The annual conference on A Course in Miracles sponsored by the Miracles Distribution Center in Southern California was an amazing, exciting and life-changing event. This was the first MDC conference I’d attended and I was surprised by some of what I saw and experienced, thrilled at the speakers and recharged by the messaging.
For me, the most meaningful talk was given by the speaker with whom I was least familiar, Jacob Glass, an irreverently hilarious guy with a great message and an even greater attitude. He helped me look closely at my old fear (now no longer present!) of being very public and vocal about my spiritual beliefs. I always thought the fear was money-based; if I switched my public persona from techie extraordinaire to that of spiritual student, teacher and writer, nobody would want to hire me as a technologist any more. Then how would I eat?
It turns out that wasn’t my fear at all. My real fear was of being thought a fool and a charlatan and an idiot by my technology colleagues, friends, fans and clients. Many years ago a gentleman named Joe Firmage had created a huge success in the tech world and then announced he was a believer in extra-terrestrial life, UFOs, alien visits, and assorted such things. Within weeks, he was asked to leave the Board of the company he’d founded and built to substantial success. He was also largely ostracized and ignored by a tech world that had hung on his every word until the day he went public with his unconventional views.
Jacob helped me see that I was really afraid of being excluded from polite public conversation and dismissed as a fruitcake. So it was my ego but in a different manifestation from the physical that was at the root of the problem.
Combining Jacob’s penetrating insight with Tama Kieves’ challenges to follow my passion got me beyond a hurdle I’d been “facing” for a couple of years or more. I am no longer dealing with that block. Now that’s a miracle!
Marianne Williamson, one of my favorite writers on the Course, gave one of her usual brilliant expositions focusing on the theme of the conference which was “The Peace of God.” Marianne suggested that peace can be found in an awareness of our Oneness with All That Is. In her Q&A, she spent most of her time dealing with political issues, partly, I’m sure, because of her very recent re-issue of her 1997 book, Healing the Soul of America; Reclaiming Our Voices as Spiritual Citizens. I found myself in such agreement that I’ve volunteered to spearhead a new online community a la Change.org that will propose and provide infrastructure for a National Day of Atonement. (Watch for the new site at NatiionalDayOfAtonement.org this fall.) She expressed interest in working with me on the project.
My new friend and brother Jon Mundy of Miracles Magazine renown delivered a crisp, clear, upbeat message packed with lots of references to the Course, which is his usual style. He said that when we make our transition from this life to the next, it may well be like waking up and telling others in the Oneness, “I just had the strangest life.” I like that. He also cited one of my new favorite Course quotations: “To Have, Give All to All,” which is the title to Section V-A in Chapter 6 of the Text. During his talk, the idea hit me that the opposite of projection is reception. I am not sure if he said that or if I extrapolated it from somewhere, but the beauty of that truth when understood in ACIM terms is powerful. I’ll be writing more about that in the near future.
Dr. Lee Jampolsky, whom I’ve also come to know personally recently, regaled the audience of some 300 Course followers with a number of stories from his world as a psychotherapist. Lee, who became deaf in early adulthood, focused on an incredible insight he has been teaching for years. He suggests that whenever we’re faced with a decision or a choice or a quandary, we ask, “What can I do right now in my thought?” Brilliantly simple! And his suggested general-purpose response is “Make something beautiful for God.” Powerful and universal.
Tama Kieves, national best-selling author of This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love, was inspiring and polished. I haven’t read her book (but I will now) but my daughter Heather is a big fan and has told me so much about her I felt like we were old friends. Neither of us had any clue that she has been a teacher of the Course for some 20 years but her grasp of the material is impressive.
Beverly Hutchinson McNeff, co-founder and president of MDC and a seasoned actress and speaker, was utterly brilliant as master of ceremonies. She is witty, spontaneous, charming and extremely intelligent. Needless to say her take on the Course is solid, in-depth and often fascinating. I’m going to join her Wednesday evening virtual meetings even though I can almost never be on the call physically.
Finally, the music provided by McNeff’s husband Paul and the husband-wife duo of Michele and Mark Addino-Colchin was perfect pitch and well choreographed.