Grief, Compassion & The Beatitudes
December 27, 1999
(Initially, I will add identifiers to common names of people in my life.)
I feel as if I’ve been waiting all day to write those words. As if I knew I was supposed to be doing something I wasn’t doing. I’m sorry for continuing to worry about time when you have assured me it is unnecessary. I am home for my last day off of the Christmas season. Donny [my husband] began feeding the ducks again on Christmas Day and they continue to come although they finished most of the feed earlier today. Their incoming flight creates shadows in the house as their forms fly through the sun so that, even when I cannot see them, I know they’re there.
As you know, I am surrounded, in a certain sense, by people grieving. Even after reading A Course in Miracles and receiving A Course of Love, I do not understand suffering much. I do not understand how to help. Both Courses say the eyes of love see no misery and no suffering because it is not there. As you know from your time as a man, this is not easy to comprehend. Even less easy to do.
I do feel a bit as if I am able to “be there in compassion” for those who see themselves as suffering. I do feel as if I can be there and not judge it most of the time. I accept it and trust it in some way as what is “meant to be” for a time. I realize that we’re here to learn, and that for many people, maybe all people, this is part of learning. But I don’t know if I am supposed to accept what isn’t there. And I don’t know what this has to do with the Beatitudes or with my hearing the word “solace” the other day and thinking that the further instruction coming for the Course might be about this.
As you know, I have other things I need to do for a while. I hope you will be with me as I do them and that you will come to me when I return in conversation. I know somehow that you are there, or “here” with me and willing to help. Please help me trust myself and my hearing so that we can be together in communion. I want to be with you and feel that I am truly with you. I want to do all you would have me do and be all you would have me be. I’ll return soon.
I woke up with Johnny River’s song, “On the Poor Side of Town” in my head. I looked up poor and found it meant lack of material possessions among, of course, other things. Which led me to the Beatitudes:
How blest are the poor in spirit: the reign of God is theirs.
Blest too are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled.
Blest are the lowly, they shall inherit the land.
Blest are they who hunger and thirst for holiness;
They shall have their fill.
Blest are they who show mercy;
Mercy shall be theirs.
Blest are the single-hearted
For they shall see God.
Blest too the peacemakers; they
Shall be called sons of God.
Blest are those persecuted for holiness’ sake;
The reign of God is theirs.
Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me.
Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in heaven;
They persecuted the prophets before
You in the same way.
The annotations read: the beatitudes announce religious happiness for the anawim, i.e., those who lack material goods and stand in need of the spiritual blessings promised by God. This happiness is to reach its fulfillment through Christ. Recognition of the anawim contrasts with the religious thought of the time which regarded human affliction and sorrow as the punishment of personal sin.
What does it all have to do with each other, Jesus? The cave, the poor, the grieving? What does it all have to do with love?
It has to do with you and me in relationship, dear sister. What I have experienced you have experienced as well. We are not separate. As I resurrected so did you. Only your fear keeps you from knowing this.
*Occasionally I will add more current writings that relate to these from the past. I’ve done that with a current piece that explores the meaning of a new translation of The Beatitudes. See 2018
Your life expresses the very nature of who you are.
It expresses your nature in patterns and rhythms that are consistent with the heartbeat of the world.
December 30, 1999
I come to you this morning not knowing if I am in the right state of mind or if such a state exists. I have had a difficult morning and allowed myself to worry about things that do not matter. I am tired today and it seems the “fault” of the shop, [my family owned a coffee shop] and yet I am almost always happy there. I am happy until I begin to worry. Or until I begin to feel guilt about not doing a job I don’t particularly understand how to do—the money job. It seems silly to even talk to you of these things that matter not. I want to join with love with my shop and have it be a holy place and believe that is all that matters. The same is true of everything else in my life…my body as well, which I so desire to have the ability to do what needs to be done with my life.
I wonder about the Course being my purpose in life and if I have accomplished it, if I am entering a new stage now and what is expected of me.
You said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” and this is how I feel this day. . . poor in spirit. I do not like feeling this way and want to snap out of it. I know those who are grieving feel the same. I don’t know how to let what I am feeling pass through me and become one with me. There are so many “things” that seem to contribute to how I am feeling, from my body, to my home, to my work, to money, to trying to understand how to help and not feeling as if have time for any of these things.
