On Sunday, November 7, 2021 Rev. Tony Ponticello gave a talk for the Community Miracles Center's Sunday Gathering. A lightly edited transcription of the talk is presented here.
Well, once again, hello, everybody. Welcome to November. So nice to have you here. The title of my talk today is "Sit in Your Unlimited Power." A Course in Miracles talks about the power that we have as holy children of God and it talks about it in a very profound way. What it tells us is that we have all the power in the universe. Our power is unlimited. There is no power outside of us. There is no power that we do not have access to, and we do not have to wait to have access to it. We have access to it right now. We have all power.
I find that A Course in Miracles students tend to read these words and kind of glaze over — not really take them in. So, I'm going to invite you to just take this power in for the 20 minutes or so of my talk today. Just sit in your unlimited power for these 20, 25 minutes. Feel it, and claim it. The Course says, "You who perceive yourself as weak and frail, with futile hopes and devastated dreams, born but to die, to weep, and suffer pain, hear this: all power is given you in earth and Heaven. There is nothing that you cannot do."(OrEd.WkBk.191.11)
Some people think we've got to wait to get to Heaven to feel this power. But this is very clear, all power is given us here on earth, of course in Heaven too, but here "on earth as it is in Heaven" as the Lord's prayer says. It's not a symbolic metaphor. It's a practical, clear teaching. We need to let go of the conversation that says, "Well, not now," or "This is just a symbolic metaphor," or "I'm not there yet." Just set all of those thoughts aside. Put them up on the proverbial shelf as they say. There's a good metaphor. That's a real metaphor — "put them on the shelf." Put all those objections on the shelf, and sit in your unlimited power.
When the A Course in Miracles says you can heal all things, it means all things. It means world hunger. We're healing it. War, we're healing it. Sickness, we're healing it. The separation between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, we're healing that too. We're going to sit in that power, and heal all of those things right now because we can, we're guided to, and it's happening now.
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A Course in Miracles says, "Be not content with future happiness. It has no meaning, and it is not your just reward. For you have cause for freedom now."(OrEd.Tx.26.76) This idea, that it's going to be some future time when we're going to feel this power, is just insanity. It doesn't make any sense, because there is no future. Come on, that's intuitively obvious. It's always just the present moment. The future is forever this nebulous thing that is a moving target. We're never there. It is never the future. It is always just now, and we "... have cause for freedom now." We have to free ourselves from all the limiting thoughts and world beliefs.
I was confronted this week, again, about the beliefs on aging. We have to confront those and let those go. We've got this belief that as this number increases, this number that the world calls your age, that you have declining mental acuity, and you have declining physical ability. Let that idea go. That idea is insane. Yesterday, I did 200 sit-ups while holding 16 pounds of weight at my head, and that's really pretty good. I'm very happy about that.
I remember during the 2016 Las Vegas conference I was up on stage with Rev. Roxie and I did 30 pushups. I can't quite do 30 pushups anymore. I'm working back up to it. I did 27 the other day, almost 30, perfect, guy pushups with a straight back all the way down to the floor and all the way back up. In Las Vegas, I was in my underwear in front of 400 people. The reason why I did those gets a little lost, but the whole talk was about challenging our image of the body, the limitations we think the body has, just to let go of them and to demonstrate something else to ourselves. I'm not limited by this number that is my age. I'm not limited by this year that people keep asking me to provide — when I was born. You get asked that by a lot of government agencies. You frequently have to write the year of your birth down.There is no limitation inherent in those number, unless we embrace those ideas and decide that they are true. Sit in your unlimited power right now with me, and let go of all those things. Just let go. Those things aren't true.
Last week I gave the talk, and I talked about the transcendentalists. I talked a little bit about Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph Waldo Emerson said something that I really loved, and I want to repeat it again. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "To laugh often and much: to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to leave the world a better place, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." So I had an experience this week that reminded me of this quotation. It reminded me of the phrase that said, "To win the respect of intelligent people."
This week, I had to write an article, which was basically an obituary for Judy Skutch-Whitson who was the president of the Foundation for Inner Peace and a key figure in the A Course in Miracles community. I'm sure most of you know who she is. She had made her transition. I had received the guidance that this was going to be a challenging thing. I was the one person who could truly write something comprehensive, because I've been connected to this movement for a very long time. I knew Judy Skutch and had met her on numerous occasions. I've been right at the heart of all the controversies, right at the heart of all the achievements. I knew I had written a very good obituary for Dr. Ken Wapnick when he passed in December of 2013, and that I was going to write a wonderful obituary, an article, about Judy Skutch-Whitson, but it would be a little bit of a challenge.
