Rev. Larry Bedini gave the following talk at the Community Miracles Center on October 17, 1999. Rev. Larry's demirry had the congregation laughing all through this inspiring talk. His spirit and sense of humor have been a blessing for us all. Even through many of his most painful times, he still managed to cook his famous breakfasts for us and kept his spirits high. It is with great pleasure and honor we present this article.
I'll start by saying this may sound like a self-indulgent sermon, but I assure that it is not. My talk this morning is to explain to you that I, too, put into practice A Course In Miracles, applying it to what I've been going through these past five and a half months. I thank God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, and myself for manifesting a book called A Course In Miracles. It has proven to me it works. I have proven to myself it works. I hope to prove to all of you around me it works. Whether it's the Course or some other spiritual practice really doesn't matter. The important thing is to have a spiritual practice, something you believe in, that helps you through the most difficult times of your life.
We all have difficult times. My story isn't going to be any greater than yours. We could have a "can-you-top-this" session, because to each of us our experiences, our traumas, are the most devastating of all. So please understand as I talk about my story, and show you how I've applied the Course and show how it works for me, it's not a "can-you-top-this" situation. My story is simply statements of the facts and how the Course helped me – and is still helping. As you can see by my attitude, I'm not down. Nor am I on a poor me, self-pity, oh what a tragic life, oh what a miserable life, life is hell, why did this happen to me, etc., mode.
Fortunately for me the Course doesn't allow that. I can't get into self-pity mode when I have a philosophy, a principle, a guideline in book form telling me there is no need for self-pity; that I manifest my own experiences, the things that come into my life. We are not here to be punished, to suffer. So if you're suffering, why? If I'm going to sit back and suffer, moan and groan over what's happened to me, why? The Course isn't telling me to do that. The Course is reassuring me I'm a holy child of God. I'm Spirit. I'm free. I'm beautiful. Nothing can harm me. This is all a dream we're having that we call a nightmare sometimes. There isn't a moment in my life when I don't say I love this life, I love this world, I love everything I see. Yes, I have my moments of insanity when I get angry, I get upset, I look at something and I say, "Oh damn it! I wish that weren't there." But I manifested it. So I get annoyed at myself for manifesting something. I'd have that kind of reaction too and then I have to think, "Oops!" and it sends up a red flag immediately in my mind. I've trained my mind to do that. The red flags go up and I say, "Wait a minute, I don't have to think that way." The Course says, if you don't like the world you created, change it. So I can change it. And how do I change it? I change it in my mind. I change my perception of it. I ask Holy Spirit for guidance. Boy, do I ask Holy Spirit for guidance!!
Since coming back from the last Miracle Experience at the end of March, my back had started bothering me. I thought it was because I had brought fifteen boxes of books to the retreat. I thought, "Oh-oh, strained my back. I'm going to pay that price now. Stupid me." (Oops there's a red flag.) Okay, I did it, I manifested it. I was willing to take responsibility for it. But it kept getting worse. People who have been here the past few months know the pain had been so severe I could hardly move around. Finally my dear doctor, my primary doctor whom all of you know, Dr. Ilyas Iliya, (God bless him. If you ever need a wonderful doctor, he's the guy) said, "Well, let's get an x-ray." So I went to an orthopedist, got an x-ray, and was told, "Oh yes, there's a little bit of a slipped disk here, a little protrusion, and a mass that looks like arthritis." He suggested I might consider going to a chiropractor. As it happened, two of my students in my Hayward class are wonderful chiropractors, Dr. Belinda Mobley and Dr. Janine Crifasi. They worked on me with loving hands and did everything they could to help me. Some days it would feel better, other days worse. It kept progressively getting worse. Finally the orthopedist sent me to physical therapy. The physical therapists kneaded, massaged and did whatever they do. Some days it would be good, some days worse. All this time, with all of the pain I kept saying, "Holy Spirit, please help me. Take this pain from me. Please help me to know this pain is not real. Yes, I feel it, but I l know it is not real. It appears to be real, because I do feel it, but please help me Holy Spirit, help me. Jesus, you told me in the Course, 'I ask you, no, I beg you to give me your problems, and you don't hear me.' Well, Jesus, I'm begging you. Take this pain from me. If I must have this pain, allow me to be able to bear it." All of those thoughts kept helping me through it. No matter how severe it got. Even as I was talking to some of you on Sunday mornings, I would be talking to you and thinking at the same time "Holy Spirit, please take this pain from me. Please help me to bear this pain. Please help me Holy Spirit, I beg you." You see, I had to have constant vigilance, constant vigilance, and more constant vigilance. "Holy Spirit, help me to change my thinking about this pain, help me to love this pain, help me to send it love, etc., etc., etc."