This is one huge difference between me and those involved in [the scribing of] A Course in Miracles. From what I’ve read, I don’t recall them every worrying about time. They weren’t in conflict about their jobs. Their jobs were their lives and ACIM was something that they made time for within their lives and jobs, seemingly without great effort. Perhaps they were just older, more established, and living lives that they had the resources to keep in order. There seems to be no order anywhere in my life and when I try to create it, I make myself feel awful, I suppose because it means that I am not trusting that God has created perfect order in the universe and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
So if I trust that this is where I am supposed to be today, HERE I AM. Dear brother, you have dictated the wisdom of the Course of Love through me. Now can you just talk to me. Can you help me?
There is a pattern in absolutely everything, my sister. If you do not label those patterns with fear they simply become like the waxing and waning of the moon. Would you expect the moon to cry because it is not always full? To become fearful with every change that takes place even though those changes are what the moon is all about? Although those changes are the very nature of who the moon is?
Your life expresses the very nature of who you are. It expresses your nature in patterns and rhythms that are consistent with the heartbeat of the world. Each heartbeat is followed by a moment in which the heart beats not. Each intake of breath is followed by an expelling of breath. Night is followed by day. The surf goes in and goes out. There is a time of planting, harvest and decay that leads to new life. There are seasons that flow, one into another, with mighty changes that are not seen as reason for panic, guilt or worry. These things are the nature of the world. These things are not separate from you or the nature of your self. For they were not separate from me.
It is said that life abhors a vacuum. There is no such thing. No possibility of a place unfilled. For the pattern is eternity and your life but a reflection of eternity in time.
You might say you have been in training to understand this pattern. In various ways over the past five years, you have been more aware of this pattern. It began with your own fortieth birthday and was an intense experience of life and death. When this phase of your growth ended, you immersed yourself in the pattern of the church, a pattern deeply rooted in the pattern of the universe. You then left the seclusion of that life for a life of engagement with the world…a world in which the societal understanding of these patterns is reflected in very obvious ways, even if those living the pattern do not see the obvious.
You notice I did not mention the scribing of the Course which took place within the pattern of eternity as a manifestation rather than a part of the pattern. The moon is a manifestation. The waxing and waning of the moon a part of the pattern. Each instrument in an orchestra is a manifestation that reveals the music which is the pattern. The manifestation is not the point of the instrument, the pattern is. In other words, the moon being the moon is not the point of the moon. The pattern the moon provides is the point of the moon. It IS the moon.
Your bodies, too, of course, are manifestations, but their point is the pattern. The pattern is what reveals the nature of the truly real. Thus, the pattern created by the manifestation of the Course is what will reveal the truly real.
This pattern is like a blueprint that already exists. It is the order in seeming chaos. You go through life wondering why this pattern must take place. Why must there be beginnings and endings? Why must there be change? Why must there be sorrow? Yet the sorrow only exists as an inability to accept beginnings and endings. As an inability to accept change. As an inability, in other words, to accept that the manifestation is not the point, but that the pattern is.
You have been being schooled in the pattern. The pattern is one of relationship. All relationships in time have beginnings and endings and are the means by which change takes place in time, which is the purpose of time. Change is just another word for creation. You are an ongoing act of creation and your purpose here is to return to your role as a creator. If your role is to create, change must be part of your purpose and therefore cannot be bad.
My birth, death, and resurrection show a completed pattern and an acceptance of the pattern with love. That I was put to death may be the most dramatic part of my life for many, but it would not be remembered if I had not completed my pattern by continuing to love those who put me to death and by being willing to resurrect.
This is what your cave experience draws you to. Resurrection. Because I completed my pattern, I revealed that pattern to you and to all. It is the pattern of each of us, not in the details but in the pattern itself. Birth, death, and resurrection is the pattern. You are here born into matter only to die to matter and resurrect to eternal life. This pattern is all around you, calling you to notice it and to live it. You CAN live THROUGH death to resurrection. This is the choice you are called to. The choice to come out of the cave and to live THROUGH death. You are called to die to matter without giving up living. This is transcendence. But it is also no more than acceptance of what IS. What IS is an ongoing act of creation. Creation is an ongoing act of love. Love Is.
Death and grief are all around you now, not to the extent that you are blinded by your own grief, but to the extent that you are called to examine the death of some and the grief of others, the change happening to some and the grief it causes. You feel as if you accept death and change but do not want to accept grief and want to help others through grief. What lies beyond grief but new life? The deaths you perceive are deaths of the physical body. You perceive not the death that truly occurs within the life of those grieving. Those grieving are those who experience death, not those who physically leave the world. In that experience of death, resurrection awaits. In the experience of my death were those who loved me resurrected along with me. Do you begin to understand?
