On Sunday February 7, 2021 Rev. Tony Ponticello gave a talk at the Community Miracles Center Sunday Gathering. A lightly edited transcription of the talk is presented here.
Hello everybody. Thank you again for joining us. I'm so happy that all of you are here. I'm always truly happy to do the Sunday Gathering where all the Mighty Companions are joined together because we strengthen these ideas, these wonderful healing, transformational ideas that are found in A Course in Miracles. I really benefit so much from strengthening them. I believe that you all do too, and that's why you are here. Remember the Course says, "Thoughts increase by being given away. The more who believe in them, the stronger they become." (OrEd.Tx.5.8) That's what we do here every Sunday. We give away these ideas and we reinforce them in our minds. And yeah, it's great that you're here, and it's great that we have this place that we can do that. Community Miracles Center has always functioned in that way, to give us that place where we can share these ideas – to give these ideas away and make them stronger.
The title of my talk today is "There's No One There But Us." There is no one there, but us. This is a very consistent message in A Course in Miracles. There's really nobody out there. There is nobody out there in the world, and it is only us. That kept coming to me over and over again this week, and then I got the guidance that that's what I wanted to share. One quotation, which is part of what was read today states, "... you will begin to learn and understand why you have believed that when you met someone else, you had thought that he was someone else. And every holy encounter in which you enter fully will teach you this is not so." (OrEd.Tx.8.22)
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We meet somebody else and we think they are somebody else, but A Course in Miracles is very clear. That is not the truth. They are not somebody else. They are us. They're maybe a different aspect of us – but they are us. They have the same soul light within them. They maybe have different filters, different color filters over that light. But the more we connect with them, the more we allow that holy encounter to take place, the more that we see that they are us and that the entire world is just this separation hallucination. We have broken ourselves up into different pieces, and the broken pieces are simply not the truth. Another quote says, "What if you recognized this world is an hallucination? What if you really understood you made it up?" (OrEd.Tx.20.73) So those are two questions that the Course is asking us. People probably treat them as rhetorical questions and don't actually answer them. But I thought I'd treat them today as literal questions and answer them.
What if we really recognize the world is an hallucination? What if we really recognize that we made it up? What if we actually recognized that everybody we think we are meeting is truly just us? Well, I think if we did that, if we truly understood that, and if we actually came from that perspective, we would stride the world majestically as miracle workers. I think that's what we would do. And I think that's what A Course in Miracles is calling us to do. I think that's what our brother Jesus did. He did it because he realized that – he realized that the world was an hallucination. He realized that he made it up. He realized that everybody he encountered was just an aspect of himself. He traveled the world a miracle worker, healing people, bringing peace to people, bringing connection to people, bringing love to people. One of the great Workbook lessons, one of the later lessons, say, "I came for the salvation of the world." (OrEd.WkBk.319) I believe that when we fully rest in this truth – that we're making the world up all the time, it's an hallucination in our mind, everybody in it is just awesome and that there is no one here but us – then we know we're all connected. We know that we came for the salvation of the world, which is indeed our own salvation. A Course in Miracles says, "God created nothing beside you and nothing beside you exists." (OrEd.Tx.9.60) So there isn't anything else, but us. These early Workbook lessons that we're doing right now, they're wonderful. I didn't use to like the early Workbook lessons, but I've really grown to love them over the years.
I really appreciate every year when we go through these early Workbook lessons, lessons like, "God is in everything I see because God is in my mind."(OrEd.WkBk.56) God is in this stapler (Rev. Tony holds up his desk stapler), because God is in my mind. So the stapler really isn't any different than anything else in the world. It's no less alive than anything else in the world. The stapler shares the purpose of the universe, just like everything else in the world. We eventually learn to look at the world that way – that there aren't these separations and that God is in everything that we see. A Course in Miracles says, "The universe consists of nothing but the Son of God who calls upon his Father."(OrEd.WkBk.183) This stapler is God calling to us. (Rev. Tony put's the stapler to his ear as if it was a phone.) "Hello, God!"(Rev. Tony holds out the stapler like he's handing a phone to the audience.) "It's for you!"