Finally, Ilyas said, "Let's get an MRI on you, find out what's going on." In the MRI, of course, I couldn't lie on my back because the pain was so severe. When you go through an MRI, they put you right on your back on a hard surface. I was in such agony, I couldn't lie still. Now, get this. For some reason I manifested a technician who started yelling at me because it disturbed him that I couldn't lie still. "Mr. Bedini, you're going to have to stay still. We have other patients, you know. You can't be taking up this much time."
And I'm saying, "But it hurts. I can't stay this way." Then finally I said, "Damn it, I'm hurting!" So I lost it there. However, it got results. He calmed down.
"Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Bedini. I'm very sorry."
I allowed myself that explosion. Then I remember thinking, "Holy Spirit, please forgive me for the outburst, but you aren't doing too well on your job." I have a wonderful relationship with Holy Spirit and can joke with him – with Jesus as well. I don't see them as outlandishly pious, and stodgy. I can talk to Jesus and say "Hey! Jesus! I'm asking you for help here! Come on!" Why not? Isn't that how you should be able to talk with a best friend? You have to have a sense of humor about all this. And I believe they have a sense of humor. If I thought they didn't, oh brother, I'd be back to my old religion crucifying myself, emotionally whipping myself, as I did when I thought I'd be a priest. I have always remembered one story of a priest (or a saint, I suppose) who licked the sign of the cross on a church floor. I remember looking at that floor one day and thinking "Do I dare? Will that help me? Will that do it?!" Fortunately, I didn't lick. But we go through those torments as youngsters. We think we're meant to suffer.
So, orthopedist, chiropractor, physical therapy, and my dear Dr. Iliya – the result of the MRI is that it is cancer, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, to be exact. Okay, devastating blow. It wasn't bad enough I already have had prostate cancer for seven years. Went through that ordeal, thinking life was over. The prostate cancer, fortunately, has been in check. Nothing has ever had to be done about it. So far, everything is fine. But I thought "Geez, I manifested prostate cancer, now I'm manifesting another kind of cancer? What's going on? I'm worrying about one cancer getting lonely?" And then I'm looking back, reading the Course again, thinking about the Course, thinking I manifested this. "Okay, I manifested this. How did I manifest this?" I know exactly how I did it! I know how I manifested my first cancer! I knew! I knew exactly. It was a wish. It was something I needed to have in order to get some kind of love I was looking for. And I understood that. Then I thought, "Now, how did I manifest this one? What did I do?" And then of course, as I thought about it, I knew exactly what I did. I knew exactly what I thought and what I said to myself that created another cancer.
Anyway, that aside, they said it was cancer and I had to go through a series of tests. And again, as I got the results, I had to say to myself while the doctor was talking, "Holy Spirit, please help me to remember I'm not a body." I'm hearing his words and I'm thinking, "I'm not a body. It's okay. I'm a spirit going through a body experience, having a body experience, and that's what it's about. I'm a spirit manifesting a body-form, a dream that becomes a nightmare for a while, but I'm doing it. Nobody's doing it to me." I can't say, "Why me, oh God? Why not somebody else?" I did it. And I know exactly how and why I did it. And now, the wonderful thing is, (Now that I did it, and accomplished what I set out to do, I can be very proud. After all I succeeded, didn't I? We all want to be successes; I succeeded in having my second cancer.) I have embarked on my next success which is correcting it! So I will do everything in my power to make the correction and cure it. Or, if it is going to stay in my body, it has to be a good neighbor. It cannot misbehave. There's room inside for a lot of things. It's okay. That's what I said when I got my prostate cancer. "I'll work on getting rid of you but if I can't you're gonna have to be a damned good neighbor. Don't create any fusses here." And so far, for seven years, it hasn't (knock on wood). "Are you listening, Holy Spirit, old pal? Keep it that way."
