My Necklace of Pearls,
and Drumming to the Heartbeat of the World
By Coralie Pearson, Lead Translator of ACOL into Spanish
The world is not a collection of cement buildings and paved streets nor of cold, heartless people who would as soon do you harm as good. It is but the place of your interaction with all that lives within you, sharing the one heartbeat. The heartbeat of the world does not exist apart from God. The heartbeat of the world is thus alive and part of you. This heart connection is what we seek to return you to. C:20:17
This call to return to the heart connection, to feel the heartbeat of the world, has led me on an interesting journey for quite some years now, with stops on the way where I found sustenance.
Tibetan Buddhism provided me with a firm foundation as I set out, and I continue to carry the teachings of the Buddha with me. They gave me the first pearl on my necklace: the pearl of compassion.
Then came A Course in Miracles. Its mind training transformed my life.
As I was studying the text and practicing the Workbook lessons, I swam for a while in the stream of ACIM nondual teachers who say that there is no world, there is only one mind, there’s no one out there, there is only me (and there isn’t even a “me”). I know all of that is true. And yet Workbook Lesson 288 tells me that “I cannot come to [God] without my brother…. My brother’s is the hand that leads me on the way to [God].” So who is the nondualist’s brother? That bothered me a lot. But, catering as it does for disparate needs, ACIM itself gave me my answer. It told me in Workbook Lesson 100 that others will “hear God calling to them in [my] happy laugh” and that “joy is [my] function here”. So I added a second pearl to my necklace: the pearl of happy laughter.
A Course of Love entered my life unheralded, and largely unattended, in the single volume of Book 1. I read it, thought it was beautiful, and set it aside, drawn more powerfully then by Part One of the Way of Mastery: The Way of the Heart, the twelve lessons of which I completed, month by month, in the course of a year.
The surprising adventure of how A Course of Love, in its completeness, has become the focus of my life, and has changed it and transformed it as I translate its words into Spanish, is a story for another time. But “living A Course of Love” (in two languages) seems to me an apt description of how I have spent the past two years.
These two years have brought me wondrous holy relationships that have carried me through the challenges that have presented themselves in the course of this adventure: dear Glenn Hovemann, without whom none of this would be happening. Lorena Miño, a mighty companion indeed; our combined dedication to making A Course of Love available to Spanish speakers has been divinely guided throughout, and has shown us what miracles are achieved when we choose to set the ego-self aside. Both of them are precious pearls on my necklace that join a string of other mighty companions, each of them unique, all of them one.
And Mari Perron, with her emphasis, in both her writings and in the personal dialogues we have shared on the importance of being who we are; her focus on the “’centeredness’ of sharing, companioning and creating the new in unity and relationship.” This freed me from the straitjacket of what it means to be “spiritual,” and what a freedom that is! And so another pearl has been added to my necklace: the pearl of being who I am (and letting go of striving to be the “ideal self” I thought I should be).
And the drumming?
Well, I found that all these heady teachings, combined with the cerebral nature of my work in the business world as a translator and interpreter, left me with a deep need for the counterbalance of something wordless and mindless—in the very best sense of the word—and for much of my journey the healing power of sound and rhythm using voice and drum has accompanied me and sustained me. It empties the mind and enables me to drop effortlessly into the heart.
The rhythm of the heartbeat accompanies us from the moment we are conceived and yet it is easy to lose touch with this essential pulse that we all share, second by second, throughout time. There is so much other noise that drowns it out. But if you try it, you will be amazed at how quickly we connect when we come together in a rhythmical community that transcends all distinguishing features that might separate us. There are no words, no theories, not even any wrong notes, just acceptance.
And in that place I have discovered a glorious coming together in unity and relationship with others from different countries and cultures: The local group of Spanish samba drummers, with the roots of the music we play in Brazil; our joy is palpable in the loving embraces and laughter that celebrate our coming together each week. Village Music Circles and the miraculous Arthur Hull who has travelled the world for decades sharing his spirit and empowering others to share theirs. The musical improvisation of Music for People and Mary Knysh, who in the simplest way through music teaches the steps of the arc of transformation: Listen-Connect-Communicate-Collaborate/Create-Inspire-Transform.
And in absolute wonder, while carrying the words of A Course of Love in my head and the felt-sense of its teachings in my heart (and wearing my necklace of pearls wherever I go), I participate in the direct expression of the Course’s message, in unity and relationship with people who most likely have never heard of it. And they too are amazed.
Coralie Pearson lives in an ancient farming village near Madrid, Spain. She is the lead translator of the Spanish edition of ACOL, Un Curso de Amor, which is now available worldwide. For further information please go to http://www.fundacionuncursodeamor.org/
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Haiku from the Heart
By Rick Carlson
the body’s real purpose
is the communion of Love
let us be this Love
like wind in these sacred trees
blowing where it will
to be only Love
and have no other desire:
the Way is boundless
the egoic view
is peering through a knot hole
certainly not whole
concept of self
disappears like morning fog
as real Love turns up
our very life is
a near-death experience
after you, my dear
a Zen hermit heard
a dove sing with a high coo
what an idea!
Rick Carlson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has studied ACIM since 1983 and ACOL since 2006. He recently retired from a career as a personal attendant to disabled adults. The poems above were taken from his collection entitled “Love is the Healing” where he says, “This poet is simply one of Love’s messengers. So, dear reader, are you. Poetry is a mirror that doesn’t break if it’s dropped once in a while.” Rick has been an amateur poet since he was a teenager.