On May 24, 2020, Rev. Kelly Hallock addressed those attending the Community Miracles Center's Sunday Gathering. It was held via the Zoom Video Conferencing due to the Shelter-in-Place order that had been implemented in San Francisco as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Below is a lightly edited transcription of her talk.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everybody! I hope that whatever plans you have, they are great. Let's just chat for a second. We have a cemetery on the island where I live. The island is only eight square miles, but we still have a cemetery. A couple of us are going tomorrow to honor those who are there. Then we are going to do a little barbecue.
If you see me drinking during my talk, I have my New York City memorial coffee mug. It honors the firefighters and policemen in New York. I got it from the M&Ms store when I was there last year after we had our Boston Conference. Lady Liberty is on there too so that's the coffee mug that I'm using today in honor of Memorial Day.
I want to honor those who have served and gave their lives in service. I used to be in law enforcement. I recognize that Memorial Day is focused on the military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty, but I realize there are a lot of people in this world, and in our country, who have really served doing what they thought would make this a better place. I want to express that I am grateful for all those folks too.
I'm not going to talk too much about the coronavirus because honestly, I don't know about you, but I know we are living it. I know we are surrounded by it, and I'm kind of tired of hearing about it right now. I don't know how you are feeling. It reminds me of 9/11. I was a high school teacher at the time. I remember getting ready for school and my carpool buddy called me. I answered, and he just said, "Have you seen the news?" I said "No." He then tells me that we are at war, and he will be ten minutes late picking me up before just hanging up the phone.
I was thinking, "What do you mean we are at war?!" I turned on the television in my living room just a few minutes before the first Twin Tower went down and saw it collapse. I remember thinking at the time that it looked like a controlled implosion. I'm not one for conspiracy theories but that was my thought at the time. I've found it interesting how many others have said that too despite the official report. That's for a talk another day though.
I went to school, and we had televisions in our rooms. All the classrooms were wired to have access to cable TV. I felt like I just couldn't listen to the news all day. It would be too overwhelming. So I taught my normal classes with the lesson plans I had prepared. When I got to my fifth and sixth classes, a lot of my students were saying, "Thank goodness you aren't talking about it or making us watch the TV for the entire class period. We cannot handle anymore today."
That's how I feel right now with the coronavirus. I know it's part of our existence right now. I know it's part of our experience right now. I accept that. It is what it is, but I don't want to dwell too much on it either. Sometimes we just have to breathe a little.
Ultimately whether we are having a coronavirus moment or whatever, the Course talks about "…there is no order of difficulty in miracles." (OrEd.Tx.2.16) Whether we are talking about the coronavirus or something I was reading in one of Rev. Peter's talks from a few weeks ago – he said something about a stubbed toe – they are all the same. Sometimes we just have to move on and say, "Am I going to choose ego, or am I going to choose love? Are we going to choose to follow God?"
I took the theme and related quote for today's talk from what was supposed to be the 2020 Los Angeles A Course In Miracles Conference. "For forgiveness literally transforms vision and lets you see the real world … The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder and a blade of grass a sign of God's perfection." (OrEd.Tx.17.12) That Conference has now been postponed to 2021 since the hotel closed because of the coronavirus. I was the one who came up with that theme for the 2020 Conference. Yay, me!
I decided to go with that for today, and then I looked at some of the surrounding paragraphs next to that quotation. When I reread them, one of the biggest themes that I saw, and that I focus on personally, is forgiveness. I think that is actually the theme of the Course ultimately, forgiving the world. We are still going to use the same theme for the 2021 Conference. To honor that we would have been at the Conference in L.A. this Memorial Day weekend, excluding the coronavirus situation, this is what we would have been hearing all weekend.
The first part starts off, "The real world is attained simply by the complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness .… From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily into his home." (OrEd.Tx.17.11-12) I'll start by saying I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this, but what is the real world? The Course talks about the real world frequently. I see all the blurbs for the presenters' talks at the Conferences ahead of time so we can put those together for the program. Most of the presenters were going to talk about what I'm mostly going to talk about, which is forgiveness.
I do think though it's important for us to talk about what is the real world. I hear different people use it in different ways. A Course in Miracles says the real world is attained by, "... forgiveness of the old, the world you see without forgiveness." (OrEd.Tx.17.11) It doesn't say the real world comes in and abolishes the old. It just says it's basically a change of perception. When we look at the world through the eyes of holiness, then we are seeing the real world.
Then A Course in Miracles says, "... the Son of God is lifted easily into his home." (OrEd.Tx.17.12) which means it is not Heaven, but it's really "dang" close to it. Think of it, I kind of hate to use the world purgatory, but it's not a bad thing when we talk about the real world. I almost think of it in those kind of terms. It's not quite the world we see now, but it's not quite Heaven either. It's kind of an intermediary where we are starting to see things through God's eyes. We are seeing things through Christ's vision, and we are really, really close to getting lifted to Heaven – just not quite there yet. That is up to God. God does the last step so we don't have to worry about that. That is what I think the Course is talking about when it talks about the real world.
