part of the 5rhythms family.

“Lucia has taught at Esalen Institute (CA), Omega Institute (NY & Costa Rica), Kripalu, Centro de Ompia (Italy), The Studio Maui (Hawaii), TNK Psychology Institute (Osaka and Tokyo Japan), The Moving Center School (San Francisco and NYC), Wanderlust Vermont & Oahu.

She is recognized as an international teacher of the 5Rhythms® practice. Lucia brings to her teaching practice a lifetime of experience with the 5Rhythms as a way to move through the fabric of life’s experiences. She comes to the dance floor to share her love for the dance and faith in the practice. Lucia currently resides in Maui, Hawaii.”

What her bio does not tell you is that she is an amazing teacher and dancer who brought 20 women together in Maui last week for a beautiful experience of dancing, catharsis and healing. From across the globe, 20 of us gathered from all walks of life, each of us with our own intention for the week. Some were looking for empowerment, some were just looking to dance, I was looking to get back in touch with the sacred feminine side of my own psyche and I did not leave disappointed!

Lucia guided us through a week long journey of moving emotional energy through dance. She danced us through pain, anger, grief and joy all the while keeping us grounded and focused and light on our feet.

Together, these women showed up for themselves and one another, ready to work, ready to dance, ready to sweat our prayers and leave it all on the dance floor.

As the music began on the first day, we awkwardly began swaying around the yoga chalet to the pulse of the music, which seemed to lure us into movement. By the end of the week, these women have become my friends, my sisters, my safe place.

I did not know what to expect on this retreat but in showing up on the dance floor, I reconnected with my emotions, I found strength, courage, sisterhood and so much more.

Each woman came with her own agenda. Some of us working through relationship problems, some of us dealing with grief and loss, some like myself were simply trying to navigate the waters of life as the changes ebb and flow. Each of us found more than we bargained for with Lucia.

Lucia helped each and every one of us to connect with our feminine energy and step into our power. We laughed, we cried, we danced, we sweat (a lot!) and we comforted one another in a way the world needs more of.

Too often, we tear at each other, and try to break each other down. In this moon lodge, not only did we hold one another in a sacred container, we lifted one another, we forged bonds that were reminiscent of the bonds I made in Basic Military Training many years ago. The kind of bond you can only form when you have been through the trenches together, a sisterhood of a spiritual nature.

Regardless of our individual background, family situation, or troubled past, these women and I went through the trenches of chaos together and danced out the other side in stillness. We shared our greatest fears and challenges in a sacred council, we bathed one another in ritual bath and we supported one another through our individual journeys, coming out strong and empowered.

I have been dancing 5Rhythms for a few months now, home alone, dancing across the bedroom floor. This workshop however, opened my eyes to the power of women who support one another and left me longing for a replacement for the sisterhood these women provided.

I cannot speak to any other 5rhythms instructors, but I can speak to the power of Lucia Horan. She is an amazing force multiplier, sharing her dance, sharing her teachings, sharing herself with the rest of us. She shared her trials and her vulnerabilities and let us know that she has danced her way through many of her life’s struggles all while showing us how to do the same for ourselves and how to support one another in the process.

I am told that each instructor brings his or her own flavor to the practice and while I look forward to experiencing another instructor’s take on 5rhythms, I know that Lucia is a class act and I find it difficult to believe anyone else can measure up to the workshop this incredible woman put on for us this week!

They say that Western Women will save the earth and I believe women like Lucia embody this idea with their spiritual presence. What a gift it has been to share in a week of her teachings with the incredible women of the moon lodge.

Having completed this week long workshop, I now feel like I have more tools in my tool bag. I feel more graceful, more feminine, more empowered.  I feel like I am ready to take on the chaos of my world and face whatever Karma can throw at me. I am eternally grateful to Lucia and the Women of the Lumeria Moon Lodge 2017. What a powerful, awe-invoking experience this week was, I cannot wait for the next opportunity to dance!

 

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Finally, I wanted to give a shout out to one of my fellow moon lodge dancers Kalia for her write-up on the workshop at Spiritualityhealth.com. Please read her review of our experience here.