Okay. So. Now come the results of two CT scans. I had to have a CT scan with a needle biopsy. That's a thrill. During a CT scan, you're on your back for 40-45 minutes, and again going through that awful I-can't-lie-here-doing-this. The lab technician at the hospital had a bedside manner not be wished, who kept saying rudely, "You're gonna have to stay still." I mean bedside manner? Oooh – I'm thinking "Holy Spirit, please help me to love this man; help me bless him, you know? Why have I manifested this mean man?" I guess I need to suffer. And I'm praying all the while. I'm not joking, people. I was praying and asking for help, and it helped me get through. I didn't lie there feeling sorry for myself. I could joke with myself. I could see the humor in it. So maybe I'm really crazy. I don't know. But that's what was going on. And then, a doctor came in. I don't know if any of you are familiar with the German silent film called Nosferatu. Are you? Nosferatu is the German silent film version of Dracula And he's bald. And he has long, pointed ears and very monster-looking. And I heard a voice behind me saying "Hello, Mr. Bedini, I'm Dr. 'Xxxxx.'" That's his name, Dr. 'Xxxxx.' And I turned on the table, and looked and thought, "Oh my God. It's Nosferatu! I swear to you, he looked enough like Nosferatu for me to think, "Oh God, I'm in serious trouble." And I was! I was! The nurse had given me a pill, supposedly to relax me. Now the Dr. said, "Okay, when I push down, you breathe in." And I didn't know what he meant. So he put his hand here, on my back and he pushed down, and I breathed in, and all of a sudden I felt the needle go whooom into my body. And I let out a scream. Tony said he heard it in the hall. Then the doctor said, "Uh, Mr. Bedini, you're going to have to try not to scream." And I kept saying "Holy Spirit, please help me, I am not a body, I am not a body. Yes I'm feeling the pain, but this is not real. This is only a dream." And then he said to breathe and down he went again. About twenty minutes later it was over. I had to lie in the hospital for three hours for recovery and then was sent home. About four days later I got the results. The biopsy didn't take. They were going to have to do it again. I said to my doctor, Ilyas, "I don't want that doctor. I'd rather die of the cancer than have that doctor. I will not go through it with that doctor again."
And he said "Okay, we'll get you another physician who's been here longer."
I asked one of the nurses who the first doctor was (when she asked me, "Who did that?") she said, "I've never heard of him. He must be new here. Dr. Iliya said, "We'll get you a doctor who's been here a long time. Dr. 'Yyyyy.'" Anyway, a nice friendly doctor. And he was. A nice doctor who said, "Mr. Bedini we're going to give you an I.V." And so they did. They gave me a twilight, and then he said, "I'm pushing, you breathe." And I let out another scream. The I.V. wasn't working all that well. And with the scream I'm thinking, "Holy Spirit! Please help me!" And I'm going through all that. As much as it hurt, if I hadn't had the spiritual practice of the Course to help me, I'm sure I would have gone through a far more terrible ordeal. Anyway, that was the end of that. It was all over, four or five days later the results came back. Once again, it didn't take. That was all in a week and a half. Now the doctors decide I will have to be operated on because – what happened was, they described the tumor as being like a plum. Think of a plum. The pit is the cancerous tumor, and the mass that's around it is what they can't get through to get to the tumor, to get the tissue for the biopsy. The body, it seems, creates a fibrous mass around a foreign substance, the cancer, to protect itself. However, my dear mass and cancer had wrapped itself around my spine. So I was informed they were going to have to operate to take away as much of the mass and cancer as possible (without getting too close to my spinal cord) because the mass and cancer could create permanent paralysis. Another cheerful thing to think about. And they said, "We're going to operate in about a week. Meanwhile, if you feel any numbness in your legs, go immediately to the emergency room and we will go there instantly and operate because if there's any numbness in your leg and we don't get there fast enough, you will have permanent paralysis." Hello!!!