Death occurs, continuously calling those who experience death (rather than those who are truly experiencing rebirth) to resurrect to life. It is those who experience grief (the poor in spirit) who abide in the cave of death and have before them the choice to roll back the stone or to stay buried. Your life here is a burial in the cave of matter until you choose to make it otherwise. Death calls you to make it otherwise. Each death is thus a great gift of creation as was my own. And each of you, young and old, rich and poor, are visited by death. No one is excluded from this gift as no one was excluded from my own gift so many years ago.
You may be wondering now why a more substantial grief has not knocked at your own door if you are being schooled in this pattern. Why have you not needed to learn directly? Or more worrisome, what might await you? But for you it is your own death you have been aware of and not feared. Your own death you have so often welcomed. Your own death you so often felt as you have left one way of life behind and gone on to another.
It is your experience of death that in the end teaches you there is no loss within the laws of God. None can imagine the grief of my mother at my loss, the grief of my friends, yet their experience of my death caused the resurrection, not only mine but their own.
None of this may seem to be helping you now as you long for advice on how to travel through life rather than death. Yet I tell you it is only through traveling through death that your real life begins. Let go the life of the body and all the worries that fill your mind are let go as well. What does this mean but accepting death? And what is really so hard about that? It is accepting life that is hard and only because you do not accept death.
You cannot truly die while you hang on so to fear of death. Rebirth (in physical form) awaits only those who are too afraid to let go of life and let death be the great creator that it is. This is true in life as well as death as all truth is generalizable.
That your fear is reversed, a fear of life rather of death, is why the image of the cave calls to you. And so, as is true of all reversals, the same laws apply. While you hang on so to death as the answer you do not let go of death and do not truly live.
Do you hang on to what is gone and compare it to what is present? Only recently did you let go the single mom so that her death could bring that life to completion and lead to resurrection. Now you hang on to what was from many lives unfulfilled by death. Death is but detachment. Think you of the leaf that falls in order for a new leaf to bud. You might say that leaf is dead and gone and a new leaf comes forth to take its place. How do you know it is not the same leaf come to live another day, another season? Had it hung on and withered on the limb of the tree, growing dry and brittle, then it might lose its life. But not those who let go and accept the seasons, the pattern, the ACT of who they are.
Detachment is not heartless, a ceasing to love, an inability to care or to remember. Do you see physical death in such a way? Are those who die choosing to cease to love those they leave behind? Or in the act of dying do they not love them all the more, care all the more, remember all the more. Few die without leaving behind the example that I left behind, that of loving all of those they would seem to be abandoning. Few leave without saying what I said. That they do not choose to abandon those they love or to leave them comfortless.
All mourn the loss of childhood, some more so than others. Some mourn the loss of youth, some more so than others. But these losses too but show the law of God, there is no loss but only gain.
Let go what was. Accept what is. Be willing to move into what will be.
Thus is the endless act of creation allowed to be without meeting resistance. The endless act of creation is what is, with or without your acceptance or acknowledgment. It is an act of love, with or without your acknowledgment. It is who I am and who you are and who God is with or without your acceptance or acknowledgment. But your acceptance, like mine, will roll back the stone of your cave and allow you to live in the light. Are you willing dear sister?
The cave is the cave of both birth and death. There is no nothingness for you to enter. No place of nonbeing. No place where relationship does not exist and change or creation along with it. This is what you think you desire, the only way you can imagine being at peace. Your great desire now for peace is what has led you to this teaching/learning relationship with me. Do not be fooled that this too, is not an act of creation, an act that by its taking place is creating change, an act of life that is inclusive of death, as all life is. This is why the cave can symbolize both. Why my birth and death are both symbolized by the cave. Both are acts of creation and one is not good and the other bad. But both are a rejection of the void of nothingness. The void of nothingness is only illusion, dear one. It is not peace but simply nothingness. All is as peaceful as what you imagine nothingness to be. Trust me on this one. What you desire is the peace of union not the imaginary peace of leaving your separated state for a nonexistent one. The peace of union is the only peace that exists. Union and creation are inseparable as are you and I, we and God.
Let your illusions go. Let peace reign. Hear creation sing.