 

The Meaning of the Last Judgment

This post is part of a series of posts entitled: Reflections from A Course in Miracles

 

This is the final section of Chapter II. Section Viii The Meaning of the last Judgment

In my opinion, the entire section can be summed up in paragraph 5

He we learn that death is nothing to be feared and our fear of “The Last Judgment has everything to do with our association of “Last” with Death. Also, our association of death and fear.

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“If the meaning of the Last Judgment is objectively examined, it is quite apparent that it is really the doorway to life.”

Powerfully, we are reminded that we are spirit and have nothing to fear because spirit is perfection and the body is nothing more than a learning lab for the spirit to experience life on earth in human form.

“No one who lives in fear is really alive”

Wow! What a powerful statement! No one who lives in fear is really alive. We have already identified that fear is a creation in our own mind, whatever we think, we create, giving validity to the fears as our reality is the creation of the mind.

We have talked a lot about fear in these posts, so this is a powerful lesson to learn. How different would your life be, if you were not afraid of anything? What would your world be like, if you were not afraid to be alone? Not afraid to try something different? Speak your mind? Live your dreams? Pursue your passion? If fear didn’t exist in your life, how different would your life be?

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Next, I would like you to think of the Last Judgment not as some day of reckoning coming from a power outside yourself, rather the day, YOU CHOOSE to STOP JUDGING.

We have already learned that our lives our mostly our creations but there are still events outside of our control. Even in those random events outside of our control, the truth of our reality is created by how we CHOOSE to view these events outside of our control. There are always choices. Choices create our reality. When we stop judging our created reality as good or bad and we accept both as part of the experience of being human, we begin what Eastern Traditions allude to as becoming a silent observer of your own life, experiencing the joys and the sorrows, the pain and the pleasure, the happy and sad all as parts of the whole and not judged as good or bad. We begin to Just Be, without judgment.

If everything in your life is part of your creation and you judge parts of it as bad or wrong, you are denying a part of yourself. The day YOU CHOOSE to STOP JUDGING things as good or bad, right or wrong, is the Last Judgment. Because you then enter a space where everything in your life, is your creation and is lovable. It is your own perfect creation This ends duality, it ends suffering.

“This is part of your Atonement”

Now that we have finished two chapters together, I would love to hear from you again! As with any art form, the text of ACIM can be interpreted in many ways. My interpretations are flavored by my experiences and beliefs but I believe in trying to find a common ground. The more we all learn to relate to one another and recognize that we are each on our own individual, yet similar journey, we can form a powerful community of seekers with a common vision of healing our tired souls and our scarred earth. My vision for the pages of this site is to join us in commonness rather than perpetuating differences. I would love to hear how my views may strike a chord with you, even if our backgrounds are not the same. In common ground we find strength. As always, thanks again for reading, please, I would love to hear your thoughts.

5Rhythms : A Journey to Spirit through dance

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I recently had the opportunity to experience my very first 5Rhythms dance retreat at a fabulous Maui resort called Lumeria. Today, I would like to tell you a little about the 5rhytms practice. Tomorrow, I will tell you more about my experience at the retreat.

“Dancing the 5Rhythms is a practice…a dynamic way to both workout and to meditate in the same breath. They teach us that life is energy in motion, freeing us from any fixed notions about people, places, objects or ideas.”

The concept behind the 5Rhythms practice is simple: the body holds emotional trauma. Every feeling has an impact on the body, every emotion has an affect on your physical health. When we are under stress, these feelings and emotions can wreak havoc on our physical health. Emotions and feelings have great power. They are energy in motion.

While science is just beginning to show these mind-body connections, several spiritual practices have held this theory centuries. Blocked emotions become trapped in the body, blocking the flow of energy, which over the long term can make us sick.

This is the theory behind several spiritual, medical and physical practices to include: Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Acupressure, Acupuncture, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) (aka Tapping) and ecstatic dance. This is also the philosophy behind the 5Rhythms.

“Each of the Five Rhythms is a practical tool of awakening that will release us to dance on the edge, to be outrageous, to transform suffering into art, and art into awareness. Embracing the rhythms as spiritual practice is a dynamic way to free the body, to express the heart, and to clear the mind.” – Gabrielle Roth

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The 5Rhythms practice combines the body, mind and soul using movement and breath to create a container, if you will, a meditative space that allows you to find those energy blockages and release them through dance.