Well, do you know what it's like walking around thinking "Numb? Any numbness?" (slap slap slap) I'm doing this when I wake up in the middle of the night and I'm going like this, scratching and pinching and feeling and all the while I'm still saying "Jesus help me. Holy Spirit, help me. I am not a body. I am a spirit going through this. A holy child of God having a body experience. It's okay." All right. Finally they do the operation. My neurosurgeon, who has written two novels, which I bought. (Figured I might as well be friendly, right? Make him feel good. It can't hurt, right? So buy his two books, you know? "Hey, Doc. I'm your buddy.") One of the books is called Knife Under Fire – with a picture of blood on it, on the cover. I'm thinking, "Oh God it couldn't happen again." The good thing was that my great Dr. Iliya got these physicians for me who are absolutely incredible. Dr. Baron is my oncologist, a wonderful, loving man – and Dr. Andrews, who is the neurosurgeon, performed the operation. Dr. Andrews just borders on genius, so well-respected. He's considered one of the finest. Anyway, he performs the operation. We go into the operating room. This part of the story is fascinating because a doctor comes over to me, (they've given me the I.V. of course – wheeled me in) and he says, "I'm Dr. so-and-so and I'm going to be asking a few questions blahblahblahblahblah." Okay, fine. Less than 30 seconds, another doctor comes over and says "Hello, I'm the anesthesiologist and I'm going to be giving you your cocktail pretty soon ...." All happy, cheerful, laughing; "Hey you going to go to the picnic over the weekend? Come over for dinner next week?" You know. All friendly stuff. And I'm thinking, "Wow, this is great. I'm manifesting a wonderful atmosphere here. Just what I like, party time. And a woman doctor comes over and says, "I'm Dr. so-and-so and I just wanted to ask you if you have any allergies, blahblahblah." While she's talking I hear a voice in the background saying, "All right Mr. Bedini, you'll get your cocktail soon." "Okay," I said. Within thirty seconds another doctor comes over and says, "Mr. Bedini, I'm Dr. so-and-so and how are you feeling?"
I said, "Well, I'm feeling all right, feeling good, my mood is good. Now, it's nice to meet all you doctors, but when will we have the operation?"
And he said, "It's all over. You came through it with flying colors."
I said, "What? It's all over? How could it be? I haven't done anything. I haven't been anywhere." The only thing I did notice was I was on my side, whereas when I went in, I was on my back.
He said, "Yes, we're very sneaky. We have a drug now (I don't remember what they call it) we give you when you go in that makes you not really care. And then, just before the operation, we give you a drug that makes you forget that you had the operation." Very interesting. You don't remember it. I don't remember a thing. Even to this day, I can't remember anything about it. So that's their new system. A far cry from the old days of my youth.
Okay. Everything's successful. They remove the mass, as much of the mass as they could, and they did get enough cancer tissue for the biopsy. The end result is confirmed, it's lymphoma. My thought was, "Lymphoma means absolute death." I'd always heard if you had lymphoma, you were going to die. There was no cure for it. Well that isn't true at all. My doctor said, "If you're going to get a cancer, get lymphoma, because they have a wonderful cure rate, and a remission rate, so that's kind of the one you want to get." All right, the remission rate for lymphoma is 85%, and the cure rate is 65%. Good odds there. I had to go in for another CT scan, get on my back again, which, at that point was difficult, but not as painful. Pain went away shortly after the operation. From that point on it was just discomfort. Then five days after the operation Dr. Baron informed me he wanted to take a bone marrow biopsy. Here we go again. Only this time I could be on my stomach! So not a problem there. And my oncologist took it, and again they do the I.V. And I said to the nurse "Now, if I start to hurt, I'm a coward, so if I start to hurt will you give me a little more of the drug?"
She said "Yes I will, don't worry about it, but you won't feel it. You'll be all right."
And a few minutes later I said to her, "Well, so far I'm all right, but just in case you will remember to give me the drug?"
She said, "Mr. Bedini, it's all over!"
And again, they had done the same thing. They gave me the I.V. that made me not care, and they gave me the medicine that made me not remember. I actually have no knowledge of going out. In the old days you smelled the ether, you sensed you were going out, you were falling – all that stuff. This time – nothing. This was wonderful. Makes me want to go back and get another one! I mean, it's the in thing to do! Go get that operation – it's great!
So you see? With lymphoma you can have a sense of humor. And all of this, all of the above happened within a three and a half week period. I was never far from my doctor's office in those days.
