On Sunday, June 15, 2014, Rev. Dusa Althea Rammessirsingh addressed the congregation at the Community Miracles Center in San Francisco. It was Father's Day. What follows is a lightly edited transcription of that lecture.
Wow! Good morning everyone. (The congregation responds,"Good morning.")
What a joyful morning. Let us remember to say "Happy Father's Day," because none of us would be here without our fathers. Well, it's true. I have a little bit to say about my father. He was a good person. He always told us to be good girls. I could never figure out what that actually meant. But I guess we are good girls. We were not absolutely the perfect girls he wanted us to be, but we were good. Actually I tend to think about how he departed this universe when he was my same age – 74. I have a little bit of anxiety around that this year. I'm looking forward to turning 75, believe it or not, to get out of this year.
Love more, fear less. There's a guy who wrote a book called, Wired for Love. His name is Stan Tatkin. He tells us that we are wired for love. If you don't believe what A Course In Miracles says, believe it, because that's what we all are. I want to give you a little story about an experience I had recently. About two weeks ago I had a two day training. It was to be a volunteer at a clinic called the Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic. The clinic is here in our community to help and offer underserved women with cancer, complementary alternative medicine treatments. There were twenty-two of us in training, and it was really an exciting kind of seminar. I never expected it to be like that. I thought, "Oh it's going to be boring." But it wasn't. I figured, "I know what to do."
There were interpreters there, drivers, people who were body workers, acupuncturists, herbalists, and many who were just there to support. There were people assigned to help clients with legal advice. They had snacks. Sometimes they even gave food away. It was a space for all these women to hang out and a lot of them did. I was really impressed with all of the people who worked there. The clinic has been open about twenty-two years, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, because I've been in the community that long. But it was never convenient for me to do volunteer work for them because they were in the East Bay. I think about six or seven years ago they opened up a clinic here in San Francisco. I lived on the other side of town then so that didn't work. But finally they moved into the Mission, right in my neighborhood. I said to myself, "This is a gift; I better get out there." So I did.
Not only was I impressed with the training but also with the people. We got to hear the stories of clients. What's interesting is that I've heard stories like this before, all having to do with doctor/patient relations where there is very little compassion or genuine concern in the way they communicate, especially with the diagnosis. Women have been told, "Go home and get your things in order." Why is this happening in the medical field? Why aren't they saying things to uplift their sense of well-being, and making that important, versus scooting people out of their offices and saying, "Go." Somehow women heard about Charlotte Maxwell Community Clinic and in that process they got so much love. Some of them said they were able to get the herbs they could not afford. You know,many people, when they get ill, they lose everything. So we can understand the importance of Obamacare for everyone. So the stories were just really impressive. Many of them who were told to go home – they're still alive and they're getting massages! Many different kinds of services are made available. In fact whatever people are wanting, as long as someone wants to volunteer for it, it can be offered at the clinic. Of course we also have to write notes, and read charts about the client so we know how to treat them. It was all so wonderful.
I remember we went around the room and got to hear stories from the volunteers. Everyone was so committed and enthusiastic about being there. I thought, "Wow." I mean, "Wow!" I just felt like I was in a room full of love and excitement. Everybody was ready to do whatever they needed to do.
This clinic really provides a very loving environment. I feel this is what the Course teaches us – to connect with each other, to be in a loving environment, to experience the happiness. Not only that we give to each other, but that we receive from each other. I really felt, "Wow." You know the Course's goal is your happiness. It also makes me realize that when giving, I am really receiving. When I start to work in this clinic, I will think that I'm giving my time. I'll probably get a lot more than I expect. I know I will get a lot from this. And as my title states, love more, and fear less. That's what it's about in our lives. If we love more, we get it.
