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bless Eli Jaxon-Bear and Andrew Cohen to liberate blessing yourself [re notes on  rmfo-@comcast.net
 Oct 29, 2006 21:52 PST 

bless Eli Jaxon-Bear and Andrew Cohen to liberate blessing yourself
[re notes on A Course in Miracles, Robert Perry]: Murray 2006.10.29
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rmforall/message/61

"In the second scenario, you acknowledge that God’s Love is in you, that His abundance is in you. And then you see this Love everywhere. You see His abundance in everyone. And if you do that, you will know that they are in Him and that all your brothers are in Him with you. You will know that they are part of you and that all of you are part of God.

And this will take away your loneliness, your sense of separation and isolation. This is how you “understand totally by understanding totality.” By loving everyone, you see everyone as a seamless part of totality — you see everyone as total. And this includes yourself."

Robert Perry   Tuesday class notes 2006.10.29
rob-@circleofa.org   Circle of Atonement

“The Totality of the Kingdom” A Course in Miracles

Text, Chapter 7, Section VII

Paragraph 1

The basic idea in this paragraph is that, because of the immense power of your mind, your mind will take whatever you do in one case and generalize it to all cases. This means that however you see one person, you will see everyone, including yourself. When you deny a blessing to a brother, you yourself will feel deprived of blessing. When you deny one brother’s reality, you blind yourself to all of reality. You may assume that you can think ill of someone and confine that negative intent to that one person. But that overlooks the power of the mind. That attack thought is so powerful that it simply can’t be confined to that one person. It will ripple out and affect your perception of everyone and everything, including yourself.

The law, however, works positively as well. This part is garbled in the published Course, so let’s look at it in the Urtext:

That is the negative side of the law as it operates in this world. But denial is a defense, and so it is as capable of being used positively as it is of being used destructively. Used negatively, it will be destructive, because it will be used for attack. But in the service of the Holy Spirit, the law becomes as beneficent as all of the laws of God. Stated positively, the law requires you only to recognize part of reality to appreciate all of it. Mind is too powerful to be subject to exclusion. You will never be able to exclude yourself from what you project [onto others].

The law here is basically what I stated above: because of the power of the mind, whatever your mind does with a part it will do with the whole. The positive side of this is that you only need to “recognize part of reality to appreciate all of it.” Just as one brother seen as sinful taints all of reality in your eyes, so one brother seen as holy causes everything to shine.

Exercise:

Think of someone you are currently seeing in a negative way, someone you see as mistreating you or not appreciating you.

Ask yourself, “How am I seeing this person?” Try to boil it down to one word and then write that one word in the four spaces below.

Now repeat to yourself, “Because I see him as __________ I will see everyone as ____________ .”

Because I see him as ____________ I will see myself as _____________ .

But if I bless him, I will see myself as blessed.

If I recognize his reality, I will appreciate all of reality.”

Paragraph 2

Discussion: When a brother behaves insanely, what is our normal response?

The class said to get angry, to be outraged, to try to set him straight, to fix him, to retaliate, to mobilize group opinion against him.

Actually, says this paragraph, we should see him as offering us something positive — namely, an opportunity to bless him. This opportunity is a gift to us. The Course says this same thing in many ways. One way is the idea that his insane behavior is really a call for help. Here are a couple of other ways:

When a brother behaves insanely, you can heal him only by perceiving the sanity in him. (T-9.III.5:1)

A shadow figure who attacks [this is how we see our brother now—as someone from our past who is yet again attacking us] becomes a brother giving you a chance to help. (T-29.IV.5:6)

Then comes a powerful line: “His need is yours” (2:2). What is his need? Our blessing on him. Which means we need our blessing on him. We need blessing, too, and the only way we can have it is by giving it to him (2:4). This is called here the “law of God” and is called later in the Text and Workbook the “law of love”: “Today I learn the law of love, that what I give my brother is my gift to me” (Lesson 344). I can imagine a road sign: “You can have it only by giving it. That’s the law.” In truth, we already have that blessing; God gave us that in our creation. But by denying blessing to our brother, we blind ourselves to the fact that we ourselves have been eternally blessed.

