Tag Archives: ACIM

Change in Perception

Last October I began having a serious pain in my right shoulder and assumed that somehow I had injured it while working on the fixer-upper house of ours. I did not do anything at the time because my annual physical had already been scheduled for the end of October and I would discuss it with my doctor at that time. We did indeed discuss it and he ordered x-rays of my shoulder to see if they would show anything. A few days after the x-rays were done I received a letter telling me that my shoulder showed mild osteoarthritic changes.

I continued working on the house not believing that the shoulder pain I suffered was arthritic in nature and continued to think that I had somehow injured myself. The pain intensity was such that I had to numb it a bit with regular doses of ibuprofen and after a while I began to question my quality of life and whether or not continuing on with the pain on a day to day basis was worth it. Shortly after these negative thoughts began I contracted a bad cold and was forced to slow down my level of effort.

After the cold passed I turned my attention to some small woodworking projects, namely two display shelves for the master bathroom, and attempted to wean myself off of the ibuprofen with no success. I had a follow up with my doctor scheduled for the first week of March because he was concerned about an abnormally low level of vitamin D and an abnormally high level of cholesterol. During this visit we discussed the pain in my shoulder and he suggested I have a shot of cortisone to relieve the arthritis pain. I told him I did not believe the pain was arthritic and I showed him exactly where it originated. He in turn palpitated the area and declared it was coming from an inflamed occipital tendon and that I was suffering from tendonitis.

I left the medical clinic with exercises and in higher spirits than I had been in for several months because I knew that what I had would heal and the pain would eventually be gone. In fact, it seemed to me that my pain was no longer as severe as it had been just because of my new prognosis.

In A Course in Miracles we define a miracle as a change in perception and on the 3rd of this month I had a change in perception. When I feared the pain I endured was a lifetime affair it seemed at times to be wholly unbearable. When I learned the pain I endured would be a transient affair it then seemed tolerable and surmountable.

We have all had setbacks and it is often hard to realize that while we are caught within the unrest a small change in perception is indeed a true miracle.

E-Ticket Ride


At our A Course in Miracles meeting yesterday we were reading Chapters 8 and 9 in the Manual for Teachers but were having a lot of asides and discussions about why we are here in this plane, on this Earth, in this life, and in this dream. We talked about our ongoing challenges, or opportunities, as a previous mentor of mine liked to impress upon his grasshoppers. Now some of my fellow travelers like to point out how we must have chosen to be here in the first place, which got me to thinking that as furious and intense as this roller coaster journey is that: “Life is the ultimate E-Ticket Ride.”

Now, not all of my fellow travelers knew that the E-Ticket Rides were the premium rides at Disneyland in Anaheim but a quick explanation from one of my dear friends clarified the metaphor and we were back to the discussion on whether or not we chose to have this experience. It’s that ancient musing that always begs the question: If I had known then what I know now – would I have chosen life?

There are a few personages from history who have garnered my utmost respect and one of those giants in my esteem was William Blake who addressed the question with elegance in The Book of Thel. Now Thel had the opportunity to leave the Vales of Har and see first hand what awaited her should she choose to be born. What she saw disturbed her greatly and when she came to her grave she asked herself a series of questions, shrieked, and fled back into the Vales of Har.

One of my dear friends remarked that she, like many of us, have earned far too many scars on this pilgrimage, which got me to thinking about the Boogeyman from Tim Burtons The Nightmare before Christmas. What can I say? It was a very visual discussion. Anyway, the Boogeyman was held together by a thread that when pulled released the consortium inside that without there was no substance, or even existence, to the feared Boogeyman. In some ways I think we can view our scars as the badges of honor that we have survived the challenges hurled at us and actually can serve to be the bindings that hold us intact – given our perception.

I believe that, had I been in Thel’s singular position of perceiving life before she had to endure it, I would still have chosen life as long as I saw that along with the pain there was also the happiness. As it was pointed out in the ACIM Manual for Teachers we perceive because of contrasts, which begs the question: Could I know joy without knowing misery? Not that I know the answer but the philosopher in me believes that it is worth pondering.

When I was a kid the E-Ticket was the most treasured in the booklet. Indeed, to the extent that junk drawers all over Southern California held numerous unused A, B, C, and D-Tickets without an unused E-Ticket in sight and I wonder if the junk drawers in the Vales of Har look the same.

Life, the ultimate E-Ticket Ride, replete with its Tunnels of Love and its Chambers of Horrors. Yes, I have my jagged scars and my wretched nightmares but I also have Love and all is well.