So everything is alive. There isn't this distinction of life and non-life. Everything shares the life, the joy, the peace, the purpose, and the blessedness of creation. The Course tells us, "Yet we emphasized yesterday that a table shares the purpose of the universe. And what shares the purpose of the universe shares the purpose of its Creator." (OrEd.Tx.29.2) I think these early Workbook lessons help us to ground ourselves in that truth. We ground ourselves in that by knowing that we are the cause of everything that we see in the world. Every sickness manifesting in our bodies or even in the bodies of others – we are the cause of all that. When Jesus told the Scribes and the Pharisees "Physician heal thyself" (Luke 4:23 KJV) he was just giving them instruction. He was telling them, "You may think you're healing others, but you're actually just healing yourself. ‘Physician heal thyself.'" Even if it's the appearance of healing another – remember the truth because there's no one there but us. You know, sometimes I have to have a real heart to heart talk with myself, and you know, sometimes I really have to have a heart to heart talk with someone else. And that talk with someone else is a talk to myself.
Sometimes I have to challenge myself. Sometimes I have to say, "Hey, what the hell are you doing? You really want to do that?" And sometimes I have to challenge somebody else, because they're me. I have to say, "Hey, what the hell are you doing? You really want to do that?" I have to be willing to be in a flow of guidance so that I know when to do that. I have to know when to have a heart to heart with myself. I have to know when to have a heart to heart with somebody else. I have to know when to challenge myself. I have to know when the Holy Spirit and Jesus want me to challenge somebody else. And the someone else might not like it.
However, if I'm being led by Holy Spirit, then I can rest in the peace of knowing that it's what I am being asked to do. If I'm striding the world like a miracle worker, I'm going to be asked to do things that might be a little uncomfortable at times. Sometimes when we challenge ourselves, it's uncomfortable. Sometimes when we challenge other people, it's uncomfortable. But if we're doing it from guidance, if we're doing it from the Holy Spirit's Voice, then it's part of the healing of everything that is going on, and it's part of the healing that we are here to achieve.
A Course in Miracles says, "It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake." (OrEd.Tx.21.26) That's a very provocative and an interesting statement. Let me repeat it again, and please listen carefully, "It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake." (OrEd.Tx.21.26) I puzzled over this for years. How was that the same mistake? Okay, I need to recognize that I am making the world I see, but how is that not recognizing that I have been made by the Divine? There's another passage though, in the Manual for Teachers, that gives us a little more clarity about this. It says, "Place cause and effect in their true sequence in one respect, and the learning will generalize and transform the world." (OrEd.Mn.5.7)
So the reason why is, if we get cause and effect straightened up with the world – we're causing the world – we will get cause and effect straightened up with every cause and effect confusion. In other words, we will understand that we were caused by God and that we are an effect of God. Do we want to feel like God's holy child? Do we want to feel that we are the child of the Divine and have all the same qualities that the Divine has? Then we have to understand that we're causing the world because it's a cause and effect confusion. We're never going to know ourselves as an effect of God until we realize that the world is an effect of our own minds. Let me repeat that because it is so important and missed by so many. We're never going to realize that we are an effect and caused by God until we realize that the world is an effect and caused by us.
We have to just let go of all our little attacks on the world, and all our separation ideas about the world. People do it all the time, and we talk about it here a lot. That's why it's great to connect here, every Sunday at the Sunday Gathering, to strengthen these ideas. We allow all kinds of little attacks to go uncorrected thinking that they don't matter, but they do matter. They are ways that we perpetuate the separation. Do we laugh at derogatory, hateful, political cartoons because they put the candidates that we don't like in absurd and degrading positions? Well, challenge yourself about that, because it's attack. Those people that you think it's "fun," or maybe even "appropriate" to attack, they're you! They have the same light inside them that you do. They may have different filters over that light, but you have to love them because you want to love yourself, and you have to bless them, because you want to bless yourself.