Today I’ve been doing the third sentence in this paragraph as my practice. I’ve been saying, “I need the blessing I can offer [name].” The implication is that I only get that blessing through offering it to the other person. It’s a very powerful practice.

The final lines emphasize that our response to our brother is actually determined by what we ourselves want to be. That is because how we respond to him is what teaches us who we are. And something in our mind understands this cause-and-effect connection, and so we unconsciously choose our response to him based on what we want to teach ourselves. To put this more simply, if I treat my brother as if he’s not worthy of being blessed, my unconscious reason for doing that is that I want to teach myself that I’m unworthy of being blessed. Treating him that way is how I teach myself this self-deprecating message.

Paragraph 3

We all carry a fairly pitiful picture of ourselves around. The Course uses three words to describe that picture: deprived, unloving, and vulnerable.

Discussion:

Do we feel deprived?

Do we feel unloving?

Do we feel vulnerable?

These three adjectives are so universal that they must describe how every single person sees himself. It’s hard to imagine not having these three as components of one’s self-image. Normally, therefore, self-esteem means keeping those three adjectives—there seems no other choice—but learning to love ourselves anyway. Yet the Course here flatly denies that this is possible: “You cannot love this.” The only way to really love ourselves is to escape from this image, to give it up, not shine it up. How do we do this?

First, we realize, “You are not there and that is not you” (3:5). You have not been wrong about yourself in the details. You have been wrong at the foundation. You have got it all wrong. Your image of yourself may bear some resemblance to the person you show up as in this world, but it bears no resemblance to who you really are. As Jesus points out in the Urtext, “You are not an image.” This is a powerful line, because it suggests that what we are is something that cannot be seen or imaged. It suggests that our nature is beyond all form and matter.

Second, and this is where the change really occurs, we need to not see this picture in anyone. We need to not teach anyone that he is deprived, unloving, and vulnerable. Because whatever we see in him, we will see in ourselves. Whatever we teach him, we will learn.

This is not how we normally view things. If a therapist asked us how we learned to think of ourselves as deprived, unloving and vulnerable, what would we usually say? Wouldn’t we say that certain influential people in our formative years taught us to see ourselves as deprived, unloving, and vulnerable? This paragraph is saying something quite different. It’s saying that we taught ourselves that, and we did so by teaching others that they are deprived, unloving, and vulnerable.

Discussion:

How do we teach people that they are deprived? (The class said, “By taking things from them.”)

That they are unloving? (The class said, “By withdrawing love from them.”)

That they are vulnerable? (The class said, “By hurting them.”)

Paragraph 4

Perception will last as long as we want it to because that is the nature of illusions — they last as long as we value them. To be rid of them, we have to withdraw our investment in them. And we do that by not seeing them in our brother. It’s not enough to not want to see illusions in ourselves. As long as we are seeing them in our brother, we are secretly invested in seeing them in ourselves.

Paragraph 5

God gave us the gift of life. We don’t know we have this gift for one reason: because we don’t give it. Instead of giving life to our brothers, we are too busy trying to give life to our illusions (which, remember, are illusions of ourselves as deprived, unloving, and vulnerable). While we are busy trying to “make nothing live”—an impossibility — we are not extending the gift of life that we both have and are. And we can only know what we are by extending it. “And so you do not know your being” (5:4).

The only solution, says the paragraph in its concluding sentence, is to “give only honor to the Sons of the living God” (5:8).

Discussion: What does it mean to give honor to our brother? What are the ways in which we dishonor others?

The class mentioned that giving honor means to give someone respect and admiration, to treat them as important, to esteem them. We dishonor others both through outright insult and attack, and through not paying attention to them, through overlooking and ignoring them, through acting like they don’t count.

