Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Quiet Center

I sat at my desk on yet another Monday morning of no apparent forward movement on selling our house. Struggling to embrace the holding pattern I found myself inexplicably locked into as a classroom in true forgiveness. Rather than yet another self-crafted prison of punishment for the forgotten crime of separation from our source, the audacity of believing I exist at God’s expense. The wild hope of finding someone even more offensive to pin my guilt on. While failing, miserably (really, is there any other way here in this dream of exile from true Love?) on all fronts.

It had just occurred to me that it had been more than four weeks since our home was listed, a dream “fact” that suddenly seemed extremely relevant. The promise that we would likely experience a very quick turnaround on our property, given the scant real estate on the market in our neighborhood and other reputedly “hot” central Denver locales, as ancient and inaccessible as the forgotten song allegedly calling from the undifferentiated, eternally safe, supported and loving union of our true nature. A tune that seemed, like the hope of divesting ourselves of the financial and physical demands of a beloved home that had served us dearly but we had long since outgrown, sadly dated.

Meanwhile, my husband and I had watched several potential homes we liked–including one that seemed to have sprung into being directly from my wishful imagination that we had actually made an offer on–come and go. Possible future abodes for our possible fresh start passing like my grueling thoughts, adrift in the rapids of scarcity and unfair treatment that never seemed to cease.

My sleeping dreams had once more likewise reflected the in-transit state of my mind, involving some kind of international trip, the discovery that I had forgotten my passport, a mad scramble to return home to get it. Even as I remembered, with mounting anxiety, that I no longer had a home, had merely been occupying temporary shelter in someone else’s for reasons I couldn’t quite grasp. Worse, I’d forgotten which unit I’d been staying in, and found myself instead invading a stranger’s apartment. Fearful of discovery by the real owners and unable to locate the unit I was looking for while time for finding my passport ran out. Realizing I would miss this trip, the next step of my journey thwarted; the new life I had planned along with the plane I had booked a seat on taking off once more without me, same old story of my same old life.

Complicating matters in the most heartbreaking of ways, I had just learned from my brother that they were exploring signing my mother into hospice care, where she could apparently linger for a very long time. She suffered no current physical maladies, but had chosen an essentially chair-bound home existence since breaking her hip a couple years ago, and had gradually stopped eating. Visiting my parents entailed great expense and difficult-to-book travel connections and arrangements including a ferry and driver. I had no idea how I could (or when I absolutely must) do it when availability to prepare our house for possible showings required my presence. Meanwhile, my husband and I seemed to be hemorrhaging money related to the sale and proceeding with the financial transactions necessary to subsequently purchase a new home.

“There has to be another way,” I thought, again echoing the refrain uttered by Bill Thetford all those decades ago that had coaxed the scribing of A Course in Miracles from the seemingly indifferent ether in the first place. And found myself instantly transported to that institution of higher learning in the sky of our right mind. Seated across from my inner professor at his desk in that comfortably worn, supportive chair ever waiting for me, as if I had never left.

He held up his hand and I high-fived him back, despite the direness of my previous thoughts and most recent dream sequences.

“Cup of Joe?” he asked, rising to fetch the French Press, a passion for dark-roast coffee among the many attributes he kindly pretended to share with me in his effortless ability to meet me in the condition I think I’m in.

“When T.S. Eliot was measuring his life out in coffee spoons do you think he had a house on the market?” I asked, as Jesus set a fragrant mug before me and sat back down. “I mean, it’s like dating among a severely restricted gene pool, you know? What’s the term the kids are using now? Oh, yeah, ‘ghosted.’”

His eyes widened.

“You know, when you go out with someone you like who seemed to like you and then they never contact you or respond again. So, in the case of our house, meaning someone comes for a showing and we get no response or feedback.”

His brows shot up the way they do. Through the open, beveled windows behind him, a saturated, schizophrenic spring wind shook the newborn leaves, green as the residents of Monet’s garden.

“OK, never mind. It’s just that it’s hard not to take it all personally when you’re getting no interest, no response, for no reason anyone can fathom and everything else around you is going to bloody hell, too. And even harder to keep those positive vibes–that at least within the dream actually have the power to coerce the imaginary universe into delivering the goods–flowing no matter how hard you try to stay in the God-damn, high-vibration vortex while still practicing the God-damn Course!”

I was shaking and could not meet his eyes. Through a watery blur, I watched his hand reach across the desk and settle on mine. “What do you want?” he asked.

But I had studied with him long enough to recognize a trick question when I heard it. Wanting was an inevitably fraught activity, after all. Hatched by the ego as a defense against the belief in separation realized. Based on the belief in underlying lack and the futile drive to sate it with something external that satisfied for maybe a nanosecond before the next need or problem to solve surfaced.

