[as it appeared in the April 2011 Newsletter]
Time flows along like a river taking us along like guests floating in its current like fallen leaves. When I look back at how the eddies and rapids pushed me into new territory unseen around the bend of the river, I am always amazed at where I have ended up and excited about what will come next.
The books entitled “A Course in Miracles” floated into my life in 1976 when I was searching for something other than a religious upbringing that just didn’t fit. Ever since then its philosophy and discipline have become the foundation for my spiritual, emotional and physical health. Then, in 1977, I was introduced to Judith Skutch (Whitson) who encouraged me to do something for children, and so the Holy Spirit guided me to write The Children’s Material, which, since 1978, has been recognized internationally as a children’s version of the Course.( This past year the original material was divided into two age appropriate books: Book – Little Lamb’s Big Book, with large illustrations and new color and color projects. Plus, Help is on the Way!, a complete novel that includes within it the workbook, for preteens, a much forgotten group when it comes to spiritual studies.)
The river, however was always pushing me through the rapids, and by the 1980’s I had been setting up groups and national conferences on the Course around the U.S. as well as Canada and Australia for the now thousands of its students studying these books. In 1985 another leaf floated by and I asked a good friend and guest speaker at these conferences to join me in writing a small comparative booklet on the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles. J.R. Richmond and myself titled it Side by Side. (The newest edition with Spanish translation.)From that time forward my talks revolved around applying the Course in the healing of relationships, or what was becoming known as the area of co-dependency recovery.
Like most families, the flowing water sometimes becomes turbulent with swirling rapids. My husband and I discovered there were relatives on both sides afflicted with mental illness and addiction, two diseases that so often go hand in hand and are referred to as dual diagnosis. We had front row seats in the experiences of individuals struggling in the whirlpools of addiction and recovery. This led to the lectures that form the basis of another book, “Hand in Hand – Recovery and Miracles”.
And so, several years ago, I found myself giving a lecture to a spiritual group in the Midwest on A Course in Miracles and recovery. I was asked a simple question, “Is this material teaching mind over matter?” I spontaneously answered with the response, “No, it is teaching mind over what doesn’t matter!” I explained, the river will keep pushing us along, so our job is simply relax and not fight the current. What then could possibly matter?
Since then I have used this phrase many times, not just with my students and clients, but most especially with myself! Boy, how seriously we take life. After all isn’t being an adult judged by how responsibly we handle problems? And problems are serious business, right? Wrong!
“Wait,” you say. “What do you mean problems aren’t serious? I have lots of problems. My whole life is one unsolvable problem – and I take this very seriously! I am responsible and I am an adult and this is no laughing matter!”
Whew! Bummer! What a drag! With this frame of reference every time we enjoy life we must feel unconsciously that we are irresponsible and immature. So naturally we are going to set ourselves up for more and more problems so that we can prove to ourselves and others how adult we are. We struggle and splash and try to fight and control that current. If you doubt that this is true, just reflect for a moment or two on what you like to think about most of the time. And guess what you’ll discover? You like to focus on your problems! You worry pretty consistently just to make sure you don’t forget any of them. Gee, you wouldn’t want to lose any, would you?
Does all this worry really make any difference? Not really. Rarely do we ever come up with solutions when we are so busy remembering, reliving and reorganizing our problems. So the obvious release from this imprisoning predicament is to shift from worry to serenity. To move from worry to serenity effectively you will need to:
1. Shift beliefs about fun and adulthood.
2. Learn to focus on solutions rather than problems.
3. Discover what really matters and release what doesn’t.
Here is where applying A Course in Miracles is, not just handy, but essential in helping us float along peacefully. Of course, change may not happen overnight, since being able to accomplish all three points effectively takes time, but hey, what else is time for?
And the water is so inviting.
* Bette Cundiff has been a teacher of A Course in Miracles since 1977 and has traveled throughout the US, Canada and Australia setting up conferences which teach about forgiveness. She is author of the internationally recognized children’s version of A Course in Miracles, “The Children’s Material” and has also produced a full miracles course in a novel for the young reader “Help is on the Way!”. In addition Bette is author of “Side by Side, the Twelve Steps and A Course in Miracles”. Many of her books have been translated into Spanish.
Here is Bette, in her own words:
In 1976 a powerful light filled ‘voice’ impressed onto my mind wonderful thoughts that I could not help but write down. Writing books naturally followed. Over the years this Guiding Light has occasionally assumed a sense of personality, but no matter, I knew the wisdom given to me came from That which fills us, directs us and of course loves us all. For more than thirty years I lectured around the world on spiritual psychology, comparative religions, spirituality, A Course in Miracles, the Twelve Steps and co-dependency recovery and so much more. From that time on, studying, sharing, starting up study groups globally, and writing about what I had learned and what was ‘given to me’ through inner guidance has been my passion.