Paragraph 6

It makes sense to give only honor to our spouse, our neighbor, our boss, our sibling, our president, because God created them worthy of honor, and God Himself honors them. We often feel too good, too important, to give honor to such undeserving individuals. But if God honors them, why are we too good to do the same? He always accords them appreciation. Why? “Because they are His beloved Sons in whom He is well pleased.” What a remarkable line! That, of course, is the statement we associate with Jesus at his baptism. Yet here the Course is applying the same thing to all of our brothers. This is a favorite device in the Course, to have us take all of the honor and esteem and respect we give Jesus and transfer it to other people. Indeed, as Greg pointed out in the class, the Course had just done this very thing. The previous paragraph contained the injunction to “give only honor to the Sons of the living God” (5:8). This is a subtle allusion to the scene in the Gospels where J
esus asks, “Who do you say that I am,” and Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The Course is subtly trying to get us to see other people as we would see Jesus, as the Sons of the living God.

Exercise: Go through a variety of people and say silently to each one, “You are God’s beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.” You might even imagine this person being baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan . As he or she comes out of the water, you hear a booming voice from Heaven proclaim “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” See how it makes you feel about them.

We have to love everyone, or will not accept the gift that God gave us, the gift that we are. We have to honor everyone, we will not know our own perfection. It’s a package deal. We either see perfection in everyone, ourselves included, or we see perfection in no one, ourselves included. If we are really going to love ourselves, we have to love everyone. The power of the mind leaves us with no options. How do you feel when you contemplate this idea? What thoughts occur to you? Is it a welcome idea, or is it threatening? Does the change it asks seem like too much?

Paragraph 7

The Holy Spirit speaks in every mind, giving each one of us the same lesson. No doubt He has taught us all a great many different lessons, but this implies that they all have the same core, the same essence. That single, core lesson is that each Son of God has “inestimable worth.” That’s the lesson He has been trying to get across to you since time began. That, in essence, is the only thing He ever teaches you.

Of course, He needs great patience, even infinite patience, in trying to teach us this. Otherwise, He would have given up several million years ago!

Every attack is a case where someone has not learned His one lesson. If that person really understood “the inestimable worth of every Son of God,” he wouldn’t be attacking a Son of God, would he? Thus, every attack means that the Holy Spirit hasn’t yet succeeded as a Teacher, hasn’t succeeded in getting His one lesson across. So that person’s attack is really a call for the patience of the Teacher, just as when a student in grade school doesn’t get the lesson. That student’s lack of understanding is really a call for his teacher’s patience.

In this case, however, the person who is not getting the lesson (the person who is attacking) is not going to be aware of his Teacher’s patience, since his Teacher is not visible. Therefore, it is we—the target of the attack—who need to be the communicators of His patience. Rather than thinking, “I can’t believe this guy still doesn’t get it,” we need to think, “He’ll get it someday, and I have no right to set his learning deadlines for him.”

The reason that person attacks is that he thinks he is lacking. He do not realize just how blessed he is. We can show him that—by blessing him. We can teach him his true abundance by giving him honor, by giving him the gift of life, by loving him, by appreciating him, by acknowledging that he is God’s beloved Son in whom He is well pleased—by blessing him. And then he will have no reason to attack, for only the deprived try to take from others. This is how attack is translated into blessing. And this is how we discover our own abundance. This is how we find out that we are blessed.

Paragraphs 8 and 9

The previous paragraph taught that we need to respond to attack with patience and with blessing. These two paragraphs explain why we usually don’t.

You respond to attack with attack because you see the other person’s attack as a “as a means of depriving you of something you want” (8:2). Your attack in return, then, becomes a means of self-defense. However, the Course here tells you that “you cannot lose anything unless you do not value it.” So someone’s attack can only deprive you of something when you yourself have already thrown it away. But we generally don’t want to face this fact. So we project it onto someone else. Now we think they are the ones who have taken it from us. This is what projection does. “Projection always sees your wishes in others.”

Exercise:

Think of three people who, in your eyes, took something from you, and then fill in their names and what you think they took from you (boil it down to one word). Then repeat the following lines to yourself.