If you are a spiritual person and love to dance, this practice was created just for you!

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Through the rhythm of flowing, we explore the feminine energy and explore the fluidity of our bodies in movement.

In the Staccato rhythm, we find explore the power of masculine energy and boundaries.

In chaos, we completely release control of the body and allow it to move to the rhythm of chaos. Liberation is the best word to describe dancing in chaos. This rhythm is what we most think of when we refer to ecstatic dance. Imagine just allowing your body to thrash and flail about in the rhythm of chaos.

“Visually we look like a big, hot, giant, sweaty mess overflowing with cathartic energy. This is our big dance, our break out dance, our break through dance. “

Dancing in the rhythm of chaos is an amazingly cathartic experience. When in a 5rhythms class or workshop and you get to chaos, the entire room releases into this safe space, where it is safe to just let the body act out all of those crazy, chaotic emotions.

At the exhausting end of chaos, we arrive to a beautiful lyrical rhythm and place. We find a fluid rhythm, creativity, repetition. Suddenly, where we had just been thrashing about releasing pent up emotions, we are now floating gracefully, flying across the floor in a lyrical ecstatic experience that can only be compared to the after glow of wild passionate sex with someone you are deeply in love with, it is the after glow.. the flight that comes after you have released the ball and chain.

Finally, we arrive in stillness. Similar to silence, we slow down, suddenly, all of that blocked energy we released in chaos begins moving through us.

“Shapes from the past, the present and the future come through us—shapes of the Feminine and the Masculine and the magic dance they do together. Moving in Stillness and being still in motion fuses the accumulation of our bodies’ life experiences into our true wisdom. Eventually we dissolve into sitting meditation, where all the other Rhythms of our journey converge in the vital resonance of Stillness. “

In 5rhythms, I feel as though I have found a spiritual home. It is a spiritual practice I can show up for again and again, I can feel free to express myself creatively through the dance.

I am not a professional dancer, but I have always loved to dance. I have loved ballroom dance, line dancing, break dancing, salsa dancing and free dancing at the club. In this practice, you do not require any formal training, you need only to show up and to move. They rhythms will move you through the waves of the 5rhythms and the instructors will pump you up and help you purge your blocked emotions. Leaving a 5rhythms class, I felt as if I were floating, flying free from every ball and chain that has held me back. I was Free!

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If you love to dance, if you love music. If you are still looking for your spiritual home.. or just another way to augment your spiritual journey, 5rhythms may be exactly what you have been searching for. Find a class right now! Find a workshop! Download some of Gabrielle Roth’s music. (I highly recommend you start with Endless Wave as Gabrielle herself talks on the track leading you through the 5rhythms.) I also highly recommend you read her book, “Sweat your Prayers”

“In dancing 5Rhythms you can track perceptions and memories; seek out gestures and shapes; tune into instincts and intuitions. They reveal ways to creatively express aggressiveness and vulnerability, emotions and anxieties, edges and ecstasies. They reconnect us to cycles of birth, death and renewal and hook us up to the spirit in all living things. They initiate us back into the wisdom of our bodies and unleash movement’s dynamic healing power.

In dancing 5Rhythms the body becomes our spiritual path.”

Like I have said, if you are looking for a new spiritual practice, or if you are just wanted a fresh workout, as long as you love music and dancing, you will find a new Tribe in the 5Rythms community. For more information on 5Rhythms, please visit their website. https://www.5rhythms.com/

Cause and Effect

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This post is part of a series of posts entitled: Reflections from a Course of Miracles

Chapter 2, Vii Cause and Effect

Immediately in this section, we are reminded that we are not only responsible for our own fears, we are also responsible for alleviating them ourselves. We have the personal power to create our own realities, so, asking a higher power to alleviate us from our fear is also asking that we remove the most important element of freedom; the power of personal choice. It is in our personal choices that we create our own realities.

