Dear S1,

I’m just starting on a stack of mail that’s got to be six inches high, but you are on my mind because you had said something about reading “The Course in Miracles” and getting into that.

Normally, I wouldn’t say anything about anyone else’s work, anyone else’s channeling, but in this one instance, I have seen people get fairly fanatical about the Course in Miracles, unwisely so, unfortunately. The lady that was full of eminent good sense, the mother of one of our old time groups in Louisville, Judy Dunn, was transcribing our messages for probably five or six years and all of the sudden we didn’t hear from her any more.

It turns out she had left her husband, cold, not even divorced him or separated, just took off and decided she was going to live in a Course in Miracles place where you just take all the money you have and give it to them and then you live meditating and happy and joyful all the time, doing nothing whatsoever with life except attempting to become a flame of light that lasts forever, in this body, without dying.

Steve, there is one basic miracle that the Course in Miracles seems to lose the emphasis on in my own personal opinion. I know you want to hear it so I’ll share it with you. That one little point is that the miracle is us, we are the miracle. What happens after we realize we are Christ and Christ is in us, is another kind of miracle. It’s the miracle of man in God addressing the problems of humankind to God and addressing humankind with the purpose of encouraging an awareness of the presence of the one infinite Creator.

If one gazes at the human machine, one sees the basic miracle. Self consciousness, laughter, tears, vulnerability, gallantry and doom. We are all doomed and enlightened by our own mortality. To take away the mortality from this incarnation would be to make a mockery of everything that I personally feel is true about what we are doing here. We are not here to look for miracles—we are the miracle. We are here, just as Jesus was here, just as everyone who has ever lived and died was here, whether or not he rose again, to be, to experience, to generate thoughts and questions, to use our discrimination and to give the Creator the best poem of a lifetime that we can.

To look for eternal life and the lack of hassles and trouble and difficulty is, in my opinion, to ignore the power and the beauty of living under the death sentence and the life sentence. It makes us waste our incarnations if we take it that seriously. We are here to hone our skills in discrimination, open our hearts and give of ourselves in whatever way seems a true service to other people. We have to start with the fact that we came into this world and will leave this world empty handed.

If people go harrying about after miracles outside of themselves, looking for the Great Proof, it is to my mind, a kind of impertinence to the Creator. Why would we want to change the conditions of this lifetime. We don’t understand the condition that we have. While we are living and dying we are supposed, I think, to pay attention. That’s the only miracle required besides simple dumb persistence—continuing to pay attention, in other words.

I realize that heaven on earth might seem like a joke sometimes. Certainly I have had very challenging catalyst in this lifetime. It doesn’t seem as if a miracle would be so bad right now, getting my arms back, getting my healthy young body back. But I don’t think that’s why we’re here. Why waste a perfectly good and difficult incarnation on learning skills that we won’t be using until after we leave this lifetime? It has been said by Christ, I think (or perhaps Paul—I don’t want to look it up) that faith without works is dead.

We’re not here just to have faith, we’re also here to be players in the greatest game of all and that is a game called living and dying. My own personal motto through this fairly threatening last few months is that if I live, I live in Christ, and if I die, I die in Christ, but whether I live or die, I am in Christ and Christ is in me. That has pulled me through, time and time again.

We’re here to learn faith. Not the sloppy, sentimental, fairly hysterical faith of somebody who has to get all juiced up on Sunday morning and jump around and praise the Lord, but the persistent, daily faith that bends as easily to duty as it does to a faction. We here to learn how to be, and after we learn how to be, whatever we do is informed by that essence.

All that we see on the surface of ourselves is freckles, warts, imperfect flesh. All that we feel on the inside we know to be in some way distortion of oneness. We separate ourselves artificially in this living and dying body so we can not only observe but take part in the great miracle of life and if our faith and our love is not living and moving and sharing whatever we think is a miracle it will be a second-hand, unimportant miracle.

I think that the miracle really exists of looking at the mystery, the contradictions, the paradoxes that we see and feel and saying completely unrealistically and quixotically in the face of everything that assaults our senses, “No, that is illusion, that is imperfect expression because we have to use words and bodies that do not perceive beyond a few senses. Nevertheless, I do not challenge the mystery, I celebrate it.”

People that want to challenge the mystery and say they’ve got it all solved may have it solved for themselves but it doesn’t translate to anyone else. It’s sort like Paul’s discussion of speaking in tongues (glossolalia). He said he could speak in tongues but nobody else would understand him so he chose not to because he wanted to use this lifetime to exhort, encourage and teach fellow Christians that I have talked to about Christ and that have begun living completely different lives although the events may be the same because of a new attitude, a new dimension, a new way of looking at who we are and where we’re going.

