ACIM


Off to Rio! The Conferencia Internacional Ucem, being held at the Golden Park Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will host my book reading on Friday October 17 at 10 a.m. The conference runs from through Sunday October 19.

I will be performing some of my music too. Hope to see you all!

 

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Is anyone truly atheistic? Is everyone truly atheistic? Although seemingly opposing extremes, these two questions share a common denominator: fear. As a small child I would always make up some story to tell my mother when she came into my room in the middle of the night to comfort me and asked why I was crying. I never was able to tell her it was another Biblical nightmare. I wonder how she would have handled the truth. Ours was the most devout family around; yet, as nightmares go, even the holiest Christians (as we were) being thrown to the lions to be ripped to shreds was not the worst. the most frequent, and terrifying story was of God telling Abraham to take his beloved son, Isaac, up the mountain and behead him.

The “moral” of the story is that if a voice identifying itself as God demands even so atrocious an act, we all are obliged to do it to prove our love for Him. Sounds a bit too familiar in today’s world, doesn’t it? I knew my dad was every bit as holy as Abraham, and he kept his axe very sharp for chopping wood and killing chickens. Would I flop around like a chicken? I was very cautious.

I tried to be atheist at that young age, but being required to attend church every day and twice on Sundays provided insurmountable heaping helpings of guilt for thinking such thoughts. Many years later, as soon as I could leave home, I silently declared myself an atheist, became a hypnotherapist, and began dredging my subconscious mind, chipping away at the iceberg that lay beneath the surface. By about fourth grade, simple, common-sense, yet nagging self-questioning, such as “If God is all-knowing, why would he create souls knowing they were doomed to hell?” left me in constant inner turmoil. I think I could have been a happy little atheist; I certainly had no desire to spend eternity with such a hateful Creator, but eight more years of enforced angst, all silently repressed by necessity, would follow.

After several years as a self-respecting atheist, a funny thing happened that helped put the whole picture in focus. In 1983 my wife, Lainie, and I attended John Pielmeir’s play, Agnes Of God, on Broadway at the Music Box Theater. It was then starring Diahann Carroll, Geraldine Page and Carrie Fisher. The play was adapted for a movie in 1985-a major disappointment because it completely omitted the most powerful theatrical scene I’ve ever witnessed. In the stage play, the hard-nosed court psychiatrist (Carroll) grills Sister Agnes, (Fisher) a young and ignorant novice, about the murder of the baby to whom she had given birth, and the Mother Superior, (Page) who hopes to minimize the scandal. For most of the play the intense interrogation produced answers from Sister Agnes in la-la-land, punctuated by demurely professing her love for God, ad nauseam until she suddenly burst loose screaming “I hate God; I hate God!” over and over, uncontrollably. This scene, without which the play would have been to me, as the movie was, totally pointless, instantly showed me the basis for answering every question which had tortured me consciously for all my younger life, and, having been suppressed, continued taking its toll from the deeper level.

Is anyone an atheist? No-not on the plane to which the question most commonly refers. Using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) in a form of unsuspected “awake” hypnosis, I’ve been able to glean more than ample proof in conversations using leading questions which produced spontaneous, unguarded responses, that it is far easier and inestimably gentler, safer to the human psyche to simply deny the existence of the sick “God” virtually all of us have been taught (and, incredulously, told that we must love, or else He will destroy us) and invite the wrath of “His terrible swift sword.”

A classic example: I was doing a small concert of fun/spiritual music and struck up a conversation with a woman there. She mentioned her husband and I asked why he hadn’t come with her. She replied “Oh, my husband is an atheist.” That gave me the opening to share my “no-atheist” theory with her, which she found interesting, but insisted that could not apply to her husband, who was a third-generation Jewish atheist, and never had any God influence in his life. My thought was that one could not even walk walk down the street and escape God influence, but I let the topic lie.

We continued our conversation, and it turned out that, three weeks earlier, she and friends were in Rev. Willard Fuller’s audience where many, including myself, experienced dental “miracles” Mine was having a dental bridge turn to gold (I later verified with the dentist who installed it that it was not gold originally). One of her friends also was a recipient of this alchemic phenomenon, but was not at all happy about it, as the gold manifested in the front of her mouth and gleamed embarrassingly when she smiled. I asked her what had been the reaction of her third-generation-Jewish atheist husband. She laughed and told me he had said “See? I told you God is a jerk!” Of course I was right on that, reminding her that my theory proved true with her husband as well.