For two weeks after Judy passed, when I thought about the obituary article, I just kept offering it up to the Holy Spirit. I wasn't worried about it, but I would have thoughts like, "Wow, this is going to be a challenging thing," and then I would offer them up to the Holy Spirit. Finally, last Sunday night, it was the time to do it, and I finally sat down in front of the keyboard. It took three hours, and I did it. I knew when I did it, that it was really, good. It was a good piece of writing. I read it over a number of times. I thought, "Wow! Holy Spirit, through me, did a truly good job with this."
Later in the week we sent it out in our Ezine Miracles Weekly. A couple of days later I received a wonderful email message from A Course in Miracles scholar, Robert Perry, who lavishly praised me on this article I wrote about Judy Skutch-Whitson. When he did — Robert Perry is a highly respected Course scholar and people generally think of him as a very intelligent person — I remembered that passage I had talked about last week from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "To win the respect of intelligent people." I thought, "Wow!" I focused in on Emerson last week, and here is the praise and respect coming from somebody who is well thought of and highly regarded for his intelligence and scholarship in the ACIM community. I just took the praise in, and I loved it. I loved it. I've talked about this a little bit, and some people might think I'm bragging, or that my ego is involved here, but I don't think it is.
We had a minister years ago — Rev. Tom Marcoux (CMC Minister #22) — who said something once, "If you are a circus performer, after you do something wonderful, you stand and put your arms up and you say, ‘Ta-Dah,' and you let everybody applaud you, and that's a good thing." I think the characteristic of being able to claim and sit (or perhaps stand) in your power is to sometimes say, "Ta-Dah!" To say it to yourself and to maybe say it to other people as well. In our striving to be so politically correct all the time, people are really afraid to claim their good achievments anymore. However, it's actually a good thing, every once in a while, to just claim and embrace your accomplishments — to say, "Ta-Dah!"
Robert Perry (I'm not going to read everything he wrote me, it was very nice), said, "Your article was very nicely done, very well done." He said other things, and it was truly sweet to get that. Then I remembered that I had just been focusing on, "To win the respect of intelligent people." It was a manifestation of that. See, what we focus on manifests. I had been turning the important obituary article over for two weeks. Holy Spirit and I, together, wrote a really wonderful article about Judy Skutch-Whitson. I believe it was respectful. I believe it honored her, but I also believe the article was very truthful and honest about some of the controversial things that surrounded her life. And one thing this A Course in Miracles community needs right now is truthfulness and honesty, because those qualities were not great in the community for a long time. If you want to look at the article, it's on the Community Miracles Center's website now. Go ahead and look at it. I'm very proud of it.
I already read this earlier but let's hear it again. A Course in Miracles says, "You who perceive yourself as weak and frail, with futile hopes and devastated dreams, born but to die, to weep and suffer pain, hear this: All power is given you in earth and Heaven. There is nothing that you cannot do."(OrEd.WkBk.191.11) That bears repeating. No matter what we've got going on in our life ... I mean: our dreams don't seem to be manifesting, we are sad, we have pain, we have physical problems, and that's the way it is. But just remember, "All power is given you in earth and Heaven," and sit in that power multiple times every day.
Don't despair because of your limitations. I say that a lot. It is your function to escape from those limitations, not to be without them. "Do not despair, then, because of limitations. It is your function to escape from them, but not to be without them." (OrEd.Mn.26.4) Nobody here is to be without limitations, but overcoming these limitations become ways that we prove our power to ourselves. When we escape from those limitations, when I built myself back up to 200 sit-ups holding 16 pounds at my head, when I escaped from the limitation about that, it was a great thing. It was a great witness that I could have for myself.
There's a lot of things going on in the world right now that can be disturbing. Obviously, the pandemic is very disturbing. For me, this controversy between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated is really disturbing. The mandates that come down that limit people who are choosing not to be vaccinated, they're very disturbing to me. I turn it all over to the Holy Spirit, just like I turned over writing the Judy Skutch-Whitson article. I then get wonderful A Course in Miracles thoughts to remember, thoughts like, "All things work together for good. There are no exceptions, except in the ego's judgment."(OrEd.Tx.4.69) It's all working together for good. I may not be able to see it clearly from my point of view, from right where I am, but it's all working together for good.
A Course in Miracles also tells us, "A happy outcome to all things is sure. — God's promises make no exceptions. And He guarantees that only joy can be the final outcome found for everything." (OrEd.WkBk.292.1) It's all going to end with joy; it's all going to end happy. We need to just be able to sit in the power of those statements, in the midst of issues and challenges that we have, and know that we're here to heal those things and then to offer that healing to our sisters, brothers, and others everywhere. So it's a great thing that we're doing, by sitting with those challenges while we sit in the midst of our unlimjited power. We have the freedom to do that now, and we can be free from those challenges now in our minds. We can be sure that freedom is going to manifest within the challenges themselves.