My chemotherapy began two weeks ago. I am now at the end of my second week. This whole process is interesting. Again the I.V., through which they put all these drugs into you. One is a dark red drug that makes you lose your hair. The nurse said, "In another two weeks you won't have any hair, so don't be surprised." She has a wonderful sense of humor. I like her very much. She said, "You'll lose your hair. You may lose your eyebrows, you may not; you definitely won't lose the nose hairs or the ear hairs. They never go. You'll lose everything else."
I thought, "Oh great! The hairs you want to go don't go. But the ones you don't want to go – go." Anyway, so far I still have most of the eyebrows. The hair was interesting because I would just tug a little bit and out would come dozens.
Tony said, "Larry, I'm going to buy you a wig."
And I said, "No, no, no. I'll get a cap."
And he said, "No I'm going to buy you a wig. Let me do that for you. Let me get you that."
I said, "Okay. Well, I don't know if I'll wear it. Okay."
Went down for two fittings. On Thursday I went like this with my hair and I said to the nurse, "I've still got my hair." She turned toward me with a droll look and said dryly, "Next week!" She was right.
During the chemotherapy process, you go in on the second week for a blood test to check the white blood cells, especially. My report card was good. The white cells, while low, were still safe. Chemotherapy you have every three weeks for six sessions. The second week is the vulnerable week. That's when your white blood cells go way down and you can get anemic or might not be able to fight infection. If you're around anybody who coughs or sneezes, you feel as is you have to run away. The white cells multiply again and come back during the third week.
All this time, again, while I'm telling the story, and there's humor in it and all that, it may sound self-indulgent, but it isn't. I'm telling it to make a point. All the while it was going on, I was constantly vigilant. One of the things, again, that impressed me about the Course is that it says you must be constantly vigilant about the ego's thought system. And I was saying to myself, every time I'd get into the ego's thought system, "The ego is not real." The Course tells us the ego is not real. It does not exist. The ego is just simply our negative thoughts. What we choose to think in the negative form. And so I would tell myself, every time I'd start to feel sorry for myself, "Oh, oh, oh! Come on, that's an ego thought that really doesn't even exist. There is no ego. That's just me feeling sorry for myself. Holy Spirit, I need your help. Help me here." So, constant vigilance to keep my spirits high. Constant vigilance; I never stop. Even as I talk now, my thoughts on the back burner are, "Holy Spirit, please help me to keep the humor, help me to see things in the right perspective." The nurse did caution me that as you take more chemo, your body gets weaker. It may not be able to fight as well – you know, build back up again as quickly. She said, "There may be times coming up when you're going to be dragging and you're just not going to be able to do it. So be prepared for that." And then part of me said, "Okay, that's one experience maybe we won't have to have. I don't have to have that. I don't have to manifest that just because she says that. I manifested a nurse who says that. But I don't have to play into it. I don't have to buy that theory."
So I will have six sessions of chemotherapy with a possible eight. That's as much as they can give you. After the eight, they give you radiation if they have to. If they have to continue after that, then they stop for a period of a few months and start the chemo all over again. But you know what? I may not even have to have the eight. If I can work on this mind and manifest a cure much faster, I may stop it before the eighth. We'll see how that goes. I haven't given up on that one yet. And I thank God for my years of theater, of performing and teaching because I look at this now and I say, "Well okay, this is a great dream-play. Act one, a bit of bad news. Act two, the work. Act three, the cure. Everyone mirs happily ever after."
Back to the hair! Sure enough, by the end of the week, it was gone. I had my wig person just go ahead and shave off the stubble and put the wig on. I thought, "What the hell, get it over with." I'm still working with being a little self-conscious about it. I keep looking into people's eyes when I'm out on the street: "Do you notice that this is a wig? Can you see that this is a wig?" It's amazing though. People don't pay any attention. It's great. I love it. I'm looking at everybody's hair, you know. I'm seeing people with a lot of hair and thinking, "Well, now that could be a wig. It's real, I know, but it could be a wig. You know, I could look like that. That could look like me."
Anyway, hair gone, beard gone, I don't have to shave anymore. It's great. That's the up-side of it. I don't have to shave. Fortunately it's all temporary because once the chemo stops, the hair does come back. And they said, interestingly enough, it comes back sometimes thicker. I'd be grateful for that. Also, if it's straight to begin with, it may come back curly. And if it's curly, it may come back straight. If it's brunette, it may come back with a little red or blond in it. She said it's very interesting what happens with the chemicals. Who knows? I could be a blond after this.
