My Greatest Experience – Ever
By Miguel Carvalho
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It was the greatest experience of my life, what happened to me on August 14th, as I was exploring A Course of Love. And what is more, it was not a one-time occurrence, a fluke, a misinterpretation, or a figment of my imagination. My experience is totally reproducible any time I choose—though not with the attending fireworks as with the first time.
It was a Monday. I joined three friends on a prescheduled conference call to share ACOL. We would be reading Day 14, “Healing,” of the Forty Days and Forty Nights. I was happy that my friends were also wanting to read it. I needed help understanding and really experiencing what it was saying about feelings. I knew, more than I can express in words, that I needed to GET IT.
I was still recovering from an emergency appendectomy, which was quite complicated. I had been totally joyless for several weeks following my surgery. Since coming home from the hospital I was feeling very lonely (uncharacteristic for me), weak and fragile, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I also had continuous post-surgery pain in my abdomen. At the same time, something not totally unrelated had been brewing in my mind — the white supremacist rally and counter protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. I was seeing the intense emotions of hatred, violence, and anger as I watched TV and was aware of my own emotions of hate, anger, and a desire to do violence towards these people in Charlottesville. This was my state when we started reading ACOL together.
When it was my turn to read paragraph 14.4, it seemed that I was simultaneously trying to apply what I was reading to the disturbing pictures and feelings that I had been dealing with.
And then it happened. It happened like an explosion in my mind or in my being, in a FLASH. In an instant, the mob that had taken residence in my mind, all the hate-filled emotions of fear that were mine and those of my brothers and sisters in Charlottesville, just disappeared in an instant from my mind. Suddenly all those brothers and sisters appeared utterly innocent and lovable.
Great joy flooded into me. Of course my three friends noticed and remarked on the sudden change in my mood and voice. I was beyond elation and excitement. I had just made a HUGE DISCOVERY.
A picture flashed into my mind of Jesus on the cross saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” And I imagined Jesus looking on the crowd below with total compassion and brotherhood and love—just as I was feeling. Perhaps what I had just experienced was the same as Jesus “taking away the sins of the world.” I felt that that is exactly what we are asked to do in the paragraph I had just read—to take away all the harm that the projections of our brothers and sisters could cause to the world, by making their feelings our own and holding them within the spacious Self. What power!
Many thoughts flashed through my mind. “What potential for humanity or humans who want to finally transform the world! Is this what is really meant by being saviors of the world? What would happen if more and more of us dedicated ourselves to practice what this lesson on Healing teaches?”
What had just happened was an especially big deal for me because since my introduction to A Course in Miracles in 1987, I lamented that I could never really feel love for anyone, including my only child. Wanting to be accurate and honest, I used to say, “I really want to love you.” After years of trying to apply and live the teachings of ACIM, the best I was able to do was to go through the motions of loving as I understood it, with a sincere desire to love. All these years of trying to apply and live the teachings of ACIM, in the face of horrible events—atrocities, man’s inhumanity to man and nature—all these things that affected me since childhood very strongly. I experienced anger and rage and pain and sadness and hopelessness and despair, and yet all I ever was able to respond with was to go through some motions in my mind, such as, “Bless them,” or “They are all my innocent brothers and sisters, etc.,” or even “It’s not real after all, although horrible”— seemed in hindsight like empty words.
Countless people over the years have said that they felt loved by me, but their telling me so didn’t do anything for me, since I did not feel it. I was a seeker after that most precious gift: to be able to love like Jesus—and now I had just experienced it, full blast, for the first time, without any doubt. That was bigger than anything that had happened to me in my life, I thought. It is as if love was finally consummated. There was a feeling.
Not only that, but all my constant post- surgery abdominal pain suddenly vanished.
Day 14, “Healing,” was a revelation for me. And the key is to feel into and accept the feelings of others, fearlessly and as my own, and to “hold” those feelings within the spacious Self. In doing so I experienced what I have wanted to experience for so long—to feel, to really FEEL the Truth, undeniably and totally experienced. I and all my brothers and sisters really ARE utterly innocent and lovable.
The paragraph that catapulted me into this magnificent experience? Here it is:
It is by holding all feelings of others within the spacious Self, by not forgetting that the one and the many are the same, by willfully remembering that the feelings of the many can be “held” and not projected into the world as sickness, violence, and so on, that acceptance occurs. It is in accepting all feelings as the feelings of the many that the feelings of “others” are accepted as one’s own and held within the spaciousness of the One Self, the whole Self. D:Day14.4
Miguel Carvalho lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been trying to live the Course in Miracles since 1987 and now A Course of Love for about 2 years. And grateful beyond words for ACOL.
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The Great Whispering
By Susan Greenwood
There is a great whispering
It stirs the trees and rustles the leaves
It rides the waves then laps gently on the shore
All creatures hear the whispering
It talks of the relationship between all things
Speaks of the cycles of life and death
The knowing that, in this moment, all is well.
Sometimes, when the mental static of life’s business is stilled
And I can listen to nature around me
I, too, can hear the whispering.
My heart lifts with joyful remembering
And the final piece of the puzzle fits perfectly.
Susan Greenwood grew up in England, and has lived and worked in Naples, Florida, for the past 15 years. Reading and writing are life-long pleasures. For the past few years she has also enjoyed writing brief group meditations to share with friends.