Saturday, November 7, 2015

Drinking the Kool-Aid




“Mind training?!  I don’t know about this. I’m very careful about who or what I let mess with my mind.”



So I said to my ACIM teacher the first time I met with her one-on-one. At my request, she was explaining the curriculum and the learning process of A Course in Miracles. I could feel myself tense up as I equated mind training with brain washing. Images of indoctrination, cults, and “drinking the Kool-Aid” flashed through my brain.



But…I wanted to hear more; learn more. Since I had already read portions of the Big Blue book, I knew that something within its messages called to me. So, I stayed. And, I heard more and learned more. I was willing to give it a shot but I made a promise to myself that I would remain ever vigilant for the troops that might come to abduct me and take me to the secret camp.



Fast-forward five years. As a committed student of the Course I have a broader vantage point from which to base my decisions. And, I am not writing this from some hut on that feared illusion of a camp!



Let’s talk about mind training. It’s what goes on day-in-and-day-out from the moment we are born. Much of it can be extremely positive and helpful to the developing child. Many messages keep the child safe, help him/her to develop appropriate boundaries and learn social norms. But many messages can be harmful to the innate goodness of that child.



Take careful note of the some of the messages that you may have received from well meaning adults:

·      “Be careful of him.  He’s one of those.”

·      “Stay away from her. She’s not like us.”

·      “Avoid that part of town.”

·      “He’s so lazy that he’s not worth our time or energy.”

·      “You’re not as good as your brother.”

·      “I wish you were as smart as your sister.”

·      “Make sure you don’t get too fat. You won’t look pretty.”

·      Add some of the message that you received that did more to deflate you than raise you up.



What about some of the messages we’ve heard from the pulpit?

·      “In order to enter the Gates of Heaven you must make sacrifices.”

·      “You cannot be a member of our church because you are gay/lesbian and you’re sinful.”

·      “Your sins will separate you from God.”

·      “You will go to Hell if you if you commit mortal sins.”

·      “God does not permit women to become priests.”

·      “Only the chosen may receive communion.”

·      What messages have you heard that do more to separate you from others and convince you that you are separate from God?



And the media, what role have they played in mind training?

·      It’s your choice: Be thin or be ugly

·      Youth is coveted over the aging. Get rid of those wrinkles.

·      Men are powerful and assertive and are given the floor to speak. Women are whiney, and weak bitches when they disagree with those in charge.

·      Drive this car and you’ll be admired.

·      Wear these clothes and you’ll be cool.

·      Live in this neighborhood and you’ll be accepted

·      Buy our product and you’ll be admired.

·      I’m sure you could spout off product jingles, law firm phone numbers and prescription drug promises. Want to give it a try to see how they’ve gotten into your head?



You want to talk about mind training? Look at and listen to the messages that you are bombarded with on a daily basis! What do these messages do to your self-worth, your state of mind, and your independent thinking?



And I was worried about the mind training of A Course in Miracles? It is messages of the Course that seek to undo the too-numerous negative messages that we have absorbed. It is through the indoctrinated messages of some ill-informed adults, religions and the media that we have been force-fed the Kool-Aid.



Take a look at only some of the lessons (from the Workbook) that the Course asks us to consider and practice…reminding us that we always have free will whether to follow Jesus’ messages or those of the ego:

·      There is another way of looking at the world. W-33

·      I could see peace instead of this. W-34

·      I am the light of the world. W-6

·      I am as God created me. W-110

·      Let me remember that I am one with God. W-124

·      I walk with God in perfect holiness. W-156

·      I choose the joy of God instead of pain. W-190

·      I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. W-284

·      Eternal holiness abides in me. W-299

·      Judgment and love are opposites.  From one come all the sorrows of the world.  But from the other comes the peace of God Himself. W-352



Tell me please, which messages would you rather have received as child, those that encouraged you to fear others, to keep yourself apart from others and to see them or yourself as less-than? And what about the messages where your mind was trained to believe that God loves only some of His children and rejects others? You have free will remember. Which do you choose?



Here’s my choice: I choose the joy of God instead of pain.




 Photo of Barb Adams by Sue Gavron (c) 2014

Barbara Franco Adams is a ministerial student with the Pathways of Light ministries.






Monday, October 19, 2015

What Do I Choose to See?





By looking through my body’s eyes 
and perceiving with my wrong-mind

I see a world of illusions,

 Of hate, separation, fear, discrimination, attack and vengeance.



If I allow myself to judge my brothers and sisters 
and make them special.

I either embrace them in higher esteem, or

I hold them below me and laud my accomplishments 
and false beliefs over them.



By looking at the world through my body’s eyes
and perceiving with my wrong-mind,

I plug into the interpretations of ego.

I place this false idol on the throne 
and bow to her self-heralded greatness.



Through this I suffer.

Through this I insist that my brothers and sisters suffer.



“But wait,” says Christ.

(He whispers in my ear.)

“Wait, My sister. You have a choice:

Between suffering by choosing judgment and specialness, or

Love through forgiveness with its promised gifts of peace and joy.

