Renewal and Resurrection

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

I don’t know about you, but I still get a lot of postal mail. In this day and age of everything coming by email, text, or Instagram, my physical mailbox is still full, and I like that.

When my son Jeffrey was young, his school’s primary fundraiser was magazine subscriptions. I’m always up for supporting kids’ causes and helping schools, so I would get and give a lot of subscriptions. As you can imagine, it had a lot to do with my fondness for mail! Since then, time has passed, and there are fewer and fewer magazines in print. I have kept some, but I was finally going to eliminate any of the remaining ones and allow the subscriptions to die out. As you’re probably aware, companies don’t want to lose subscribers, so I was given numerous chances to: “NOT MISS AN ISSUE.” It was “URGENT,” I was running out of “TIME” (on my Time magazine – their pun was intended), and they were offering me an “UNHEARD OF” deal. But my mind was made up. I would not renew.

Well, my last issue of Time arrived, but I couldn’t tell at first that it was the magazine because it was enclosed in a covering with all these incentives to get me to renew NOW! I was resolute in my conviction. I tore off the outer covering of urgent threats to read my last issue of Time only to see the actual cover emblazoned with the words, “The Mindful Revolution…the science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture.” At first, I had to laugh at how this issue was packaged in such a stressful, busy outer mailing jacket, but it was a good lesson. Not only was the article (and other accompanying articles) very good – about being more mindful and present, which is a part of the Course’s focus for our healing – but the metaphor of my experience with the magazine did not escape my attention.

Don’t we sometimes feel like that cover or see others like that cover? Our egos are always shouting out problems and challenges to keep our attention away from the solution. How will I handle my health challenge? What will I do about my finances? Why can’t they respect my boundaries? What’s their problem? What did they really mean by that? Why can’t I remember my workbook lesson? Why am I so judgmental? Etc, etc, etc… Our egos want to be heard and justified. Our important problems don’t want to be discarded or forgotten. Our egos rage and rant, and the more they do, the weaker and more diminished we feel. Our anger, worry, frustration, and judgments don’t make us “invincible” or someone with a “valid opinion.” On the contrary, they are proof that we think we are vulnerable and hopeless to make a change in the face of the world. But just like that outer magazine covering, if we can just move past this distraction, we can find a gem within.

I was so grateful that my resistant attitude was willing to bend and look past that frenetic covering over the magazine to the inside. It reminded me to be more mindful of other situations or people I might be discarding by not being willing to look past their “obnoxious” covers. The Course asks us to question our thinking this way…What am I thinking that God is not thinking, and what am I not thinking that God is thinking?

But changing our minds to think with God does not mean that we have to accept people’s actions or do anything different on the level of form (the world) because this level is just an effect of our thinking. The only way to heal this world and our lives is at the level of cause (thought), not effect (form). Ego distractions are the effect of mistaken thinking (fear and separation), so if we administer a change at the level of thought, which is the level of cause, and choose to think with God (with a heart of love and unity), we are making a transformation that can have a real and lasting effect. When we work at the level of cause in our minds, change will occur because God cannot be stopped – there is nothing else.

In a practical sense, the Course asks us to join our minds with God so that we might stop the questioning, look at the world and the situations we find ourselves in, and see through them to “the love beyond the hate, the constancy in change, the pure in sin, and only Heaven’s blessing on the world.” (W-151.11:3)

Our reality is far beyond the limits of this world, and yet within this world, within every situation we find ourselves, is the opportunity to experience Heaven, our resurrection. No longer a historic event, the resurrection can occur this very moment if we are willing to still our minds and allow truth to be reborn. As we read in the Course…

“Let us be still an instant, and forget all things we ever learned, all thoughts we had, and every preconception that we hold of what things mean and what their purpose is. Let us remember not our own ideas of what the world is for. We do not know. Let every image held of everyone be loosened from our minds and swept away.
Be innocent of judgment, unaware of any thoughts of evil or of good that ever crossed your mind of anyone. Now do you know him not. But you are free to learn of him, and learn of him anew. Now is he born again to you, and you are born again to him, without the past that sentenced him to die, and you with him. Now is he free to live as you are free, because an ancient learning passed away, and left a place for truth to be reborn.” (T-31.I.12-13)

Wow, all that awareness from a magazine subscription! I guess I’d better renew. 🙂

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