The other day Rev. Judy Junghans sent us an audio link to listen to, with Marianne Williamson. I listened to it and I again thought, "Wow." Marianne was in politics and ran to be a Congress Woman. In the audio, Marianne really seems to emphasize how we as a community, even though we're spiritual, need to be in politics. Rev. Tony is one who always, when he gets up here, talks about politics, in fact, he has made me a little political. Now, I'm always watching, and listening to Rachel Maddow. (Rachel Maddow hosts a popular MSNBC evening politics show.) If I miss her I feel like, "What happened?" She is so funny, and she always makes you look at the things that happen in politics. She shows you how politicians straight forwardly tell you they would do something, and then the next week it's like they never even said it. A lot of politicians, their minds are mixed up – crazy. I don't know. I have no idea why this is, but it's definitely what happens.
This morning as I was rehearsing through this speech, I happened to go next door to my neighbor, Nina. Nina frequently listens to my sermons which helps me get ready to speak, otherwise I would be up here blank saying, "... auhhhh." Anyway, Nina was telling me that she knew Marianne Williamson when she was in her twenties, and that Marianne was a singer. She used to sing in the Village in New York City. Yes. I said, "Well, I didn't know that." My friend Nina said, "Well, maybe you could Google it." Nina told me she had met Marianne because in the house that Nina lived in there was a piano and Marianne came to take lessons with one of Nina's roommates who lived there. That's how Nina knew her, and Nina went to New York City and saw Marianne sing in the Village. So, there's a little bit of information you might not know.
Marianne's talk that I listened to was really good on spirituality and politics and how we really need to get out there, to stop feeling that we're spiritual beings who have no use for the awful, dirty things that go on in politics. But hey, it's all in our minds. We're all brothers. We're all connected to each other, and we cannot heal alone. Unless we help our politicians to heal, we're not going to heal. As I listened to Marianne speak I thought, "This is really good." Marianne did point out something that I thought was very important. She says when she did not make a good decision about whatever it was she had to make a decision about, it would always be the mornings when she did not listen to her guidance. Now she meditates every day. She now realizes that whenever something goes wrong, it's because she's not listening to guidance. So it made me realize the importance of every morning, getting up and at least taking a few minutes to meditate. It doesn't matter if it's not a long time. When you do your lesson, listen for your guidance because that is really what leads you. Marianne said she wished she had. Also, she felt that we've got to get the big money out of politics. On the whole, she felt connected. It was fun. It was inspiring, and it was exciting. It made me want to go out there and join the politicians. Make it fun and exciting. I thought that was really great. She talked about Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. She said that it was true that both of them had really gotten out there and tried to bring the whole world into seeing what the poor needs, what we all need. She spoke about the ability to share what we have. I thought that was really great.
Getting back to loving more and fearing less, I think fear is one of the bigger problems in life. A Course In Miracles says, "It seems to be the body that we feel limits our freedom, makes us suffer, and at last puts out our life. Yet bodies are but symbols of a concrete form of fear. Fear without symbols calls for no response, for symbols can stand for the meaningless. Love needs no symbols, being true." (OrEd.WkBk.161.5) It seems that our bodies are what is fear, not really our spirit. I can say I have a lot of fears. I was once afraid to speak, and still get nervous now and again. But you know, I have to do it. I have to get over that fear. I have a bundle of fear when I see the clutter in my house. And I do try to de-clutter, but it doesn't always happen the way I want it to. I de-clutter and before I know it the clutter is back again. Oh well. But, it is working.
What do we really fear? What is it that you really think we fear? I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) the other day, and they claim there's one thing we all fear. Can anyone guess what that is? (A women in the congregation, "Death?") Death. Oh she's right on. That's what we fear the most – death. Even though we know our bodies are all going to die, we don't get our Wills in order. I haven't. We don't get our things in order. Do you have your affairs in order? See? Don't you believe your body is going to die?
This body is going to go. We don't seem to learn about this early enough in life, or do we? How many of you, when you were young, ever went to a funeral? (Some hands go up.) That's interesting. I did. Still, I was so little, and for me it was a good time because they brought all the food and everybody was talking, laughing, and telling jokes about the person who died.