Through Christ Vision you offer these gifts 
to not only your brothers and sisters,

But you gain them all for yourself.



Remember:

What you give you receive.

Which do you choose?”



“Oh, my Blessed Christ! I choose Love.

I choose to walk with You, to follow You, to hold Your Hand.

I choose to see others with Christ Vision

So that when I look at my brothers and sisters,

I look upon them with corrected, 20/20 True Perception.”



“By viewing through Your eyes, hearing with Your ears 
and reaching out with Your hands,

I will see the Truth of my brothers and sisters, 
and of myself.

I will hear the Truth of their words.

I will feel the Truth of their Love as we hold on to each other

And walk as One with You.



I choose You, Dear Christ!

I choose, You.”




Photos and blog by
Barbara Franco Adams

October 2015




Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.




I Am the Light of the World. W-61
A Course in Miracles
Foundation for Inner Peace, 2nd Edition




As I was going through a bunch of old papers last week, I came across something that I had scribed in 2002. At the time, I was an assistant principal at a middle school and (too) much of my time was spent dealing with the disciplinary referrals sent to me by teachers who believed that they had exhausted the tools in their toolbox for dealing with disruptive students. Let it be said that most teachers had a good handle on how to apply the Code of Conduct while allowing the students to maintain their dignity. But a very few saw only with their eyes and not their hearts, and for whatever reasons withheld the very thing that many unruly students truly needed: love and respect…or for those not comfortable with the L-word in schools, caring and respect.



Kids know when you love them/care for them. They gravitate toward you and they trust you. Once that is established, the sky’s the limit! Not only can teaching and learning take place, but the classroom can be a place of solace and joy. It is that for which I strove in my room and then later within the four walls of my administrative office.



On October 3, 2002 a young African American girl was written up by one of the few teachers who chose not to look beyond her own fear, and who didn’t take the time to get to know this young girl who had transferred to our suburban school from the city.



Across from my desk, 8th grader, Nyiesha sat with her head bowed down. Aloud, I read the referral, which was written in large bold handwriting and brash language that described an uncooperative, angry child. I asked this young girl to tell me what she believed had occurred in the classroom, and she complied. Somehow the two accounts didn’t reconcile.



Seeing tears running down her beautiful black cheeks, I asked Nyiesha if she were happy in her new school.




“Uh-uh. No, Mam,” she said softly.



“Were you happy in your other school, in the city?”



“Yes, Mam.”



I remember that I sat there for a while thinking and reflecting, my heart aching for the little one across from me.  “Nyiesha,” I asked, “do you know many people here yet?” She silently moved her head from side-to-side. “And, do many people know you?”



“No.”



Again, we sat in silence while I conjured an image and offered it up. “Nyiesha, if you could stand on the stage in the auditorium and look out at all of the students and adults, what do you think you would see?”



She thought for quite a long time before responding. As the young girl rendered her litany, her voice slowly ascended into a crescendo like that of a preacher at the pulpit, I took notes (and later formatted them to what you see below).



When I stand on the stage and look out at all of the students of this school

I see

Some students who are respectful

Some students who are disrespectful

I see

Some students who are nice and treat each other as equals

I see

Some students who don’t care and

Some students who do care and don’t worry about what others think

I see

Some student who don’t like school

And some student who do like school

I see

Some students who came to learn and can ignore the ones who don’t want to learn



When I look out at the adults at my school

I see

Some who pay attention to kids and are teaching them how to behave;

teaching them how to learn, and not hang out on the streets

I see

Some adults who don’t respect kids and treat them mean



“And you, Nyiesha, standing on that stage in front of the entire school, what would you like everyone to know about you?  About who you are?”





Who am I?

I am respectful to others

I treat others equally

I come to school to pay attention and ignore others who don’t

I pay attention to teachers because they teach you right from wrong



I see myself as a role model

Someone who is sweet, gentle and smart

I am someone, who in 6th grade was awarded the

Model Citizen Award

All ten months of the school year

I want them to know this Nyiesha



When she was finished, she sat back in her chair looking at me with her head held high. We smiled at each other and I thought:
 
This Nyiesha, who is immersed in a totally foreign environment and is just trying to get by.

This Nyiesha, who is alone and friendless two months into the school year.

This Nyiesha, who isn’t shown love/care and respect, but instead is isolated and dismissed.

This Nyiesha, who was honored as a Model Citizen all ten months of her 6th grade year.

This Nyiesha, who if looked at through the eyes of love would have been seen as

The Light of the World.






Thursday, July 23, 2015

This world is an attempt to prove your innocence, while cherishing attack. ACIM F.I.P. Second Edition/T-26.VII.12.5





What is this world? And what is the real world?



This world is the planet on which we perceive that everything and everyone around us is separate from ourselves and separate from God.  On a day-to-day basis, we fear attack whether verbally or physically. We find moments of happiness and fulfillment only to wonder when the clouds will again cover the sun. We envision ourselves needing to create forms of protection where we escape to our fortresses that become our tombs.



