This issue originally published as A Course for Teachers
What am I here for? What is the purpose of my life? According to A Course in Miracles, life's main goal is the achievement of Inner Peace. Life's main function is forgiveness.
Everything and everyone that we encounter establishes a relationship between itself and us. Relationships with other people become special when we find in others something that we find lacking in ourselves. Many of our relationships are such special relationships. The pain and suffering that we ultimately must feel from these special relationships occur when these people let us down, as they must. Since no one can meet all our expectations, they inevitably fail our visions of what they should be.
The ego conjures up how everyone else should behave. It specializes in failed special relationships. Our relation-ships with our students (and everyone else) are testing grounds and opportunities to learn from each other.
Educational institutions have a tendency to cast people into molds. We expect conformity and uniformity. We set up criteria by which to judge. The classroom can easily become the egos den as we classify and pigeon-hole people.
Teachers may have preconceived notions of how students should behave. We may judge them by their accomplishments or lack thereof. It is easy to dismiss people because of their negative behavior. Judging based upon personality or appearance negates both the function (forgiveness) and the goal (Inner Peace) of life. "Comparison must be an ego device, for love makes none."
In The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav describes each of us as having a personality and a soul. The personality is born, develops and dies. The soul goes on and continues. Zukav says that the soul evolves through many incarnations of chosen personalities. There are lessons to learn.
The personality requires healing. It is that part of oneself that the soul chooses in order to work out some of its unfinished business. The soul chooses a particular physical form to meet one of its evolutionary needs. Karma is the balancing of our energies from all our physical forms and personalities, including those from who we are now.
Zukav states that the dynamic of Karma suggests that those who intend hatred, harm, prejudice, disrespect and other negativity will experience these intentions from others. What goes around comes around.
Negativity abounds around us, in the classroom and the world. We cannot respond to negativity with negativity or judgment. We have no idea what Karmic debts are being settled through the negative behavior of others.
Recognizing that Karmic justice is being worked out helps us prevent responding negatively and adding to our own Karmic imbalance. We simply respond with what needs to be done. However, we do not judge. We respond with compassion.Healing takes place when we uplift our special relationships to the status of holiness. Holy relationships occur when we recognize that others need not behave according to our scripts in order for us to love them. We are complete within ourselves. Holiness occurs when we change our viewpoint through conscious awareness that people are not their behavior. They are human beings, not human doings. I believe that we are on this planet to heal relationships. What we believe and what we see, and what we experience depends directly on the thoughts that we have in our minds. Attitudinal Healing
The definition of Attitudinal Healing as written by Gerald Jampolsky in his book Love is the Answer is the process of letting go of the fearful, guilty, angry, negative thoughts that so many of us carry in our minds. Attitudinal Healing is based on the premise that it is not other people or circumstances that cause us to be upset. Rather, our own thoughts and attitudes about those people and circumstances cause us distress.
While discussing this topic with friends, one of them retorted, "What do you mean it's our own thoughts and attitudes" that cause us distress. "You mean to tell me that on my way home, some drugged driver collides with me head on and sends me to the hospital; that it is ME that is making me upset?" Didn't something just happen out-side that created the distress?
The positions and the attitudes we hold, and the perceptions we have of external events, no matter how abhorrent or tragic (and even pleasant and uplifting) are seen in their intensity based upon our preprogrammed response to them. These programs come from the significant others in our lives, most notably from our parents and early guardians. Quite possibly, some of the programs are the souls chosen adoption of personality characteristics in order to balance Karma.
Jampolsky, in his writings, which are the everyday persons version of A Course in Miracles, defines the ego somewhat differently than a Freudian might. To Jampolsky, the ego is the script writer, director, cast, producer, film maker, and projectionist of our past pain and suffering onto the screen of life. As we go through life encountering circumstances that resemble our past pain, the ego runs the film or tape and we respond with all too familiar, but not necessarily recognizable, programming. The ego creates. The ego convinces us that it is god. This strong recurring voice chattering in our minds is a master at deception, blaming others for injustices, seeing external world events as the cause of all our trials and tribulations. There are many voices in our heads. Most of them are the ego in disguise.Another Voice
The ego calls for separation, justified anger and attack. There is another voice. The Inner Voice of Peace (some call it intuition or the voice of God) says, "Let go." Yes, as my friend put it, that head on collision did cause distress and upset. If the goal truly is Inner Peace, then there is no other choice than to let go.
Doubt and faith are in fine balance with each other. There is a yin-yang coexistence allowing one to make sense of the other. Too much faith leads to stagnation while too much doubt may lead to depression. The concepts of Attitudinal Healing are ideals. They are attainable ideals.
A Course in Miracles suggests that there is no such thing as sin. It states that people make mistakes. Mistakes are undone through correction. The mistakes are then forgiven.
Forgiveness is "for-giving" to others the Inner Peace which we wish for ourselves. A Course in Miracles states that forgetting is part of forgiveness. Forgetting is "for-getting" Inner Peace. Giving and receiving are the same. In other words, we extend to others that which we wish for ourselves.
If we listen to the ego, we extend conflict. If we listen to the voice of Inner Peace or the anti-ego, we extend love. We can always choose which path we wish to take. We can learn to trust the voice of Inner Peace.Spirituality
Spirituality is our moment to moment internal mental state of affairs. We may describe it by the phrases, "I am in good spirits" or "I am in bad spirits." Thus, spirituality or my spirits are a function of where my head is at. Sometimes, we are aware of our spirits or spirituality. Most times, we are not. We can choose to be more conscious.