Notice that those aren’t answers. There’s one answer—that is love—call it charity, faith, hope, it doesn’t matter. The words can only build a little corral around the concept of oneness and the essence of all of us being one sweet wine of existence. Okay, sometimes sour, but that’s just the way it seems. There is always a positive option and if you start daydreaming about perfection and living forever instead of paying attention to your incarnation it will go by so fast you can just snap your fingers and you’re out of the body and into the spirit with a spent incarnation on your hands and no real chewiness or texture to your existence to show that you’ve been here and cared, suffered and loved and die in Christ.

Or whatever the phrase is that you would prefer. Most people in the American culture …

[Interruption here by kitties.]

You probably want to know what went on that I call challenging. I tend to dismiss most events as being relatively unchallenging as compared to the challenge of paying attention, just paying attention, to what’s going on around us and inside us and checking reality against our previous assumptions and seeing how well that flies. It’s a process that doesn’t end if we have the patience to continue it.

Don’t settle for answers, stick with the questions. The answers will be much less informative than the questions. This is just my opinion, for what it’s worth. The opinion of somebody else that has a modicum of intelligence and a will to observe.

Last time I talked to you over the telephone, I think I was in trouble already. I was unable to eat for a long time this summer—ended up in the hospital in May. I spent a week in the hospital and they managed to diagnose irritable bowel syndrome, possible colitis. A month later I went in again and they were messing around with thoughts about what was wrong with me but they came up with about three different things, all of them in the G.I. tract, but I still wasn’t in good shape, even after I came back home.

In the first part of December I went in and stayed for about eight days and they diagnosed ulcers completely throughout the G.I. tract from the medicine that I’ve had to take for the last 25 years or so, which I knew would be coming at some point, I just didn’t know when. Almost nobody escapes the cortisone, anti-inflammatory irritation after that long a time of taking the stuff no matter how careful you are to take it with food or milk, and I was no exception.

[Carla relates the story of the five-year-old wrenching her arm and subsequent problems—see Letter to R, January 12, 1992.]

I was down and silent and still from the 11th to the 26th—it was a real marathon and I barely made it. I was then having profound spasms of exhaustion and couldn’t even keep water on my stomach in the end, but I made it. It is an extremely ironic story and I won’t bore you with it but I’ll just tell you that after I finally got the two doctors together that were giving me conflicting instructions—I was trying to pay attention to both doctors who both knew things that I couldn’t possibly know and I was having all kinds of symptoms I couldn’t recognize and couldn’t evaluate so I followed the last instructions that I got.

Well, after the first couple of days after I was home neither doctor wanted to talk to me any more. Basically I think they were afraid that would happen—what did in the end happen—and that was that I ended up in the hospital over the Christmas holidays. I just about died over that misunderstanding and inability to get in touch and so forth. If it weren’t so hard to break in a new set of doctor I might look because I really did need them and they really weren’t there for me.

But it’s mainly the practice of medicine in the United States that’s to blame—not either doctor—both men are excellent. They’re good at communication, very skilled at what they do, and never had the occasion before to have the slightest complaint so I’m putting this behind me and moving on without changing doctors, but it was a very unfortunate thing that neither doctor wanted to get involved in what was going on with me and thought I was crying “Wolf,” even when I was in the hospital after Christmas for a couple of days.

They wanted to know why I hadn’t gotten well, like, “What’s wrong with you?” But as I said, when doctors are stressed out over the holidays like anybody else, one is liable to get the poorest hand dealt possible because doctors want to be off for a couple of days to see their families.

The diagnosis this time is that the root nerves (not the spinal nerve which is still intact, thank God) but the root nerves going into both arms had been damaged and that puts me in a position that I haven’t been in before. More careful, not taking phone calls, this is the most talking I’ve done since the 10th, today. I feel better today and I felt better yesterday and I’m giving myself a letter a day and I think perhaps by the end of January I can get the existing six inches of mail distributed partly to Jim, if it’s possible that he can answer some of the letters for me.

Those old soldiers that have been corresponding with me on spiritual matters for years, or even if they’re new, the quality of their intelligences is fascinating and I would not want to let those correspondences lapse, but I can do all of that except talking to Barbara Brodsky on tape and Barbara is just not going to be able to hear from me. She got a real good dose of me during the last two and one-half to three years because we kept daily journals and sent them to each other.

