[This piece was published in our very first issue
of A Better Way in October of 1991, but it has proven
enduringly popular, for reasons that will become obvious once you
Many times as a Course student I have asked that I might forgive this person or situation and see it with vision. But I know somewhere in the back of my mind was my desire to have the situation changed to something more acceptable to me, as well as a desire to hold onto my concept of right and wrong.
One time I did ask to forgive with no strings attached—it seemed like a very minor forgiveness—and I received a holy instant and was convinced that reality and eternity exist; which goes to show that the Course asks very little and gives so much in return. As I look back, the single key that opens all the doors is that when we ask to forgive, we must truly turn it over to the Holy Spirit without any other consideration of how it should be.
I had attended a Course in Miracles class on Tuesday evenings for over four years. The leader and host of the group, Sally, always gave a 20-30 minute meditation at the beginning, before we read from the Course. I always had a problem with these meditations, for I felt that 90% of them had nothing to do with the Course and in many cases were imbedded in what the Course calls "magic." I saw them for the most part as her ego trip, and as a result I would really judge her.
I remember coming into class one night. It was right before the meditation was to start. I said to myself just before I came in the door, "I am not going to judge Sally today. I'm just going to do my [Workbook] lesson." I don't even remember what the lesson was. I do remember very vividly that I was perfectly clear in my decision not to judge Sally. Looking back, I see there have been many other times when I've said I'm not going to do this or that, but I don't remember ever being as clear about it as I was this time. It just seemed that that's what I really wanted to do. I was absolute in my intention at that moment. It didn't feel weighty, like I had to do it or had been forced into it. It was a decision that came from within.
When I sat down on the floor the lights were very low. I think there were at least six people in this room, besides myself. Sally started the meditation. I closed my eyes and repeated in my mind that I was not going to judge Sally. And I started doing the lesson. I wasn't expecting anything to occur, except that I might feel better if I weren't judging Sally today.
Almost immediately after closing my eyes I saw Sally—the Real Sally. And I was seeing her with the Real John (that's me). Neither one of us were in the bodies that we normally would recognize. She was not in the body that I'm used to seeing her in, but I absolutely knew it was her, there was no doubt about it. The description that comes to me now is that she was an energy form that I knew to be her. At that moment I recognized I was seeing a high, pure part of Sally, I could say the Christ Self now, but I'm not sure I really thought any of those things at the time.
And my sense of myself was different. I did not feel that I was in my body, but I was very conscious of my being, even more conscious than I am while in a body. It was me in a "purified," "higher self" version. It's interesting, I was thinking these things about Sally and myself simultaneously. I didn't really make a differentiation or comparison between us. What I recognized in her I also recognized in myself simultaneously.
The thing that struck me right away is that I felt more love/joy in being in Sally's presence than I have ever felt before. There was no other concept in my mind except love/joy/ecstasy in being in her presence. It was an experience of pure absolute bliss in coming into contact with someone. And I know that she felt the same about me. There were no words spoken. All of this was just clear. I felt a love, a sense of love, that surpassed any concept of love that I have experienced on a conscious level. I have been in love, I've had many male/female relationships, and in looking back it was no comparison, because it was so much greater than anything that I had ever experienced. And I said, "This is
Not only did I meet Sally in this way, but I then started to meet another person that was present in the room in the same way. Again recognizing their individuality, but at the same time recognizing the same level of love that I had with Sally; still distinguishing individuality, but the love was the same, of the same magnitude. That didn't change, it didn't go up, it didn't go down, it just was the same. And this happened with each person that was present in the room.
At this point when I was meeting with everyone in the room, I felt God. And my sense was that He was smiling on me. I say on me, because it felt like the sun when you're basking in it, when it is not too hot and just warm enough to have this wonderful warm feeling all around you. I felt I was basking in this smile. And I just was aware that it was God. It was not like the normal description of God, there was no physical aspect. It was more spherical and smiling.
This whole process was happening without any sense of time in it. It truly was timeless, eternal; there was no sequence or concept of time passing. But the weird thing that started happening immediately in meeting Sally and then the other individuals is that I was giving everything that was in me to them and I was receiving everything from them, simultaneously. There was nothing being held back. I was fully giving of myself, which I can never remember doing. I'm always feeling a sense of some holding back or some consciousness of myself and what would be appropriate or inappropriate to give. Everything at that moment was absolutely given, freely without any thought of what it was. There was no need to give it, just the absolute joy in doing it. It was just an enhancement, but there was no need. And there was no reason to withhold anything. The only thing was to give it. And I was receiving. I was totally aware that I was receiving totally their consciousness. And it was happening simultaneously. I don't know how I can explain that, other than saying that my thoughts were given and their thoughts were received at the same moment, without having to discuss them or interact or in any way comprehend. It was just happening. And again it was just pure joy.
And as we were getting closer and closer in space (if there was any space between us—I guess I did have some sense of space), it was like a heart beating, where in every beat it was totally received and given at the same time. And when the whole gap between space closed we were as one and intermingling. Again there wasn't physical bodies, but we were intertwined; we came together and moved through each other. And that I would have to say was a combination of laughter and orgasm, but of a much more intense level. I say orgasmic, but it was different. It's not something I really can describe. I'm just using the word to try and capture some sense of it. We were laughing hysterically, laughing in pure ecstasy, like when you're out of control laughing. You're not thinking or judging your own laughter, you're just laughing. That was going on as part of a totally relaxed course of events. And we were very appreciative of each other. There was a definite honoring of each other, an appreciation of coming into contact, but not a solemn one. It was just full of laughter and joy.
At this point, because I had this experience with just these people, I remember asking myself, "Where is everyone else?" And in that thought I was aware that everyone else that I knew on this conscious level (or that I thought I knew) was present. But not only that, everyone was present, and I don't know how I knew that, but I just knew. If you had asked me is everyone in the world there, I would have said "yes." Was everyone that was ever in the world there? I would say "yes." Was there more than everyone in the world past or future there? and I would say "yes." I felt like I was in the middle and this expanded out farther than I could see. But I was perfectly aware that everyone was there. And then I remember asking, "Could I ever be alone?" And in that moment I was totally alone.
Then I asked about travelling. "Could I be anywhere?" In that moment I was travelling through something. I don't know if they were planets or stars or something, but it seemed that I was crashing into things. And I had this interesting sense that I was absolutely safe. It dawned on me that you couldn't be harmed, because I wasn't. I felt my energy crashing into things and there was no consequence. I felt this absolute safety. And I was realizing that everything was happening in a thought. I could be anywhere, with anyone, doing anything, in a thought.
Meanwhile, Sally's meditation had been going on. I had never even heard any of the words. But at some point very near the end of the meditation something was said in it that I started to hear. At that moment I felt that now we were all at the same level, that the consciousness of Sally's meditation had joined me where I was. And then I remember hearing the words that were coming out of the meditation, something about seeing water—however those meditations end. And I started to feel my being being scrunched back into my body, which I had been completely unaware of during this entire episode. I had no sense of my body. I don't remember feeling any sensations one way or the other. I didn't even notice it. It just wasn't there. But all of a sudden I noticed it. And it felt like I was bringing my consciousness back in and was stuffing myself back into my body. And that was how it ended.
(John Hutkin is a Course student and teacher from St. Louis)