What are we holding onto? I found it interesting that it says, "... complete forgiveness of the old, the world you see." (OrEd.Tx.17.11) I looked up "complete." Here, A Course in Miracles doesn't just say forgiveness. It qualifies it, and I think that is important. It says, "... complete forgiveness of the old." (OrEd.Tx.17.11) "Complete" meaning absolute. "Complete" meaning total. "Complete" meaning thorough, perfect, unqualified. All of those are words for "complete." That's kind of radical when you think about it – complete forgiveness. Are you forgiving completely?
I like to compare it at times to the idea of being pregnant. Are you pregnant a little? No. You are either pregnant or you are not. A Course in Miracles is talking about forgiveness in the same way. You are either forgiving or you are not. I went through and thought who are all the people and things we don't like to forgive. Obviously, there are the cliches. There is Hitler. There is Russia. There is Saddam Hussein. There are all these cliche ones we don't like. There is Kim Jong-un. I think that's his name. The guy in Korea whose name I always mispronounce. We always have these political figures that we don't like.
Sometimes, it's people or things that are not like us: people who are different races, people who are different nationalities, people who are different religions, people who are different genders, or have different sexual orientations. If they are not like us, sometimes we think they are wrong or they are not as spiritual as we are. We tend to judge those people.
We tend to gravitate a lot of the times to people who are like us, but ironically we also judge them too, those who are close to us. Not every psychotherapist says this, and I'm not going to say Rev. Vincent is going to say this1, but some say, "Look to your childhood. How did your parents screw you up?" That is part of our thinking.
Let's be honest. I don't know if you have seen the commercial recently that says, "We can't protect you from becoming your parents."2 We all end up practically like little Mini-Me's of our parents. We get upset about that. We get upset at our intimate partners. They don't understand us. They don't validate us. We get upset at colleagues. They are not doing the job we think they should. They are not treating us properly.
We get upset at ourselves too. How often have you said: "I'm too fat," or "I'm too skinny," or "I'm not pretty enough," or "I'm not smart enough"? Mine is that I don't clean my kitchen as well as I think I should. That is such an incidental, crazy thing. When I see my counter top dirty, I think, "Why haven't I cleaned the counter top? What's wrong with me?" We go into all of these realms of unforgiveness.
A Course In Miracles is saying that we can't do that. Your forgiveness is either complete or you are not going to see the real world. You have to forgive every single thing, every single one. If you don't let go of those things, you are not going to move into that awakening, that new vision. Anything and everything that brings unease can be a catalyst to our awakening, to seeing the real world if we are willing to look at it and forgive.
What is forgiveness? "Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation." (OrEd.Tx.3.56) A prayer for forgiveness is essentially, "... a request that we may be able to recognize something we already have." (OrEd.Tx.3.56) We ultimately don't need forgiveness. We don't need to be forgiven. God says that you didn't do anything wrong. How can God forgive you when there was no crime? We are being called to do the same for all of our sisters and our brothers, to recognize that they didn't do anything wrong, that they are purely wholly sons of God. "To forgive is too overlook." (OrEd.Tx.9.9)
To forgive is not to say, "I know you are a horrible person, but I am going to forgive you. I'm so spiritual that I am going to forgive you." That's not what A Course In Miracles means by "overlook." It means "Look, then, beyond error, and don't let perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds." (OrEd.Tx.9.9) I talk about this a lot with my ACIM-1 class. We will perceive what we want to perceive. We see what we want to see. If you want to see your brother as holy and innocent, you will see him as holy and innocent.
A good portion of my work life has been in male dominated fields. When I worked as a Federal agent, it was me and eight guys in the office. I remember distinctly I was told (paraphrasing) "There are eight guys here and expect that we are going to be sexist pigs." I was told to put up with it and that if I complained to management, it would ruin my career. That's how those jobs often are. I worked in those fields.
I have also worked in other positions where I was mostly working with men. I sometimes would think to myself that I was not chosen for a promotion because I was a woman. If I got a promotion, I would think that they just wanted to appear politically correct and so gave me the promotion. In the back of my mind, I would always think my being a woman was a factor in whatever happened. I finally got to the point where I could say, "I don't know." When I stopped asking "Is it because I am a woman?" I was able to release a lot of anger and upset, because I just recognized that I didn't know.
How do you get to that point? How do you get to the point of not looking at that stuff and being in judgement, being angry, or hurt by it? You don't forgive things all by yourself. A Course In Miracles talks about us giving forgiveness, but it doesn't talk about us being the generators of our forgiveness. The Course says that "Extension of forgiveness is the Holy Spirit's function. Leave this to Him." (OrEd.Tx.22.59)
Workbook Lesson 46 says, "God is the Love in which I forgive …" my ex-husband. "God is the love in which I forgive …" myself. "God is the love in which I forgive …" my boss who didn't give me the promotion.