Once we remember once again that spirit is perfect and eternal and has nothing to fear and the human body is nothing more than a learning laboratory for spirit to experience life on earth in human form, this immediately removes duality of our existence and should also then, alleviate all fear as a miscreation of our own mind.

“Miracle working entails a full realization of the power of thought in order to avoid miscreation.”

Here we see the cause and effect of fear. Fear is created in the mind. The mind is the creator of reality, making fear seam very real.

“Both Miracles and Fear come from thoughts”

Both the miracle mind and the fearful mind come from our own thoughts. Once again, we are reminded of our POWER OF PERSONAL CHOICE. Fear is a choice.

In Paragraph 4 sentence 4 we learn that the true way to resolve this choice of fear lies in the mastery of love.

“Nothing and everything cannot coexist. To believe in one is to deny the other. Fear is really nothing and love is everything. Whenever light enters darkness, the darkness is abolished. What you believe is true for you.”

That last sentence gives us a really big clue, a reminder that we indeed create our own reality.

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We are again reminded of our non-duality with spirit in paragraph 6

“It should especially be noted that God has only one Son. If all his Creations are His Sons, every one must be an integral part of the whole Sonship. The Sonship in its Oneness transcends the sum of its parts.”

If divine creation has chosen to be on earth as a human, then each version of the human experience must be recognized as equally valid.  Denying any part of the human experience is denying a part of ourselves. This is the essence of duality we learn about in many Eastern traditions. Yin and Yang, Masculine and Feminine, Black or white, Light or Dark, Good and Evil, Love and Hate, there is none without the other. Denying one then, denies the other. These can be very powerful words if you really swallow them.

The idea behind the dark night of the soul is learning to recognize these dark parts in ourselves and admitting they exist and opening our minds to new ideas of oneness and wholeness and the synergy that occurs when the sum is greater than all of its parts individually.

“Only then can the meaning of wholeness in the true sense be understood”

Finally, by the end of this section, we are given hope by learning:

“Readiness is only the prerequisite for accomplishment”

We are reminded again that Fear is a choice and trying to master fear is not the real problem, the real problem is:

“We have already attempted to correct the fundamental error that fear can be mastered, and have emphasized that the only real mastery is through love. Readiness is only the beginning of confidence.”

The fact that you have entered dear reader into this journey with me, diving into A Course of Miracles, signifies your readiness, our readiness. We are all seekers of knowledge, we are all searching for answers, looking for something, seeking a connection with something greater than ourselves. Let that thing be Love. The fact that you are here signifies your readiness, hopefully, my non-theistic interpretation allows you to see this text of ACIM as a journey towards that wholeness we all seem to be seeking.

Lastly, we are reminded that once we all master love, time and space will cease to exist.

Stepping into personal power

power

 

Have you ever had a moment of personal power? A moment of infinite freedom? A decisive moment in your personal history where you were 100% aware of your personal power and the freedom to choose?

They say that someone with nothing left to lose has nothing to fear.  I believe the reason for this is because it somewhat liberating, while not necessarily ideal, when you have lost everything you love, you have the ultimate freedom of choice. Because you are no longer weighed down by commitment to others or commitment to responsibilities or commitment in general. You have removed all the balls and completely cut all the chains. It is the reason why people who have finally hit rock bottom can not only come back, but often come back stronger than ever. When you have lost everything, you no longer have any reason to stop trusting your intuition and listening to your own inner guidance and GPS. Because when you hit rock bottom, you start realizing the roll you have had to play in your own failures.  Because when all you have loved is lost… you truly have to choose to live. Once you make the choice to live and claw your way through all the muck and mud of self destruction you can see the places where you took wrong turns.

Losing everything is not the only way to step into our own power. Unfortunately, we humans tend to like taking the hard way more often than the scenic route.

Every day we have the ability to wake up and choose a different reality. It all starts when we claim our personal power and recognize the power of personal choice and take different actions than the ones that keep us tied to ideals that are not ours. Even when we choose to compromise our ideals because we love someone, once we recognize this has been our choice, we no longer feel a victim of circumstance or anything else. When we own our choices we become more powerful because we establish healthy boundaries when we know what we stand for and value most.