A Course in Miracles has an interesting passage where it says, "Not one seeming difficulty will melt away before you reach it."(OrEd.Tx.20.36) I had some insights about that, because it's my own experience. The Course is talking about how once we've accepted the Holy Spirit's plan as the one thing that we would do, there'll be nothing else that the Holy Spirit will not arrange for us. Without our effort, He's going to go before us and he's going to clear the stones out of the path, "He will go before you making straight your path and leaving in your way no stones to trip on .... Not one seeming difficulty will melt away before you reach it." (OrEd.Tx.20.36)
However, what I have seen is that sometimes you just really have to take the next step. Sometimes, the difficulty ̬ the "stone" — still appears to be there. But if you are confident that you're following your guidance and that you're doing what Holy Spirit wants you to do — you're not going to trip on that stone. That stone is going to have an absolutely miraculous way of dissolving and getting moved just as your foot is going down on it. You can't always wait for it to appear clear before you take the step forward. If you're truly sitting in your unlimited power, you feel confident that the Holy Spirit is working through you and wants you to step forward. Then you step forward in faith even if that stone still appears to be there, because that seeming difficulty is going to melt away before you reach it — maybe just as you're putting your foot down. That is just the way I have seen it work time, after time, after time. Because I've seen it work so many times that way, I don't have the anxiety about certain things that I once had, and I don't need things to appear cleared up before I step forward. I can simply step forward in faith.
You know that meme "freedom now" that I quoted earlier appears several times in A Course in Miracles, and here is another time. It says, "Should I wait in chains which have been severed for release, when God is offering me freedom now?" (OrEd.WkBk.279.1) This is that idea that we think we're in chains. Maybe we still see chains around our wrists or our ankles metaphorically, but the truth is those chains don't attach to anything. They're just chains that our mind has put there. Those chains have actually been severed. They've already been cut. Jesus is saying by his life example, "These chains are cut." They're not there anymore. We have to understand that, and not think that those seeming chains hold us back or prevent us from stepping forward. We can step forward because those chains have been cut, and we have freedom now. But of course, we have to be able to sit in our unlimited power to do that. When we do, we can heal everything.
There was a wonderful documentary made in 2017. I was not aware of it until recently. I just saw it with Rev. Dusa Althea a few weeks ago. The name of the documentary is "Heal," just "Heal," "H-E-A-L." It's very well made, and it has got a lot of notable people in it. Marianne Williamson is in it. Anita Moorjani is in it. Deepak Chopra, Michael Beckwith, Joe Dispenza are in it. It's an hour and 46 minutes long. It's very thorough, and it's a very good overview of spiritual healing and how some people have used it very successfully. It's inspirational.
However, I had a problem with it. What I saw was the overriding idea that spirituality, and spiritual healing, was a force that we could harness as a complementary force to address the issues of healing, physical healing that we have in our lives. The problem I had with this is that it made all the illnesses quite real. It talked about the strength of spirituality and the power of spirituality to counteract these illnesses, but in that framework, the illnesses were still quite strong.The illnesses were still something that we have to marshal all these energies and these powers in order to confront, and maybe rise above, and that's a big step.
I think A Course in Miracles wants us to take it a step further. It wants us to really sit in our unlimited power. When we sit totally in unlimited power, we realize that all those things, all those problems, all those illnesses are just hallucinations in our mind. They actually have no power. They have no power at all. Spirituality is not a healing force that you use to counteract the destructive force of illness. A Course in Miracles, healing, miracles, spirituality, that's a power that we sit in that tells us that all those other things are just illusions with no power at all, and that we can just love ourselves, and we can love everybody, and we can love everything that's going on in the world. And we can love the vaccine mandates if we have to because they're all part of an illusory world. It actually has no power. And if we sit in our power, and we affirm that all things are working together for good and that a happy outcome for all things are sure, then that is indeed what will happen.
There's another "freedom now" quote from A Course in Miracles that was the third one I found, and it talks about being merciful, being merciful to ourselves, being merciful to the world, and being merciful to our sisters, brothers, and others. It says, "Be merciful today. The Son of God deserves your mercy. It is He who asks that you accept the way to freedom now." The son of God is us. The Son of God is, of course, also all our sisters, brothers, and others. And they are all asking us to accept our freedom now, to sit in our unlimited power now, to understand that this is not only a huge amount of power, it is all power, and there is no other power to counter it. There is no power in the illusions of sickness and death. When we sit in our total, unlimited power, we recognize sickness and death as the hallucinations that they are, and we set up the energy that just allows those things to disappear.
Sit in your unlimited power and be with Christ today, every day, as often as you can. That's my talk for today. Thank you very much. ♥
Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC's 20th minister. He currently (06.06.22) 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 November 2021 (Vol. 35 No. 9) 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.