As I said on the homepage, in all the time I have taught A Course in Miracles, I have never promoted my classes; only word of mouth and any posting of the classes made by whichever organization at which I have held classes or seminars. This site then is something new for me.
As such it is also something of an experiment. Through all the years I have taught the Course, I’ve still been learning it as well. “What, you haven’t gotten it…graduated or whatever?” No, I am not “fully cooked,” and I am certainly not “enlightened.”
While I have never lacked for students here in the Triangle, whether the focus I bring to the Course has benefit for a wider circle, I have no idea; hence this “experiment.” In fact, it has been my students who have pushed me to “reach out.” If what is on this site is for you just more of the same, or (worse yet) some crazy ramblings, blame it on them! (Just kidding guys!)
I am just teaching what I want to learn myself. I want to live with a greater sense of peace and a greater sense of “Presence.” “Presence of what,” you might ask. And while I could put several names to it that you might recognize, I’m not talking about anything that words would do Justice. And that Presence IS Peace! Several times in my life I have had, or better, fallen into, this sense of Presence, often at turning points in my life.
Did the “Presence” create the turning point, or did the turning point coincide with a turning of the mind that opened to the Presence? I don’t know how to answer the question. While I could use all sorts of language and terminology from the Course to give an answer, it also would not be the reality. And the reality is beyond our ability to conceptualize, but is the real goal of the Course.
The Course tells us (and my “awakened” friends put it in various other words) that the “Presence” that sometimes seems to arise within you (but much of the time seems like a will-o-wisp), is actually YOU. It is none other than your Self. Not your “Higher Self,” or your “Real Self,” (though we may sometimes use such terms to talk about it), but your ONLY self.
The Course calls it the Holy Spirit or the Voice for God, or the Mind of Christ. But it also says that it is in fact your mind. In our intensely separate state however, it seems to be anything but our mind.
Often, we may seem to have, or be, two selves. This is the heart of all the conflicts in our mind or in our lives; this root sense of separation. This is also the root of our difficulty in fully connecting with anyone, with God, or even with our own “Higher” or “Real” Self; our inability to truly and fully love, and our inability to be at peace. Indeed, the Course says, early on, that the only thing we need to change is “our seeming sense of separation.”
But it also says that, not only does separation in any form not exist, it is impossible for separation itself to exist at all. That certainly doesn’t square with our experience however. Coming to grips with this dichotomy is often one of the most difficult parts of learning the Course or other such non-dual practice. This is why it is focused on so intently in the early parts of both the Text and the Workbook, and continues to be cited all through the book.
Curiously, our “experience” is not what it seems. And one of the best ways to really understand this is to come to a visceral understanding of just how you perceive anything, which is also not the way it seems. So, on this site, and in my classes, seminars and workshops, I not only teach the concepts of the Course, and coach the application of the lessons and other exercises, but I use verbal and visual techniques and demonstrations to bring a more visceral experience of the internally created nature of what we seem to be just “perceiving” through our senses.
For even longer than I have worked with the Course, I have been a student of the nature of human perception. In my professional work, I am a cognitive researcher and have given well received lectures on my research at a half-dozen major university graduate schools in Design, Psychology, Virtual Reality, Theatre, Film and Cognitive Neuroscience. In addition to bringing my own research to them, I have learned of their cutting edge research in each of these fields, which has given me new tools and techniques for communication.
Today, a number of Course teachers, as well as teachers in other non-dual traditions, have learned something of the counter-intuitive nature of quantum mechanics and use examples from it (in varying degrees of accuracy), to help folks see that even the nature of the physical world is not what they think.
This material can be useful in undermining our conventional view of the physical world, and since my own early undergraduate study was in physics (and I have tried to keep up with new developments in the field), I will sometimes use quantum theory in the same manner in classes.
However, the quantum nature of matter cannot be demonstrated but only described, whereas the “projective” nature of human perception can actually be experienced in a class setting using demonstrations that are used in cognitive labs, in addition to the Course exercises.
I don’t teach science. I teach the Course. But as the Introduction says, “This Course does not aim at teaching the meaning of Love [or God, or Truth, or the Absolute] for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim at removing the barriers to Love’s presence, which is your own natural inheritance.”
It’s been my experience, and apparently the experience of many of my students, that actually seeing your mind making up, failing to see, or altering in some significant way, the things you used to think were just what you directly “perceived,” is a powerful aid to grasping many of the other central teachings of the Course.
True Forgiveness, Atonement, the Real World and the “always and already” nature of innocence are all revealed by this Shift, and hence the unreality of guilt, defense, attack and much more, are all dispelled by it.
This is some of the kind of work I have done with students for nearly 40 years. For the first time I’m going to see if there is anyone else out there who might benefit from this approach. If this resonates with you, let’s talk.