The bone marrow biopsy results were negative. While the cancer has eaten into the bone of the spine, it hasn't gone as far as the marrow and that's a plus.
I didn't know this, but when you have lymphoma, they automatically take an HIV test. I always heard it was against the law for doctors to do that without your consent. So when he told me my results, he said, "Well, you're negative."
I said, "Negative about what?"
He said, "Your HIV."
And I said, "Well how did you do that? I thought you weren't allowed to do that."
He explained, "When you have lymphoma we have to do it because lymphoma is the one cancer that loves HIV. Not that everyone who has HIV gets it, but it does love to be around that illness. Your results were negative, so we don't have to worry about that."
That was that. And again, as I said, through all of this, humor has been very important. I have to be able to laugh at myself. I encourage all of you to remember that when you have your other petty little troubles that we all have, to have a sense of humor about it if you can. Ask for help from Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is there. It isn't just a myth – it isn't just a name in a book. It isn't just some fantasy idea that there is a God or an energy out there. Perhaps we don't know what it is, who it is, what it's all about. But we do know there's something out there. And even if it's just ourselves, we know that there's something that created us, we know that there's something that created this Mind of which we're all a part. And so it's very important we ask for help. I have asked for that help. I still ask for that help. And certainly I appreciate the good wishes and prayers of everyone. All of that is beneficial and necessary, because thoughts are things. Thoughts are powerful. And when we pray for someone, we are sending a powerful message. We are asking Holy Spirit to help that person to be strong and to be able to bear the problems that they're having right now, to go through their trials and tribulations. It's very important for us to have the prayers. I ask for help constantly. I'm constantly vigilant about it.
And I'm grateful to have the Course in my life, rather than having what I had before, which was believing that I was a sinner, believing that I was born with original sin, believing that I had to go through the tortures of the damned before I could possibly get to purgatory or heaven. My particular religious upbringing kept me enslaved for years until finally I realized that this cannot be the God that I know. The Course, fortunately, brought the reality to me of what we are. We are children of God, a God who doesn't want us to suffer. We are holy spirits. Beautiful spirits who are holy, who are blessed, who walk in God's grace, who walk with His protection. We are those incredibly beautiful, gorgeous angels. Yes, there are angels. I know there are angels. I've met some of you. Every time you do a beautiful act you show your angel self. It's interesting. Even if you don't think you're an angel, you are. Because at moments, when you do something beautiful for someone, that's the angel part of you coming out. I've been very fortunate in coming across a lot of angels in this period. Out of the blue, I got a call from Dr. "Zzzzz's" office, and one of his nurses came to visit me, gave me information, took care of me, and I didn't ask for that. I'm sure I manifested it, because there she was. And I said to her "You are an angel." There are angels that walk this earth. And we are all angels when we do the beautiful, loving things we do, when we have the beautiful thoughts we have, when we pray for other people. That's being an angel. That's the angel part of us. So it's true that angels do walk the earth. We may think they get to be little devils at times, though they really are angels. But above all that, we are holy children of God. So thank you, and that's my talk. Now, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to express them.
(Member of the congregation) I just want to thank you because just having surgery Tuesday myself, I'm sitting here squirming around sort of in pain and I can relate to so many things that you said today because I had so many of the procedures that you've had. The humorless doctors and being treated like a piece of meat. All that sort of thing. This talk came just at the right time for me. Thank you.
(Another member of the congregation) You said you were in the theater. Okay, when you put on that wig, play the part of Healthy Larry!
(Rev. Larry) That's exactly what I did. As I looked at myself, and believe me, you don't want to see me without this wig, I look like – I don't know the name, I rarely watch Deep Space Nine or Star Trek – but there's that monster-looking short, ugly thing in Deep Space Nine. A gork or a dork or a mork?
(From the congregation) A Ferengi?
(Rev. Larry) Yes, a Ferengi! He's got big ears and he's bald and he's ugly. I looked in the mirror and thought, "That's me! I'm a Ferengi!" I mean, I knew my ears were big, but my God. I look like Spock! I have a way of moving, of wiggling my ears, and well, with no hair let me tell you. I'm ready for take-off!