I am forever thankful to Barbara (who channels Aaron—I told you about that project, I’m sure) as long as I live because she introduced me to the very useful situation of having a journal even if it’s just on tape and I do intend to do that if and when I have time. Of course, I save the letters I feel have a quality of information in them from me that would perhaps pertain not to just one person but might be of interest or assistance to others.

Basically I’m making work for Jim, assuming that my life will be considerably shorter than his because I know that he wants to see this ministry to the end and I may not be able to be with him in person throughout the whole of his incarnation. But I’m sure that Don and I will be in parking orbit around this planet until Jim is finished with his. I don’t think time is the same outside of this lifetime but of course I haven’t been there lately so that’s an undiscovered country too. I look forward to finding out about what happens after we die to see if my original death experience when I was 13 was the rule or the exception for me.

I’ve had to trim my sails a good bit, no choir, no local Bach Society, probably no church even for a while. I’ve given up the leadership of the prayer group because I can neither make the phone calls or write the prayer notes that the minister requires so I’m pretty much cleaned out of jobs to do besides live, observe, feel, express myself and do the correspondence.

I have no resistance to continuing the Sunday night meditations, but probably because of the fact that I’ve been a broken field runner all year and you never knew when I was going to hit a Sunday when I was at home and could channel, people that usually come fairly often just don’t come any more unless they’ve got an unexpected time free. And then if they come they might not even want channeling, they might just want to find out how I’m doing and so forth.

I’ve channeled a few times since the spring but not a lot and I don’t know where that’s going because I don’t know where my body is taking me. If I stop channeling, Jim’s only got about probably between 45 and 50 channelings per year since 1975. I started in 1974 but the quality was poor for awhile until I got enough practice to recognize and make up some rules.

There are not a lot of books out about how to do what I do and so I learned enough so that I did write a little book about it for other channels so they wouldn’t have to go through the same thing.

A book, by the way, that is most appreciated by other channels—it did fill a need and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on it and people that read it that are practicing channels and really want to be high quality people and not just sensational or that bottom line religion stuff—“God is love and love is God, and we are one and one is we,” and other intransitive transits of sentences that make no horse sense at all. It’s like saying “The answer is 100,” but you don’t know what the principle was by which you arrived at the answer.

That’s fine for absolute faith, but we don’t just need faith. As human beings we need an ethic. And I’m interested in transferring faith into ethics. Because it doesn’t matter at that point if someone believes or doesn’t believe in this or that dogma, the only thing a person has to believe is that it is worthwhile to be an ethical person and it is in that context that I feel that faith is the final frontier (in the words of Star Trek).

I substituted the word “faith” for “space” because faith is my final frontier. I hope to live and die in that situation. Don’t ask me about the future—I wouldn’t know.

I hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas and that all the things that you hope for most will be pleasantly present in your future and I will continue writing as I get your letters. But you won’t find me jumping at the bait to write this or that prisoner about something that Jim can handle equally well, but would really prefer that I do. At this point I’ve got to trim my sails.

But that’s okay too, I’m just enjoying being alive—it doesn’t really matter what the conditions are. Life is precious and I welcome the pain—it’s just another thing that you encounter in living. You don’t feel the pain when you’re dead, you’re numb. I’m really glad to be coming back from that strange feeling of having a body that had slid out from under me that I couldn’t feel except from the inside—weird.

So take care, my brother and I know you will and I know you’ll take care of business and provisions for the family and so forth, but I hope you’ll have a good time too. What’s mathematics for, after all, if not to deliver you into sanity. It still leaves you with mystery, though, doesn’t it. Like the number “9,” that no matter how many multiples you add up always come out if you add up the product to 9—it’s the number that isn’t there.

It’s sort of how we are in this life, I think. It appears that we’re there but then we add everything up and all we get is nine. I think that faith is the nine of our lives and there is no zero, unless it perhaps be the earthiness of our bodies, but that’s really not possible because if you add zero and one, you’re going to lose the zero, and I think zero is a highly overrated concept—I much prefer oneness. That’s the same thing, a unit, but it’s a unit that doesn’t just express infinity in a circle but takes that expression and moves through an apparent life with it and causes things to appear to happen and lessons to appear to be learned that we didn’t know before.

It’s an adventure, I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Gotta go, you’re my second letter so my time is now up. Take care, and I’ll hear from you when I do, meanwhile, you’re safe in my heart as is S2 and the kids.

Cheerio, love and light,