In my Catholic school the nuns would have you walk around the dead body, look at it, and pray and pray and pray. But still there was no teaching about what was happening and how to think about death. No, there wasn't anything. During the NPR program it was brought to my attention that there was a young doctor who had gotten cancer and he said it was a gift. He said that he learned so much because what it did for him was make him present, more present. That's what we're all trying to do. We don't need an illness, do we, to make us present? We have A Course in Miracles to help show us and we need to really listen to what it says and follow its direction.
Another thing that was said during the NPR program – it's a little funny. They announced that you can buy your own coffin kit, just in case .... Are any of you ready? (laughter) The show was great! They had people on the show who said that they were really happy they bought the kit, and the assembled coffin now sits in their garage. They put it together and they leave instructions about their funerals so that the people left behind don't have to guess what to do. Isn't that wonderful? This is how we learn. Maybe I don't have room for a coffin kit, but god, this is a good idea.
We know that there are a lot of cultures that do deal with death better than ours does. The Mexicans, they have the Day of the Dead. Then there's the Tibetan Book of the Dead. That is a really good and interesting book to help you. It's very interesting because it takes you through a lot of rituals and it keeps telling you not to be afraid. It has all these gory, scary images in it, but it's a wonderful book to read.
In reality it doesn't matter what religion you are, whether you believe in God or you don't believe in God, what race you are. All of our bodies are going to die. I have this quote from A Course in Miracles about death. "Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem. Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end? We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it still more carefully. It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die. This is regarded as ‘the way of nature,' not to be raised to question but to be accepted as the ‘natural' law of life. The cyclical, the changing and unsure, the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path—all this is taken as the Will of God. And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this." (OrEd.Mn.27.1) Very interesting quote. So I thought again, "Wow." Yes, it's about aging and losing vitality which I'm now experiencing. Sometimes I do have very fearful moments. However in Lesson 209 the Course tells us, "I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God (or Spirit) created me." (OrEd.WkBk.209)
I feel that somewhere deep within us, we all know that we are all One, that we're all connected. That takes us back into our energetic body. We all have had these opportunities. We probably have had many moments, each one of us, when we have truly experienced the energetic body and know that we are pure energy, the pure energy of love.
There's something else that I read about recently that I thought was very interesting. It was about a study done on rats and their brains. As the rats are dying, they are being given a heart attack, they found that their brains at that time went into like a super highway. You couldn't exactly explain it, because they haven't done enough testing, but their brains became more and more active. Their brains were just racing. All these lights went off and they didn't know even why. The researchers felt this might give us a little information about why it is people have similar near death experiences. What happens to them; where do they go? What happens? There's something else happening in the brain.
Most people, when they have near death experiences, say they experience light. I found this really beautiful quote from A Course in Miracles that emphasizes this, "Beyond the body, beyond the sun and stars, past everything you see and yet somehow familiar, is an arc of golden light that stretches as you look into a great and shining circle. And all the circle fills with light before your eyes. The edges of the circle disappear, and what is in it is no longer contained at all. The light expands and covers everything, extending to infinity, forever shining and with no break or limit anywhere. Within it everything is joined in perfect continuity. Nor is it possible to imagine that anything could be outside, for there is nowhere that this light is not." (OrEd.Tx.21.10) All of us have this light within us. I'm sure many of us have experienced the feeling that we're just that light and energy, especially when we are feeling happy. So I think we can be very grateful that we are studying A Course in Miracles.
We can be very grateful to the Community Miracles Center, for Rev. Larry and Rev. Tony who are definitely the "fathers" of this place. for whom we're celebrating Father's Day today, at the Community Miracles Center.
So love more and fear less. Thank you. (applause) ♥
Rev. Dusa Althea Rammessirsingh is the Vice President of the CMC's Board of Directors and a CMC Associate Minister. She was the 21st minister ordained by the CMC on her birthday, October 17, 1997.
c/o Community Miracles Center
2269 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
This article appeared in the June 2014 (Vol. 28 No. 4) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.