I think that ___________ took ____________ from me.

But in fact I threw it away, and then projected my wishes onto him/her.

I think that ___________ took ____________ from me.

But in fact I threw it away, and then projected my wishes onto him/her.

I think that ___________ took ____________ from me.

But in fact I threw it away, and then projected my wishes onto him/her.

There is a deeper dimension to this. The ultimate thing that you believe your brothers are taking from you is the Kingdom of Heaven , or, as Paragraph 9 puts it, God Himself. If you think about it, whatever you wrote in the above spaces really amounts to aspects of God, aspects of Heaven. If you think someone stole love from you, that’s an aspect of the experience of God If you think someone stole self-esteem from you, that too is an aspect of the experience of God. Ultimately, you see them as stealing the Kingdom of God from you.

Exercise:

Let’s take the same three people and apply the following:

I believed you were out to take God from me.

But the fact is that I threw Him away, and then blamed my loss on you.

Paragraph 10

This paragraph presents two scenarios. In the first scenario, you deny that that your will is the same as God’s — while His Will is love, yours seems to be attack. This leads you to deny what you are, since “you are the Will of God.” Denying that you are God’s infinite Will, you will feel deprived, and you will therefore attack, thinking that someone else stole God from you.

In the second scenario, you acknowledge that God’s Love is in you, that His abundance is in you. And then you see this Love everywhere. You see His abundance in everyone. And if you do that, you will know that they are in Him and that all your brothers are in Him with you. You will know that they are part of you and that all of you are part of God.

And this will take away your loneliness, your sense of separation and isolation. This is how you “understand totally by understanding totality.” By loving everyone, you see everyone as a seamless part of totality — you see everyone as total. And this includes yourself.

Paragraph 11

Because of the power of the mind, you need only see part of a whole accurately in order to see the whole accurately. If you see part of the ego’s thought system as completely insane and undesirable, you will see all of the ego’s thought system for what it is. Likewise, if you see part of creation — which means a brother — as “wholly real, wholly perfect, and wholly desirable” you will see all of creation for what it is. And you will see yourself for what you are. By giving this, you will realize you are this. The gift you give, then, is given you, and this gift is therefore treasured by God Himself, for all He wants is your happiness.

And somehow, the first (seeing part of the ego’s system and thereby seeing the whole for what it is) leads to the second (seeing part of reality and thereby seeing the whole of reality).

Exercise:

Say to a series of people,

I acknowledge you as wholly real, wholly perfect, and wholly desirable.

And I thereby acknowledge the perfection in myself.
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http://www.circleofa.org/articles/IntroductionToAcim.php
A Beginner's Overview of A Course in Miracles,
by Allen Watson

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free online full text, along with all of ACIM standard 2nd edition
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http://www.andrewcohen.org/blog/?ifr=hp-feat
October 18, 2006
A Declaration of Integrity
An open letter from Andrew Cohen to his friends and foes
To initiate this new blog, I thought nothing could be more appropriate than to post the following piece I just finished writing, which says a lot of things I’ve been wanting to say for a very long time. Some may find it a little long, but if you hang in there I’m sure you’ll find it well worth the read.

http://essentialwhatenlightenment.blogspot.com/

http://www.enlightennixt.com/

http://www.integralworld.net/index.html?kazlev2.html

The Problem of Abusive Gurus
from Alan Kazlev’s article:
Towards a Larger Definition of the Integral, Part 2: The Wilberian Paradigm: A Fourfold Critique, July 2006

For whatever reason...[Ken Wilber] cannot recognise that the most obvious sign of any integral transformation is precisely that the Teacher is never abusive! In fact, Wilber falls into the common trap of seeing abuse at the hands of a guru as somehow necessary for enlightenment. This idea goes back at least as far Medieval Tibetan Buddhism; Naropa, one of the great sages of the Tibetan tradition, suffered greatly at the hands of his guru, Tilopa...Wilber's friend and colleague, self-styled guru Andrew Cohen seems -- if the the harrowing accounts of their experiences by his ex-disciples is anything to go by -- to show very similar behaviour to that of [contemporary Western Guru] Adi Da, and is every bit as abusive towards his followers.