In this world, in which we struggle silently or overtly for survival, we see a beginning and an end, birth then death. We compete in order to feel complete. We fight to prove we’re right. We live in the past or the future as we willingly take commands from our boisterous ego. And, at the end of the day in this temporal frame of mind, we are exhausted, only to begin our marathon on this hamster wheel we call life.



What are the tapes that play in our heads? “You can find peace, but only at the expense of others.” Or, “Love your neighbor, but give him the finger if he cuts you off in traffic.” Perhaps, “Find serenity among those like you, but be careful of them.” Sometimes, “Pray for world peace, but build a military might that can annihilate the planet.”



Is there a better way? Is there another world where attack is not the norm and judgment is not the modus operandi?



If you seek it you will find it. If you choose the real world, you can gain entry, become a citizen where no passport is needed. All you need to cross the border is simply a little bit of willingness to change your mind.



 And upon entry, what will you discover? Peace, joy, grace, unconditional love, arms wide-open in full acceptance. You’ll remember that you are one with your brothers and sisters and therefore feel no need to judge or attack. You’ll feel the majestic presence of The One, Our Source, Our Creator and Giver of Life without end. You will find…your true Home.



Photos by Barb Adams (c) 2014

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What is Your Ultimate Goal? Part II





Spirit’s messages lie just beyond the veil.  But we must be willing to clear the barriers before our eyes, silence the noise within our mind and question the assumptions we have made for most of our lives. To hear this Inner Wisdom we need to pause and be open to the myriad ways the Great Communicator transmits those joyous messages. 



I find that I receive insights when I least expect them. I might be reading a book and a passage will jump out at me. Or, a person may make an innocent statement that at once appears to be concocted precisely for me. The other day my horoscope, which I generally read for humor, plainly hit the nail-on-the-head. It precisely talked about a path, which I am seriously contemplating traveling, in almost the exact words that were used when my teacher and I discussed my plan.  

And then, it was on one of my walks around the neighborhood while listening to a Ted Talk/NPR podcast episode entitled Champions that I started making connections between the challenges and revelations discussed by the guests to my study of A Course in Miracles.



The second highlighted speaker on the show who offered inspiring statements was Amy Purdy.  Amy was an able-bodied, nationally ranked snowboarder who developed life-threatening bacterial meningitis, a blood infection that landed her on life support.  Doctors gave this superb athlete a less than 2% chance of living.  Said Amy, “I was physically, spiritually, emotionally broken.”



The infection took its toll.  Doctors had to amputate both of Amy’s legs below the knees. They had to remove both kidneys, as well as her spleen, and she lost complete hearing in her left ear. Amy Purdy came close to losing her nose and both hands. And her life.



Amy shared her process of healing:





“I began to daydream: I imagined myself walking gracefully and snowboarding again. I didn’t just imagine myself carving down a mountain of powder,” said Amy, “I could actually feel it! I could feel the wind against my face and the beating of my heart as if it were happening in that very moment. And that is when a new chapter in my life began.”



(While still in the hospital) “All I would think about is snowboarding, not if I would do it again, but when I would do it again. Four months later I was back up on a snowboard.  This past February, I won 2 back-to-back World Cup Gold Medals, and I am now the highest ranked adapted female snowboarder in the world.”



Of her ability to move past such a life-threatening challenge, Amy revealed, “It’s not about breaking down borders it’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us. I’m better because I work harder at it. The motivation comes from wanting to figure it out, of finding a way.”



What can Amy Purdy teach me about reaching my goal of remembering my Oneness with My Creator through forgiveness?



1.    When I quiet my mind, I can imagine myself free of guilt, fear and pain and for brief moments I’m in the realm of my Creator and feel nothing but peace. I see the Light and I feel its gentle, healing warmth throughout my soul.



2.    Amy said, “It’s not about breaking down borders it’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.”

·      What are my borders or my barriers to finding peace? Could they include the too-well tuned egoic thinking? The scenarios of fear and attack that have been bred into me by a world that believes that fear lurks around every corner and that we must attack first in order to survive?  How can I push off of the ego and rebound into the realm of my Natural Home, that of my Inner Wisdom? Perhaps the answer lies in slamming the door shut on egoic thoughts and pushing off of that portal into my given Homeland.



3.    “I’m better because I work harder at it.”

·      Look at how long I’ve/we’ve worked at living our lives in the darkness? It will take vigilance and study to change this ingrained, knee-jerk reaction way of looking at life. It will take vision to see.



4.    “The motivation comes from wanting to figure it out, of finding a way.”

·      “There must be a better way,” said William Thetford to Helen Schucman.  It was then that Jesus’ words were ‘heard,’ and A Course in Miracles was revealed. For me, the road to ‘the better way’ has already been paved. With Love. I simply need to stay the Course!





Inspired by, God is the only goal I have today. W-256
A Course in Miracles, Second Edition
Foundation for Inner Peace, 1996.

Bottom picture by Barbara Franco Adams (c)2012