There are quotes from A Course In Miracles that say that forgiveness is not something that we create. You don't muscle through it and create forgiveness. The big thing is the acknowledgement and the willingness to forgive allowing Holy Spirit/God to do the forgiveness. "It is not my own strength through which I forgive. It is through the strength of God in me." (OrEd.WkBk.60.4)
It's like we are a funnel. God has the forgiveness, recognizing that nothing has ever happened wrong. The question is will we allow that to come into our vision? Will we allow that to flow through us?
We don't have to be passive though. A Course In Miracles says that "The Great Transformer of perception will undertake with you the careful searching of the mind." (OrEd.Tx.17.11) God being the source of forgiveness does not let us off the hook. God is still inviting our participation. The Holy Spirit is going to work with us to carefully examine our minds.
One of my favorite teachers is Byron Katie. She challenges us to ask, "Are my memories true?" You are angry at someone because of something they did? Do you know if it is true, that that is what they actually did? Is your memory correct? Was your perception at the time correct? Is your belief in their motivations correct? How do you know? You don't know.
I went to a Vipassana meditation retreat once. I will probably never do it again. I recommend to everyone to do it once. It is a really interesting and intense experience. During an eleven day Vipassana retreat, ten days are spent in complete silence. You are not to talk to anyone. You are not to whisper to anyone. You are not to nod or sign to anyone. You are not to write and pass notes. You are not allowed to listen to a radio. You are not supposed to be writing in your own personal journal. It is literally you for ten days with your self. It is interesting though, you find many people came with you inside your brain. Someone said to me that they fought with their dad for the entire ten days. Their dad was hundreds of miles away, but he was in their mind the whole time.
In Vipassana, a lot of the meditation is a body scan. You are sitting five or six times a day for two hours straight in meditation. You are not supposed to move. In the meditation, you go from the top of your head to the tip of your toes and back up again, over and over. How is everything feeling? After about twenty minutes, one of your legs will cramp up or your back will start hurting or …. You just really want to move. You have to keep going. I'm going to ignore that my leg hurts. I'm going to go from my leg, to my stomach, to my head, and back to my toes.
When you stop giving power and focus to the discomfort, the discomfort starts to mellow and dissolve on its own. If you start thinking about your leg hurting and you are judging that experience, the pain will intensify. Vipassana teaches that. There is this idea that you have to look at. What is my judgement about physical discomfort? What is my discomfort about sitting still for two hours at a time? What is my discomfort about being alone with my own thoughts and not speaking to anyone for ten days? It's amazing. The Holy Spirit was able to use that for me to release so many of my judgments. That's what A Course In Miracles is calling us to. The Holy Spirit is going to work with us. The Holy Spirit is the source of forgiveness. The Holy Spirit is with us to allow that forgiveness to flow through us.
Vipassana meditation was really transformational for me, and it was great for ten days. It brought some healing, but it wasn't my path to follow for the long-term. It's like using medicine, it brings some healing but we have to acknowledge the experience we are in. Sometimes we say, "I need to completely forgive everything, so I am going to ignore everybody's experience." However, if someone is hurting, we still need to acknowledge it, and we allow Holy Spirit to change our perception. We are open to allowing Holy Spirit to work through us simultaneously to bring healing and to change how we see it.
It is like Fix-a-Flat. I don't know if you have used Fix-a-Flat before. I love it. It has got me out of so many problems. When your tire is flat, you hook it on to your tire. It puts slime inside your tire and inflates your tire and seals it. Forgiveness is like replacing that tire. It is going to the store and getting it completely replaced: a whole new perception, a whole new tire. In the meantime, we use some of these tools such as: looking at our judgements, releasing our anger, allowing ourselves to question our memories. Those tools are like using a Fix-a-Flat. They are moving us toward the final healing. We act in part, like Fix-a-Flat, and then Holy Spirit uses us where we are.
It is important that we forgive. How important is it that we forgive? "Salvation of the world depends on you who can forgive." (OrEd.Tx.186.14) The whole salvation of the world depends on you. You can forgive. There is that potential. What happens when we forgive? A Course In Miracles says, "For forgiveness literally transforms vision and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos and removing all illusions which had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past. The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder and a blade of grass a sign of God's perfection." (OrEd.Tx.17.12)
We see the real world and it doesn't say that the smallest leaf disappears. We now see the beauty and the perfection of everything around us. A Course In Miracles says, "From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily into his home." (OrEd.Tx.17.12) Holy Spirit and God move us to that point. The Course says, "And there he knows that he has always rested there in peace." (OrEd.Tx.17.12) I am grateful that that is what God does. That is why vision of the real world comes through forgiveness.
That's my talk for today. Thank you very much! ♥
1. Rev. Vincent Fuqua, CMC's 51st minister, who was at the Sunday Gathering just graduated with his doctorate degree in clinical psychology.
2. Geico Insurance
Rev. Kelly Hallock is CMC's 89th minister. She was ordained by the CMC on Sep. 13, 2015.
c/o Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the July 2020 (Vol. 35 No. 5) 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.