(Another member of the congregation) Thank you Larry. What I'd like to mention is not, does not even come close to the ball park that you're coming from. But I'd like to – just kind of be a testimony in a way, now that I think of it. What I'd like to state is that, prior to my involvement with the Course I was more than a heavy drinker, and chain-smoker for forty years. And, in my practice of the Course, it's the first time in my life – and I attribute this to the Course – that I did not feel one sense of compulsion, or lack, or anything of that addiction of alcohol. It completely left. And I had never experienced that. If someone told me that I wouldn't have a compulsion to drink I would have a hard time believing them. Yet, that is what's true. Not even having a compulsion for over two years. In my smoking, I was an addictive chain-smoker. As you can testify, and the other addiction too, now that I think about it, you supplied me with, well ....
(Rev. Larry) I didn't supply you with liquor.
(Same member of the congregation) No, with the $75 dollars to get to the detox. But anyway, getting back to the point is that I didn't think I was capable of quitting smoking. I thought "I cannot do this." Well, you know what? It dawned on me. I was right! I can't do it. And I didn't do it. I turned it over totally, used the technique that you're talking about, with the smoking. And I have not had a single cigarette for coming up three months now. You know. From just steady chain-smoking.
(Rev. Larry) Thank you for sharing that. You know in the process of what's happened to me, it's wonderful because you come to realize that all of this garbage we pile ourselves up with, throughout our daily mirs is so stupid. All of this anger, all of this stuff we seem to need and want to have and possess. All the angers and hostilities we harbor. Certainly, I'm like a reformed alcoholic or drug addict. Because I look at this, and know from my own experience, as I look at all of the things I used to worry over, stress over, be petty over, they just don't matter anymore. It doesn't matter! I don't know how long I have to mir. I don't know if I'll come through this. I won't know that until, probably, the end of the year (if then). Who knows? And I look at that and I think, "Jesus, I've got a greater issue here! What the hell! Why care if that man went through a red light, and why care if that woman or guy is looking like that on the street." And, "Do I really need to hate my neighbor" and, "My mother this ...." and, "My father that ...." you know? It doesn't matter anymore. Let it go! Empty the basket! Empty the garbage can! Because in light of what's there, in light of what's ahead of me, there is so much more of an issue for me to focus my positive energy on – rather than spending all of my time on my negative energy. Worrying about these petty little things, i.e.: "I can't pay my bill on time", "But I have all these bills ...." So what. Sit down and work it out. Get it out of your garbage can. You know, that kind of a thing. I've come to realize that. But again you don't do it alone. It sounds easy, I know. Some of you are sitting there thinking, "Oh yeah Larry, sure, yeah right, uh-huh, yeah sure. You're not in my position." Well, you know what? Maybe I'd like to trade with you. Maybe I would be in your position, you could be in mine! You know? I'll trade you. Two cancers for non-payment of bills? Anybody want to take the offer? Hmmm, no takers, eh?
We're not going to do it overnight, but remember, how you do get rid of it. You ask for help. Jesus says in the Course, I have asked you, no, I have begged you to give me your burdens and you don't hear me. It says that right in the Course. I have asked you, no, I have begged you to give me your burdens and you don't hear me. So, here you are Jesus, take them. Take them. I put them in your hands. Holy Spirit, I put my life in your hands. Help me. Help me to make the correction. Help me to make the correction. Give me the strength to make the correction. I know Holy Spirit and Jesus will do their job. I just need to do mine. We all need to do ours.
(I hope this talk will be of help for any of you who are going through serious health issues, now or in the future. I hope I made you laugh. Laughter is so important for us. Perhaps this talk will inspire some of you to write me and let me know what is going on with you. I promise to write you back. We can achieve great things together. We are not alone. We are surrounded by wings of angels and God's eternal love. Bless you all. Rev. Larry)
(Latest update – Mid-November: I have had four spinal treatments of chemotherapy in the past three weeks in addition to my regular chemotherapy. Now there's a thrill and a half. There are times when I simply don't know who is in this body. I cried the other day because someone ran a red light. That was weird. I am now going into my fourth session of regular chemotherapy. Next week I have another CT scan and then the next day my PET scan. The Doctor will make his comparisons and will inform me if we are on the right track. C'mon Holy Spirit!!! We can do it!) ♥
c/o Community Miracles Center
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This article appeared in the November 1999 (Vol. 13 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.