This brings us to the final question: “Is everyone atheist?’ On a higher plane, it’s safe to say that probably everyone you’ve ever known is atheist. There is no pure altruism in this world, but, let us try to just imagine it, and how it would look. First, nothing lives in this world unless something else dies. Every breath we take kills millions of micro-organisms, so forget about the body and the physical world. Yet, if we can grasp and equate altruism with totally abstract happiness beyond imagination, and, of course, necessarily beyond the physical, then why would we not be ecstatic with the concept that this Altruistic Thought is God, and really, the only possibility of a God? Well then, what becomes of everyone’s individuality in such a concept? Along with individuality there is pain, and how could this Altruistic God make allowances for pain? Conversely, our ego-driven need for individuality makes no room for God, because, obviously, there could be no co-existence.

And there we have the choice everyone makes: belief in/denial of (same coin/opposite sides) the monster Biblical “God” who makes suffering individuals of us. Because, with the alternative, all individuality must disappear forever and meld into the one abstract, genderless, “peace that passeth understanding” that is the only possibility of a God at all, virtually all of us cling to this illusion of individually, pain and all, and remain atheistic.

This article also appears at EzineArticles

There are probably as many methods in hypnotherapy as there are individuals working in the field. Subtle though the differences may be, one thing is certain: the therapist must feel comfortable in her/his own skin if the client is to gain maximum benefit. It can take a while to find one’s own niche; I was certified in 1982, and have coined something of a motto based on what I’ve found most helpful in the introductory stage: It’s no fun unless it’s fun! Word-play is a favorite, as evidenced by the title of this article, and as you may already know from my original songs. Humorous, helpful insights are everywhere, and, with apologies to all the highly skilled hypnotherapists around, with the word “hypnosis,” (besides being Greek to me) how could a self-respecting word-play fan possibly resist tailoring it to a more comfortable fit? Not with those three juicy syllables!

Self-Hypnosis

Results are actually perception shifts, and must be consciously chosen before being committed to the automatic pilot that is the subconscious mind. Analogies (parables) and music are two very powerful tools in pleasant self-hypnosis. They are my purpose for writing and recording such music, and the intention in writing my two books, Sing Yourself a Miracle, and The Parable of the Stars.

Symptom Substitution?

Freud introduced the theory of Symptom Substitution, which contends that the alleviation of one symptom (such as an undesirable habit) will likely be replaced by another, which simply substitutes for the vanquished problem. Not a very fun idea, is it? Because of its negative underpinnings, together with Freud’s inability to satisfactorily explain this phenomenon, the Symptom Substitution theory has been largely rejected in modern psychology. It isn’t very helpful to say such a theory is true without being able to say why it is true, and this is where Freud fell short.

Simpson Substitution

We will explore this further momentarily, but for now, let’s try a new, heretofore unheard of, hopefully amusing approach: substituting Simpson Substitution for Freud’s Symptom Substitution. In this concept we first consciously choose to identify with the Lisa Simpson personality if we suspect we have a bit too much “Bart” in us. Or-vice-versa-if we are fed up with emulating sweet little Lisa but can’t seem to help ourselves. I’ve always had a little Bart in me, which I’m happy with, but wouldn’t want any more than I have. A Homer makeover is not currently available, and please do not contact me if you are thinking of becoming an O.J. copy-cat.

A Course in Miracles

Just as Buddhism (and now also Quantum Physics) teaches that the world is illusory, yet can’t explain why we choose to live the illusion, so too did Freud’s Symptom Substitution theory only raise further questions. In the 1960s Dr. Helen Schucman, a psychologist at Columbia Presbyterian University in NYC, working with her Department Head, Dr. William Thetford, began compiling a three-volume set of books titled A Course in Miracles, that would give very clear answers to why we choose to live an illusion, and, at the same time, the purpose which Freud’s Symptom Substitution serves.

Buddhist and Freud Riddles

Here is a quick clue-a personal example that gives an insight into both the Buddhist and Freud riddles: I was talking with a Catholic Priest about smoking; he told me that he always gives up smoking for Lent, but smoked the rest of the year. My reply was that he was getting it all backwards; he should smoke during Lent and give it up the rest of the year. Why would I say that? I think he didn’t get it-perhaps later, if he thought about it, but not at that time. Another clue: what is the purpose for Lent in Catholicism? In that answer lies both the purpose for Symptom Substitution, which eluded Freud, himself, and also the reason Buddhism fails to give for choosing to live an illusion. Happy quantum leaps!

This article also appears at EzineArticles

I will be signing copies of The Parable of The Stars at the Clinton Book Shop located at 12 East Main Street in Clinton on Friday, December 9 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There will be music throughout the event as well.  Come and learn my Christmas song, The Angel Song and the New Jersey Song too!

A. In a Parable, of course!
Perhaps millions of ACIM students have given up on The Course, finding it
too difficult and frustrating to fathom. Most long-time ACIM students,
myself included, have found themselves at a loss for words when
attempting to relate The Course’s message to newer students or the
curious inquirer.

