From the BlogMeet Ron

MAY 2,2018 OUR GROUP 23 OF MORNING HOTSHOTS

MAY 2,2018 OUR GROUP 23 OF MORNING HOTSHOTS
DAILY
 
 
Free of Dependence
I asked myself, “Why can’t the Twelve Steps work to release me from this unbearable depression?” By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer: “It is better to comfort than to be comforted.” Suddenly I realized what the answer might be. My basic flaw had always been dependence on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security, and confidence. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and specifications, I fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression. Reinforced by what grace I could find in prayer, I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people and upon circumstances. Then only could I be free to love as Francis had loved.
GRAPEVINE, JANUARY 1958
Copyright 1967 
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
========================
VERNON HOWARD
No one can tell you what is right for you except yourself.
So start telling yourself what to do.
If you blunder for ten years while thinking for yourself,
that is rich treasure when compared with living these
ten years under the mental domination of another.
========================
The Serenity Prayer
 
God grant me the serenity to
Accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
We were now at Step Three.
 Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him:
“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the 
bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them 
may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy 
will always!”
We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon 
ourselves utterly to Him. 
Seventh Step Prayer
-The Seventh Step Prayer is from page 76. The Big Book
   When ready, we say something like this:
“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now 
remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you 
and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.”
We have then completed Step Seven.
-(Both derived from page 86 in the Big Book)
St Francis Prayer
-From Chapter 11 of “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”
“Lord, make me a channel of they peace,
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.”                        
St. Francis Assisi (1182-1228).
==============================

“I live in the faith that there is a
Presence and Power greater than
I am that nurtures and supports 
me in ways I could not even imagine.
I know that this Presence is All knowing
and All Power and is Always right where I am” 
Ernest Holmes
 
In steps eight and nine I have remember,
it is not just me but a  two way street and
I must forgive another for peace within myself.
Anonymous

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Mahatma Gandhi
 
The Creation by Westerners of “Non-Islamic Sufism”
During most of the past two hundred years, however, Western scholars (sometimes called Orientalists) have not viewed sufism as something largely inspired by the Qur’ân and Traditions [Ahâdîth]. Instead, they have tended to view sufism as imported from other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, or Buddhism. Here is an example from an Orientalist who translated some of the poems of Hâfiz from Persian in 1897:
 
“Hafiz belonged to the great sect from which so many of the most famous among Persian writers have sprung. Like Sa’di and Jami and Jelaleddin Rumi and a score of others, he was a Sufi. The history of Sufiism has yet to be written, the sources from which it arose are uncertain, and that it should have found a home in Mahommadanism, the least mystical of all religions, is still unexplained. Some have supposed that Sufiism was imported from India after the time of Mahommad…. A third theory is that the origins of Sufiism are to be looked for in the philosophy of the Greeks, strangely distorted by the Eastern mind, and in the influence of Christianity…”1
 
The founding of the Theosophical Society in New York in 1875 had a great influence in promoting the acceptance of Eastern religions in America. It’s motto was, “There is no Religion higher than Truth.” Like previous forms of European esoteric (or to use an Arabic word, bâTinî”) teachings such as Masonry and Rosicrucianism, Theosophy taught that there is a secret and universal spiritual doctrine that is thousands of years old that is hidden within the major religions of the world–a doctrine known in its entirety by “secret masters” or “Mahatmas” (hidden in Tibet, it was believed at the time). Theosophy borrowed (and altered) teachings and terminology from Hinduism and Buddhism as a way to promote its own esoteric teachings and doctrines.
 
As a result of the influence of Theosophy, it gradually became acceptable in Christian America to seek spiritual advancement by studying and practicing yoga and Buddhism–without any requirement to change religions or become involved with Hindu or Buddhist temples and priests. Starting in the 1950’s, Americans began to become attracted to the teachings and practice of Zen Buddhism in a similar way.
 
The popularization of sufism in the West followed this same pattern (first in Europe and then in America) starting in 1910 through a sufi musician and spiritual teacher from India, `Inâyat Khân, who taught that sufism is a form of universal mysticism with no real dependence upon Islam. Westerners were encouraged that they could learn sufi wisdom and do sufi spiritual practices without changing religions or becoming involved with Muslim ritual prayers and Muslim religious authorities. Many popular books on sufism written by non-scholars were published that “authoritatively” stated that sufism is independent of Islam, is a tradition that predated Islam by thousands of years (or was later connected to Islam only by “historical circumstances”), and is a wisdom teaching that transcends any particular religion. One example was a half-English occultist named Idries Shah, who wrote numerous books on sufism and was promoted for many years as “the world’s leading authority on sufism.” Shah taught that sufism is independent of Islam, that most of the occult teachings in Europe (such as Alchemy, Masonry, Rosicrucianism, Tarot, and the modern teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff) had their origins in Middle Eastern sufi groups led by “secret masters”–that were said to be hidden, no longer in Tibet, but in Afghanistan, as had been claimed earlier by Gurdjieff.
ACIM Workbook Lesson 121 Insights
“Forgiveness is the key to happiness.”
   Forgiveness is letting the veil of separation be lifted from my mind. If the veil of separation is not lifted, I will focus on what bodies do and say. I will focus on individual identities separated and alone. I will think that this is true and real. Forgiveness helps me learn to look past the illusions of separation. Forgiveness helps me look past the belief in sin and death.
 