Of course once we step into our power, there are always circumstances outside of our control because there are Billions of souls co-creating our reality and not everyone’s ideal fits together. This of course means that we still have a responsibility to choose our response to that reality. I hate traffic jams, it gets up my blood pressure and stresses me out. When I allow myself to become inpatient with the traffic, it does not change the fact that their is traffic, it just makes the traffic unbearable and my mood sour. This is a choice!

From here, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce the impact our choices have on our health and in our bodies. Besides the food we choose to eat, choosing to stress out in traffic for an hour a day certainly is not doing much to help the blood pressure. Minute by minute we make little choices that impact our reality and impact our health. When we step into our personal power, we start to recognize the impact each and every choice we make every single minute of every single day creates this life and at any moment we can choose to create a different reality by making a different choices.

I struggle with this daily. I know I create my own reality intellectually, but sometimes, my ego has a difficult time making the integration with reality. Its super easy to get in my car, excited to get somewhere (Usually trying to get home from the daily grind) and then get irritated when I see traffic is going to delay me. It’s easy to lose sight of my part in creating my own reality when the guy in the next lane decides to jump in front of me and then hit his breaks. It’s really easy to lose sight in those instant moments of impact where the rubber meets the road. But, we must slug on and keep at it, like a meditation practice, when we realize the mind has wandered, we gently go back to the breath. Daily, we must gently remind ourselves, when we realize we have allowed emotions to take control (the ego), we must be gently with ourselves when we do this, because forgetting is part of the human condition. When we catch ourselves drifting down the river of emotion, simply remember that at anytime we can choose not to. We always have a choice. The choice will not always be easy but it is always there.

The more we practice stepping into our power and claiming the power of our own choices, we get better at it, it becomes more natural. Our mind wanders less and the tides of emotion begin to shore themselves up.  We begin feeling empowered by our choices and we begin to claim that power more often. We no longer say yes when we mean no. We no longer make commitments our hearts are not really congruent with. We begin valuing our time and our personal freedom. We express our boundaries and communicate our needs clearly and our relationships transform. We choose when to compromise and when we refuse the incongruence.  Once we have claimed our power, life starts getting easier because we understand the power of choice.

This also means we have to start looking at what we hold dearly and where we have those balls and chains. I had a very liberating moment when I learned for myself to consider the source of my critics. It is a basic human need to want to fit in, but it is important to recognize where it is we are trying to fit before we make commitments to sacrifice our freedom to choose.

I have shared before that I have had some daddy issues over the years, constantly seeking approval from men who are incapable of giving it to me for one reason or another, repeating the patterns of my childhood, my father’s emotional unavailability and my need for his approval.  Cutting that ball and chain gave me wings to fly! One day, I realized that my father is a miserable, unhappy man who is chronically negative, critical and dryly sarcastic. He is that way with everyone. While I had always made it my personal mission to seek his approval and pride, he  is incapable of giving it to anyone, it has nothing to do with me, it wasn’t personal. It was his problem with his life, not mine. When he chose to criticize my choices, I started choosing to not care. Because if choosing the life he would chose for me would result in my having his disposition, why on earth would I choose his path? Do not get me wrong, this does not mean we should criticize anyone else’s path, but I do think we should consider carefully whose criticism we are willing to take to heart. Whose life are we trying to live? Who are we trying to emulate? Once we step into our personal power, it becomes more evident that the fewer opinions we allow to matter, the more liberated we are.

Stepping into our power is not an overnight thing, it is a process that has to be worked at and perfected and massaged and molded. We learn as we grow and we share what we know with others so we can all help light the way. Because enlightenment itself is so brief and hard to explain in human words, we do every thing we can to find ways to describe what we have seen and to live up to our part in the circle of life.

I am by no means an expert because as I have shared, it is a daily struggle to remember. Emotions are like waves, they have a tendency to knock us out of our natural rhythm. We have to learn to swim with the tides, sometimes that means diving right into the thick of it and holding on to see what comes out the other side.  Each and every day I have to remind myself I have choices, but it gets easier with practice and then I begin discovering even more layers of places in which I actually have more control than I have ever realized. Its an amazingly fabulous journey! What does your struggle look like? How do you struggle to remember you have choices?