“I do want the peace of God,” I said.

He pushed the tissues toward me. “I hear a ‘but’ coming,” he said.

“But I want to sell our house. I want to find another that works for us. I want financial security. I want to have fun again.” I drew a ragged breath. “I want my mother to get up from her chair and want to keep living. I want a better dream for Susan,” I concluded.

He nodded.

“But,” I said. “I still really do, more than anything in this world, want to know the love of God.”

“Could you mean ‘and’ instead of ‘but’?”

I frowned, puzzled.

“Could you say, and mean, ‘I want the love of God more than anything and I still want to be Susan?’”

I thought about how many times I’d heard my beloved external teacher Ken Wapnick talk about not making a big deal or taking so seriously the fact that our mind is still split. The importance of accepting where we are on the journey home at any given moment and not denying or fighting our fear. The practice of taking all of our specifically perceived problems to the quiet center of Jesus’ presence in our mind, acknowledging our fear of disappearing into the heart of God while likewise recognizing that we nonetheless want to reunite with that Love above all else and cannot fail to once our fear subsides.

“I don’t have to see this as a war against myself, is what you’re really saying, right? I could just accept that my mind is split, that even though an unconscious part of me still clings to the seeming defense of a personal, vulnerable identity, I’m still in school with you at all times. Building trust in the other part of my mind that we truly are together while gradually, effortlessly withdrawing my allegiance to suffering Susan. Simply through my willingness to question the cause of my distress and sense of lack at any given moment.  I am learning that there is one problem after another in the dream, one decision after another that ultimately just summons in the next. Nonetheless this chair I’m sitting in, this office of yours; is always here. Suffering really is optional. Yes, I still have to deal with the challenges of being a body as long as I experience myself that way, but actually I can do it from here–metaphorically speaking–with you.”

He smiled that smile of his.

The winds outside his window had calmed down and settled into a single, steady direction. A bird began to sing in a tone so achingly pure and familiar, I might have wept with relief if I hadn’t already cried myself out. I still didn’t quite understand, but I was in no rush to fix anything. I sipped my coffee and found myself back in my office answering another problematic phone call (really are there any other kind here in Dreamland?). But (and?) for some reason my office chair suddenly felt just as comfortable, just as eternally supportive, as the one my teacher keeps for me.

“Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. 2 And you will be more aware of this quiet center of the storm than all its raging activity. 3 This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. 4 For from this center will you be directed how to use the body sinlessly. 5 It is this center, from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it.” (A Course in Miracles Text, Chapter 18.VII.8)



The Interviews page on my forays website has been revised to make it easier to find and access interviews with Ken Wapnick and others including Gloria Wapnick, and FACIM staff teachers. These interviews provide a wealth of practical information about learning to live a truly forgiving life, as well as some history of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

Schedule individual MENTORING sessions with Susan Dugan here:  Although A Course in Miracles is clearly a self-study program and the one relationship we are truly cultivating is with our eternally sane and loving right mind, mentoring can help remind Course students having trouble applying its unique forgiveness in the classroom of their lives that the problem and the solution never lie in the difficult relationship, situation, behavior, health issue, etc., but in the decision-making mind. In every circumstance, without exception, we can choose to experience inner peace and kindness toward all, unaffected by the seemingly random strife of a world designed to prove otherwise. By choosing to look at our lives as a classroom in which we bring all our painful illusions to the inner teacher of forgiveness who knows only our shared innocence beyond all its deceptive disguises, we learn to identify and transcend the ego’s resistance, hold others and even ourselves harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. 

Susan’s mentoring sessions provide valuable support in our forgiveness practice from a Course student and teacher deeply committed to awakening through learning and living true forgiveness. While keenly aware of our resistance to Jesus’ loving message from first-hand experience, she remains faithful to opening her heart to the Course’s universal answer for all frightened hearts and to sharing her ongoing learning and growing trust with kindred faithful, but sometimes frightened and confused, fellow students. Sessions are conducted via traditional phone or Skype (your choice). Please contact me to find out if mentoring is right for you before submitting a payment. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay!)

*NEW MONTHLY ACIM RADIO TALK WITH CA BROOKS, 12Radio: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=A0B4ED31-26B9-4187-867350852AC2D78D

In this LATEST VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss recommitting to making the purpose of our days a classroom of true forgiveness with help from our inner Teacher: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd7uqD5wj4E&feature=youtu.be

 RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss what A Course in Miracles means by “the quiet center” of the mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unQXd3F4S9U&feature=youtu.be and how to get there.