With this in mind, let's make a brief checklist of warning that indicate a guru, even a nonduality "enlightened" one, that is an abuser. The following is in no way meant as a complete checklist, but just lists a few common flaws. Note that not all abusive gurus will have all of these flaws, but an abusive guru will at the very least have two or three:

* Sexually abusive behaviour

* Demanding or requesting large "donations" (to fund an unnecessarily opulent or wealthy lifestyle)

* Acting or teaching one way in public and another in private (e.g. celibate gurus justifying sex with female disciples as "Tantric Initiation")

* Narcissistic behaviour

* Using insulting words or other abusive behaviour to "break down your ego".

* Physical abuse, usually by telling devotees to assault other devotees

* Taking advantage of the disciples trust; controlling or forcing them to do something they don't want to

* Emotionally sadistic (and in extreme cases physically sadistic)

* Vindictive attitude towards ex-devotees

* Responding to critics with anger, bitterness, hatred, or mockery rather than love

And so on. You get the idea. Note also that not having any of the above, or any of the other common pop guru flaws, does not mean a Guru or Teacher is genuine. It simply means it may be okay to be involved with them. Another indicator – uneasy feeling or small voice that says "this is wrong" may not be reliable, as it requires a well-developed spiritual consciousness on the part of the seeker. And feeling drained after some time in the abusive guru's presence is also unreliable; not everyone is emotionally parasitised.

Sometimes, as in Da Free John / Adi Da's case, gurus justify their behaviour by saying it represents "crazy wisdom" (another Tibetan theme). So-called "crazy wisdom" gurus, in addition to being abusive, may partake of alcohol or drugs, have lots of (willing) sexual partners, and so on. Chogyam Trungpa is a typical example of a Crazy Wisdom guru, but he does not seem to have been as specifically abusive.

But the most common indeed, the standard, excuse abusive gurus use to justify their behaviour is that it is necessary that the disciple be abused and humiliated in order for them to overcome ego and attain enlightenment (although at the same time, no abusive guru ever acknowledges that any of their students have ever attained enlightenment) It is this, more subtle argument, that one finds associated with the Wilberian Integral movement as a whole. According to Andrew Cohen, teachers need to break down one's ego, and this can be a psychologically and emotionally excruciating process. Wilber fully supports this approach. In the Foreword to one of Cohen's books, he says:

    "When it comes to spiritual teachers, there are those who are safe, gentle, consoling, soothing, caring; and there are the outlaws, the living terrors, the Rude Boys and Nasty Girls of God realization, the men and women who are in your face, disturbing you, terrifying you, until you radically awaken to who and what you really are....

    If you want encouragement, soft smiles, ego stroking, gentle caresses of your self-contracting ways, pats on the back and sweet words of solace, find yourself a Nice Guy or Good Girl, and hold their hand on the sweet path of stress reduction and egoic comfort. But if you want Enlightenment, if you want to wake up, if you want to get fried in the fire of passionate Infinity, then, I promise you: find yourself a Rude Boy or a Nasty Girl, the ones who make you uncomfortable in their presence, who scare you witless, who will turn on you in a second and hold you up for ridicule, who will make you wish you were never born, who will offer you not sweet comfort but abject terror, not saccharin solace but scorching angst, for then, just then, you might very well be on the path to your own Original Face".
    from Living Enlightenment by Andrew Cohen

Wilber applauds Cohen as a "rude boy", and offers him (and abusive gurus in general) as the alternative to a ridiculous caricature that does not match the description of any spiritual teacher. He says that the "rude boy" will "hold you up for ridicule" and "will make you wish you were never born". Yes, all out of his boundless love and compassion that you may yourself attain Enlightenment! But let us look at the reality, the mind games and psychological conditioning and abuse; things that Wilber, who has never been a disciple at Cohen's Foxhollow community, has not had to experience.
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