In letting go the wish to be the one to come up with the answer, it came
to me. I asked simply how Jesus would explain his Course, and
 The Parable of the Stars began to take form. I laughed, thinking to
myself “How else would Jesus tell the story?” The gift of this
parable has changed my own life, and those of readers who find its
clarity invaluable in making their way through The Course. Long-time
students report its simplicity helpful in avoiding ego-relapses, and
call it their “go-to book” to share with their loved ones who may be
questioning their sanity. $11.50 + $3.50, S & H. The accompanying
The Parable of the Stars CD, narrated by Lainie Beavin, songs by
John Beavin, and sound effects by Tom Sciro: $10.50 + $3.50, S & H
or book and CD: $19.95 + $3.50, S & H.

The original music in John Beavin’s CD, God Is the Light in Which I See 
complements The Parable of the Stars with songs such as The Forgotten 
Song. Course students will recognize the title song as the title of 
Lesson 44 from the Workbook. Once understood, the “Light” which God 
really is becomes non-threatening to everyone, religious, agnostic 
or atheist. The album is also fun and funny, in keeping with the 
ACIM teaching that all true healing lies in our “remembering to 
laugh at the tiny mad idea” (of separation from The Light, and 
thus, from each other.) $14.95+ $3.50, S & H. Treat yourself to 
all three-The Parable of the Stars book and CD, plus the God Is 
the Light in Which I See for just $29.95 + $3.50 S & H—a 
savings of $7.45.

For those wishing to give these items as gifts, please email 
about discounts for multiple orders.

This is the NJ song I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years.  The great NJ historian, John Cunningham (now 95 yrs. old and still going strong!) was the source of my historical enlightenment.  I’d like to dedicate the song to him.

Alas, what the conscious mind hopes to manifest matters not while
 the subconscious mind adheres to individual personification ideals, 
and the subconscious mind rules! An obvious example that this is 
true would be in the learned mechanics involved in expertly driving 
a car. What if you had to consciously think of every needed response 
as you did when you first learned to drive?

Well, first of all, I think it's safe to assume you would not be around 
to read this article. Likewise, feeding the subconscious other valuable 
techniques, similar to programming a computer, are necessary and desirable 
in making nearly every facet of our everyday lives run as smoothly as 
possible. But what of empowerment? Where does one search for the ultimate 
self-esteem?

While the learned mechanical techniques are valuable tools, they are 
only that-tools. How might one (note that I did not say "an individual") 
lacking physical vision or hearing achieve empowerment or self-esteem? 
Probably we all know people who, after losing sense of sight or hearing, 
have developed heightened awareness through other senses which may have 
long lay dormant before their need arose. While we rightfully admire 
such adaptability in the face of hardships difficult for most of us 
to even imagine, the self-esteem and sense of empowerment one can, and 
should realize as just rewards for their determination must still remain 
inconsequential in the quest of the ultimate.

Empowerment with the Ultimate Self-Esteem is nonsensical! Some may refer 
to a sixth sense, and that may be helpful. Indeed, all the senses can be 
helpful in attaining our goal here, as long as we consider them tools 
which are no longer useful once a given project is completed. Also, as 
with most tools, we hold onto them, and sometimes sharpen them so they 
will be ready when needed again, and we shall see in a moment, how to 
recognize that time.

Everyone retains within the mind the Ultimate Self-Esteem, so we need 
not go looking for it. Looking for it in all the wrong places is, 
in fact, the wild goose chase our egos send us on ad infinitum, 
until we catch a glimpse that makes it clear to us that we had it 
all along! All our lives most of us bury it deeper and deeper under 
individual goals; if we are lucky, we finally awaken to the fact 
that achieving a lifetime of individual goals still leaves us 
unsatisfied. Most financially successful people will say they 
did it for their family, but that is not enough. It must be for 
the entire universal family in order to avoid inner conflict. 
This is not to say that individual goals must be sacrificed 
if one is to gain true self-esteem, but they must be given 
a lower priority with no thought of sacrifice involved. If 
one gains genuine inner peace, does that not preclude wants 
of any other kind?

True self-esteem, therefore, refers to the Universal Self 
we all share. Total relinquishment of the individual goal 
is not required to experience the blissful "rejoining" with 
our universal, collective Self. Rather, it may serve as 
another tool to keep handy. How do we recognize that our 
tools may be temporarily needed again? Any time we are not 
feeling totally peaceful. Excluding anyone renders true 
Self-esteem impossible. Ego uses self-esteem, but once 
we've tasted the real thing, we recognize it as a shabby 
substitute for Self-esteem.

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