In this RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss workbook lesson 194: “I place the future in the hands of God.” https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/videos/

In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton discuss A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 131: “No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Muu_Cm_jbdQ


In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss practicing forgiveness within the classroom of the parent-child relationship in the context of the Course quote “And God Thinks Otherwise.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Hd-EvUDsg&feature=youtu.be

In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss how to weather the ego’s “backlash.”  https://youtu.be/7cIV4kSUajU.

In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss changing the purpose of romantic partnerships/marriage from specialness bargains to classrooms for learning to accept the atonement for ourselves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n8pn760h0U&feature=em-upload_owner.

In this RECENT VIDEO, friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles and I discuss what it means to “accept the atonement for myself,” as talked about in A Course in Miracles Chapter 2 and workbook lesson 139. https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/videos/

In this RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I talk about the challenges of trying to practice A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 330: “I will not hurt myself again today.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4RJosel0zA&feature=youtu.be

In this NEW AUDIO,  CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about acim workbook lesson 193: “All things are lessons God would have me learn.” http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=286F2689-26B9-4187-864EFF004ED83566

In this RECENT AUDIO CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about how to connect with our inner Teacher/right mind (which can seem quite elusive at times!): http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=7271A032-26B9-4187-863739C3EB9013D0

In this RECENT AUDIO CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I discuss A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 41: “God goes with me wherever I go,” and why this is a good thing! 🙂 http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=D6390D92-26B9-4187-865888BFB8D98D75

In this RECENT AUDIO, CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 186: “Salvation of the world depends on me.” (And thank God it’s not the “me” we think it is! :)) http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=DE52D9FE-26B9-4187-860F309BBB8F9B42

MY LATEST BOOK, FORGIVENESS: THE KEY TO HAPPINESS, http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Happiness-Susan-A-Dugan/dp/0983742022, along with my second book in the forgiveness essay collection series, FORGIVENESS OFFERS EVERYTHING I WANT: http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Offers-Everything-I-Want/dp/0983742014/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=07RKZW8SHE2RNC209A2D  are currently DISCOUNTED on Amazon.


Here’s a recording I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, in which we talk about the importance of catching our unkind thoughts and judgments and looking at them with the part of our mind that sees no differences and makes no comparisons … even while watching the news! http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=584A85D9-26B9-4187-86B672216F9D08E7

A recording on Changing the Purpose of the Body from Prison to Classroom: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=C936F436-26B9-4187-862BC523BC16D778, and another on what it means to go “above the battleground” (ACIM Text 23, Section IV) http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=13D9C907-26B9-4187-86F1370A394E8755

And a recording in which we talk about ACIM workbook lesson 101: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness” and 102: “I share God’s will for happiness for me.” http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=16BFF184-26B9-4187-86DD07743FBB7355  You’d think we’d like to hear that God’s will for us is perfect happiness, but we can’t possibly believe that and also believe we attacked God and threw his love away.  Following our inner Teacher’s path of true forgiveness begins to dissolve the guilt in our mind, teaching us that it was just silly to believe we could oppose God’s will and create a separate one. Allowing us to gradually accept that we deserve the happiness we share within God’s presence and could never really destroy.


Here’s a video I did with Bruce Rawles on sharing perception with the Holy Spirit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S45pmt7ntQ4

Here’s a talk I did with Bruce Rawles on Section 16 of The Manual for Teachers: “How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgHjOcxzrwg&feature=youtu.be

In this VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss A Course in Miracles lesson 190: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPqUpNmAmG0


The Denver-based School for A Course in Miracles (formerly the School of Reason), an A Course-in-Miracles http://www.schoolforacourseinmiracles.org/ offers great new and ongoing classes based on Ken Wapnick’s teachings.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Center for A Course in Miracles http://www.centerforacourseinmiracles.org/index.html, is an educational Center whose focus is to teach what A Course in Miracles says, address common misunderstandings, and help students develop a relationship with their internal Teacher, inspired and guided by the teachings of the late Dr. Kenneth Wapnick.

In this video Bruce Rawles and I discuss themes from my most recent book, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vEbI3jH8Sk 

My good friend and fellow Course student, teacher, and author Bruce Rawles frequently invites me to chat with him on YouTube about the Course and Ken Wapnick’s teachings. He continues to compile lots of great ACIM information well worth checking out at ACIMblog.com.

My good friend and gifted A Course in Miracles teacher and writer Bernard Groom has been posting beautifully written, heartfelt essays about living A Course in Miracles for years at ACIMvillage.com. Bernard lives and teaches in France with his dear wife Patricia. You’ll find a wealth of information in French on his website including recorded talks available for purchase or free download.




from Forays In Forgiveness https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/the-quiet-center-2/

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