There is this idea about dreams, that the world is a dream. I've always liked this idea in A Course in Miracles. I was always very comforted by it and was happy to find it when I first encountered it. It's mentioned all throughout the Course. It's certainly mentioned in the reading we heard earlier. "You are the dreamer of the world of dreams. No other cause it has, nor ever will." (OrEd.Tx.27.70)
I think I liked this idea about the world being a dream because I had encountered it before. ... I was very into Tarot cards when I was a young man. ... So I got into Tarot cards and became a Tarot card reader, just casually. I did it a lot while I was in college. What I remember was that when I was reading the cards for somebody, as we were starting the reading, I would tell him or her that some people believe the world is a dream. I'd say something like, "While doing this reading, I want you to think of this world as a dream, some people believe that. If you're having a dream and the Tarot cards came out in a certain way that matched what was going on in the dream, you wouldn't think that was strange because it was all part of the dream. So just think of this world as a dream and when the cards come out in a certain way, they will match certain things in your life. It's not strange at all that this happens. Let's just suspend belief for a while and live in that possibility of the world being a dream." I remember saying something like that at the beginning of every reading I did.
I don't know what Heaven looks like to you but for me it is freedom. On Tuesdays - though I do this every day - I get up, I do a little exercise, I make my tea, and I spend an hour doing the lessons, writing, and reading other spiritual things. I've done this now for many, many, years. It is part of the thing I do. It's really not a strict routine; I can go a day or two without it. I always look at the lesson, and I always am so aware that if we are able to start the day with that mindset, it makes the day so much easier. Even if we veer off, it's more in our awareness, and we can get back on track faster.
One of the things I like to do is go from room to room doing whatever shows up. I just bounce around the house. Sometimes I'm out in the garden and that might lead me downtown to get something. I get a lot done on those days. I like to get a lot done. Getting things done really makes me happy. I like having things organized and clean. I don't think I'm compulsive - I don't do this every day all day. For me, it is a pleasure, so that's what my happiness is. I also enjoy good weather in my garden. It's important for us to know what makes us happy.
Forty years ago, a job application asked, "What is my goal in life?" It was the first time I was ever asked that. I wrote down, "to be happy." There were two women interviewing me. When they looked at that answer, they looked at each other quizzically. Then I thought, yeah, maybe that was a stupid thing to say or maybe a little trite. Now I realize I was wise beyond my years. It was the smartest thing I ever said. My goal is to be happy. I don't know why I veered off that, but I have. I've made the world's idea of what is important, important to me. But I'm willing to get back on track. I'm very willing - very very willing.
Over a decade ago I was involved in a divorce and heated custody battle that led to the illegal abduction of my son Gabriel overseas. The experience challenged every belief of who I thought I was and every value I thought I stood for. It brought up my darkest shadows and most terrifying fears. Challenges, I thought were too big and too complicated for me to handle, became everyday events. How I overcame the obstacles of clearing my name and getting my son back was but a mere fragment of God's bigger picture. The Holy Spirit walking me through the disappointment and despair afterwards, and God's grace in my moments of deepest pain and sorrow, were the true miracles of the experience. This is what I wish to share with you today.
The British press coined it as the "tug-of-love" case and CBS' 48 Hours showcased it as "Somebody's Child" which still reruns on various channels today. Creative story lines and titles aside, it was far less complicated for me. I was just a father who did what he felt was right. Without retelling the entire story, my search took me around the world and afforded me the opportunity to testify before both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. It involved the court systems of five countries, the State and Justice Departments, the FBI, Interpol, and Scotland Yard. My former spouse was ultimately arrested in Scotland, extradited back to the United States, and I was reunited with a son that was taught to fear me in front of an international media circus.
The African Americans in 1963 couldn't order a meal, at the Woolworth's lunch counter. They had separate schools. It was supposed to be separate but equal. It was separate - but it wasn't equal. Okay? They lived, essentially, as second class citizens with very few rights. They couldn't vote as well. It was really bad at that time. What Martin Luther King talked about in his letter was, "How can you ...?" In a very nice, eloquent way he said to the white ministers, "You are telling me that things are going to be okay. They've been telling us for centuries that things are going to be okay. They're not okay; they're not changing." And he said in his letter, "You failed to address the underlying causes of segregation." Of course the underlying cause of segregation is racism, and racism is fear based, right? Racism is based on separation - different color skin. This type of perception gets involved. "Oh, that person is less intelligent than me. That person is less worthy than me, ..." blah, blah, blah. Think about all the things that we do when this kind of perception gets involved.
What Dr. Martin Luther King said was the way you lovingly transform this racism is you have to confront it with direct non-violent demonstration or protest. It's not to be swept under the rug, but that people had to learn how to confront the racism in a loving manner. They had to confront the situation.
In this letter Dr. King also quotes Socrates. Many who know Socrates see him as a Jesus Christ like figure. In the sense of, Socrates was a great teacher, probably an enlightened teacher - Socrates gave us many different allegories that we study. This is what Socrates said, "In order for a student to learn you had to create tension in their minds" - tension in their minds. Dr. Martin Luther King was creating tension in the minds of all the white folk, of everyone, in Birmingham, Alabama, because when one has tension ... when we have tension in our lives, that's when we question what's going on. We question our perception, and that's how we learn. That's how we grow.