You have to turn your perceptions over to the Holy Spirit and ask for guidance on how to re-perceive this, but as the Course says there's all these "scraps of meanness" that we tolerate within ourselves. We have to truly be vigilant and ask for Holy Spirit's help to look for the little "scraps of meanness" that we have. "You retain thousands of little scraps of meanness which prevent the Holy One from entering." (OrEd.Tx.4.52) I've seen that a lot in the political arena, and I have them myself. Sometimes I have to have a heart to heart with myself, and sometimes I have to have heart to hearts with others, including maybe all of you here. Sometimes I have to challenge myself, and sometimes I have to challenge others, like maybe you here.
If you are a person who sometimes puts out derogatory, challenging, hateful, political cartoons and reinforces them, think about it. Do you really want to do that? Do you really want to increase separation like that? I don't think you do. I know I don't want to. I certainly don't want to anymore. I may have done it in my past. I don't want to do it anymore. I want to give healing. I want to give love. I want to give acceptance. I want to find something nice to say about everyone and bless them. A Course in Miracles says, "Dream softly of your sinless brother."(OrEd.Tx.27.75) It doesn't say, dream harshly about him. The Course says, "You understand that you are healed when you give healing. You accept forgiveness as accomplished in yourself when you forgive. You recognize your brother as yourself and thus do you perceive that you are whole." (OrEd.WkBk.159.2) So how will we behave when we really get that everybody else is us and that we're manifesting the world? We will just be giving healing all the time.
We'll be recognizing our brother as ourselves, because we are going to know that we are whole. That's what we do every day with our wonderful Healing Team. We extend the healing to those who ask for it without any judgment about it, just with the joy of knowing that we're fulfilling our Spirit guided function to be healers. We're striding the world with the majesty of miracle healers who know their power, who know that there is nobody here but themselves and who know that they are manifesting the world. When you come to the Sunday Gathering and you listen to me, or you listen to Rev. Peter, or you listen to Rev. Vincent or some of the other people who may talk, do you come here and listen to us thinking that we're us, separate from you? When you come here and listen to us, open up to the fact that we're you. You're not listening to somebody else.
You are listening to yourself. You're not perceiving me as I am. You're perceiving me as you are. As for me, I am doing the same thing. I'm perceiving everyone as I am. When I can hold that absolute oneness perspective, I am walking the world as a miracle healer. The Course has that great quote about holy encounters, and every Course student knows this quote, so I saved it to the end. "When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him, you will see yourself. As you treat him, you will treat yourself. As you think of him, you will think of yourself. Never forget this." (OrEd.Tx.8.19) What I want to focus in on today, is not the main teaching here, which is what I've been talking about for the whole talk and something that I believe we all know at least intellectually. I want to focus on that little phrase at the end, those three words, "Never forget this."(OrEd.Tx.8.19) Never forget it.
There is a tendency to forget it. There's a tendency to start treating people like they're somebody else. We're to remember, and the A Course in Miracles drives this home. Like I said, it's a very consistent teaching in the Course. They isn't anybody else. They are us. So, show up as "Mighty Companions" to yourself and "Mighty Companions" to everybody that you meet, because you're strengthening and blessing yourself. You're strengthening your own awareness of your own Divinity. We are Divine. We are holy. We are eternal. We are infinite. We are complete and whole, and we are glorious, glorious manifestations of a Divine Creator. Never forget this. And come here every Sunday to be reminded of it, and to give and share these thoughts, because that will increase them, and I need them just as much as you do. Okay, that's my talk for today. Amen. ♥
Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC's 20th minister. He currently serves as the CMC's Executive Minister and is President of CMC's Board of Directors. He was ordained by the CMC on Oct. 17, 1997.
c/o Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the April 2021 (Vol. 35 No. 2) 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.