I learn forgiveness from my true Self. As I am willing to receive the truth, my true Self lifts the veil of separation from my mind. And then I am able to see the Light behind the isolated separated forms. I am able to see the Light behind the fearful behavior. And as I continue to practice this, it teaches me to find the Light behind my separate identity.
 
Only my true Self can lift the veil. My separated mind only knows of separation and teaches only this. My true Self teaches me to look for and find the Light of God That is behind every false image of separation. My true Self teaches me that this alone brings me true lasting happiness. It releases me from fear. It releases me from believing in death or that anyone could be harmed. It releases me from the false mind which always looks for guilt.
 
When guilt is gone, there is only innocence to see. Here is peace. Here is eternal Love. Here is happiness. Forgiveness is the answer to every perceived problem. When I am angry or sad or mad or depressed, forgiveness is the answer. When I feel lonely and afraid, forgiveness is the answer. Forgiveness lifts the veil and returns the truth of my Identity as part of God to my awareness.
The exercise in today’s lesson takes a different approach than I would have expected, based on the subject. From the little mind’s perspective, it seems like the obvious approach would be to think of something somebody did that offended me and then try to forgive the offense. This is the typical ego approach. First it makes the error real and then tries to disregard the error, while still maintaining its reality.
 
Instead, this exercise disregards anything the “enemy” may have done. It merely tells us to select someone we regard as offensive in some way. And then it tells us to look for the Light in that person. It is training us to look past the form, because the form is not real. What seemed to happen was only a dream of illusions interacting with illusions, and could not be real.
 
The exercise trains us to look past the unreal to the real, past the shadows to the Light. As we can allow ourselves to see the Light in an enemy and can equate that Light with the Light in a friend, it becomes easy then to equate that Light with the Light in ourselves. Our unity then becomes obvious and in my mind I have joined with my brothers. Forgiveness has happened.
 
I need to practice looking past images and forms to the Light that represents the unity of all things with the one Source of Light. Sometimes a specific offensive event seems so real to me that I am unable to see past it to the Light. This is when I need to remind myself that I cannot be my own teacher, for I have taught myself to see the offense, not the Light. This is when I need to turn to the Teacher within to let Him show me the unreality of interactions between images and help me see the Light beyond the darkness.
 
Forgiveness is exquisitely simple. I need only see the Light in my brother, give It my full attention. That is all. The only reason this seems difficult at any time is because of my unwillingness to give up being right about my judgment. I have made up a litany of rules and taught myself to judge by them. Not once has this judgment ever brought me real happiness. Now I am willing to be taught by the Teacher of Light how to see the Light where it is and disregard all empty images. I am grateful for this lesson, which takes me another step toward recognizing that I am in Heaven now. In reality, I never left. I have only been dreaming of being on a distant shore.
As I was reading this lesson, I noticed I was constantly nodding my head in agreement with what happens with an unforgiving mind. The reason I know that is because who the lesson is describing is me. That’s so often how I feel, that’s what I’m afraid of, that’s how I’ve been living so much of my life.
 
No wonder the Course says that if we’re living in fear, we’re not really living. Its taken me many years to realize that I’ve been “looking for love in all the wrong places,” but what I love about the Course is that it tells me that’s okay. I don’t need to beat myself up over what could’ve been. On the contrary, the multitude of mistakes I’ve made have just turned out to be blessings because they have brought me to my knees and surrender to the freedom the Course offers me.
© 2003, Pathways of Light. http://pathwaysoflight.org
You may freely share copies of this with your friends, 
provided this copyright notice and website address are included.
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“One should forgive, under any injury,” says the Mahabharata.
“It hath been said that the continuation of the species is due to
man’s being forgiving. Forgiveness is holiness; by forgiveness 
the universe is held together. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty;
forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of mind.
Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the Self-possessed.
They represent eternal virtue.”
Paramahansa Yogananda
 
Sincerely,
Ron Richey
545 Queen St. # 701
Honolulu, Hi 96813
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