We waste our time and valuable energy when we try to find answers in terms of the past. The past does not matter. Gerald Jampolsky says that history would not exist if our errors were not repeated over and over again in the present.
I first came across Gerald Jampolsky in January of 1991 when I went to the bookstore looking for a birthday gift for my spouse, JeanneE. I came cross his book Good Bye to Guilt and read a third of it before I left the store. It was a stressful time in my life. Through depression, I lost thirty-five pounds in a few months. I believe all things happen for a reason. At that moment I was ready for my next step in spiritual growth.
I corresponded with Gerald Jampolsky on three occasions. I wrote him each time from Children's Hospital while our son Dylan was in surgery. Dylans medical history includes nineteen operations. At age five, he received my kidney. Dr. Jampolsky responded each time. He is one individual who has healed his relationship with himself, others and his God.
Years ago, Jerry Jampolsky was a psychiatrist specializing in substance abuse treatments. At the same time, he had a similar problem. He followed his Inner Voice. After studying A Course in Miracles, he transformed his life. Presently, Dr. Jampolsky deals exclusively with catastrophically ill children and their families. He opened dozens of Attitudinal Healing clinics nationwide. Recently, Dr. Jampolsky opened a clinic for children with AIDS.
For Jampolsky, A Course in Miracles was a revelation. He studied the manuscript and learned to listen to his Inner Voice. It told him, "Physician, heal thyself." From A Course in Miracles, Dr. Jampolsky developed the concepts of Attitudinal Healing. Through Attitudinal Healing, I discovered A Course in Miracles and the importance of spirituality.The Karmic Classroom
We choose many paths in life. These paths include education, marital status, profession, vocation, etc. The soul chooses our personality for the purpose of balancing its Karmic debt in the universe. Teaching places us in a position to come face to face with a multitude of personalities. Dealing with a multitude of personalities daily places us face to face with our ego and our Karmic imbalance. Teaching fosters our Karmic balancing act.
Teachers develop a relationship with their students. Each relationship affords student and teacher the opportunity to deal with different aspects of their personality. We may consider ourselves blessed for choosing teaching as a profession. It is one of the best paths in life for accessing opportunities for spiritual growth and healing.
We are all teachers and students to one another. Relationships are such that individual perceptions of reality have much to teach each member of the relationship. As teachers, we trust that everything that happens between us and our students is in the good interest of both. We try to convey to our students that all their experiences are opportunities from which to learn.
Offering a sense of gratitude to our students for the opportunity to participate in the Karmic classroom goes a long way to helping them recognize that being a part of the classroom is a desirable experience.Ah!
The Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree for a long, long time. He sought enlightenment. Jesus spoke from the heart. He offered salvation through forgiveness. Forgiveness does not come from God, as God's creations, like itself, are perfect, needing no forgiveness. Lao Tzu spoke of the journey. It is the journey not the destination that offers us the rich rewards of life.
For the Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, and for us there come moments where we see the light, where the "Ah" in our being is so apparent that it cannot be ignored. It is a moment of personal satisfaction and relief. For many people, it does not happen often. With consciousness, it can happen more often.
Ken Keyes, in the Handbook to Higher Consciousness, states that happiness is a moment of recognition that all is right with the world. Bliss is when we string these moments together long enough to have them present in the eternal now. It may take years to obtain this level of consciousness. Some people never do. When it happens, it is akin to the good feeling that we have when we "figure something out." It is the recognition that we truly understand. We recognize it when we say, "Ah!"
The concept of "Ah!" (sometimes called grace) is the recognition of a higher authority outside ourselves. It is letting go of the problems at hand. When we reach this state of enlightenment, we know it. We know it as amazing grace! It is an ah-moment when all is well with the world.Beyond the Classroom
Genevieve Weirich is a special education teacher. She is the Director of the Attitudinal Healing Center of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her book, Attitudinal Healing, A Guide for Groups and Individuals is the culmination of many years of work. It guides group participants to give up the fears that are linked to their past.
The book presents Attitudinal Healing concepts to a peer support group that meets regularly. It is based upon Gerald Jampolskys book, Love is Letting Go of Fear. Ms. Weirichs book is an excellent guide for those who wish to use the concepts of Attitudinal Healing in a structured setting. Topics covered include: healing as Inner Peace, psychological aspects of grief, forgiveness, fears experienced with serious illness, and releasing blocks to love.
Teachers can always practice Attitudinal Healing in the classroom. I encounter large number of wanting students. They are angry, disruptive and lost. A Course in Miracles states there are just two emotions: fear and love. These students are very fearful. They call out for love. They are starving for attention and caring.
The classroom is a busy, dynamic place. Practicing Attitudinal Healing while teaching may only go so far. If each moment in our lives serves Karmic balance, then possibly, it is up to us to consider instituting an Attitudinal Healing Support Group.
Recognizing the value of Attitudinal Healing on an equal par with academics or sports may be difficult. However, many problems with education and the schools may be alleviated through Attitudinal Healing. Certainly, practicing its principles adds to the positive Karmic balance of the individual and the universe.
We can practice being still. Through the murmuring of the ego we may hear the voice of Inner Peace. It will guide us and tell us what to do.Summary
I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because he who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever he wishes, knowing he goes there with me. I will be healed as I let him teach me to heal.
© 1994 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski