Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 49 God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.
- It is quite possible to listen to God’s Voice all through the day without interrupting your regular activities in any way. The part of your mind in which truth abides is in constant communication with God, whether you are aware of it or not. It is the other part of your mind that functions in the world and obeys the world’s laws. It is this part that is constantly distracted, disorganized, and highly uncertain.
- The part that is listening to the Voice for God is calm, always at rest, and wholly certain. It is really the only part there is. The other part is a wild illusion, frantic and distraught, but without reality of any kind. Try today not to listen to it. Try to identify with the part of your mind where stillness and peace reign forever. Try to hear God’s Voice call to you lovingly, reminding you that your Creator has not forgotten His Son.
- We will need at least four five-minute practice periods today, and more if possible. We will try actually to hear God’s Voice reminding you of Him and of your Self. We will approach this happiest and holiest of thoughts with confidence, knowing that, in doing so, we are joining our will with the Will of God. He wants you to hear His Voice. He gave it to you to be heard.
- Listen in deep silence. Be very still, and open your mind. Go past all the raucous shrieks and imaginings that cover your real thoughts and obscure your eternal link with God. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. You do not live here. We are trying to reach your real home. We are trying to reach the place where you are truly welcome. We are trying to reach God.
- Do not forget to repeat today’s idea very frequently. Do so with your eyes open when necessary but closed when possible, and be sure to sit quietly and repeat the idea for today whenever you can, closing your eyes on the world, and realizing that you are inviting God’s Voice to speak to you. 
Notes and Personal Application (2019): God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day. God’s Voice reminds me not to be afraid. God’s Voice reminds me of how blessed I am in every single way. God’s Voice reminds me that I do not have pain or suffering. God’s Voice reminds me that I do not have to be afraid of my sister. God’s Voice reminds me that I can pray for everything I need while I am living in this realm and in this body. God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day. God’s Voice calls me to study this Course. God’s Voice has called me to be a teacher and writer.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): This morning’s devotion took place while Lover was driving through the Shenandoah Valley on his way to work. He reminded me of how beautiful the mountains are and that during our five-minute meditation, God’s Voice assured him of peace, of calmness, of everything being okay. In the night, he woke up with a sense of being lost and confused, a feeling that he had not experienced for years, and it had troubled him, but now hearing God’s Voice, he realized that there was nothing to it, no cause for concern.
Here in front of my computer sitting with our lesson spread out before me, I, too, experienced that part of me that listens for the Voice for God. The calm and certain part of me that is anxious for nothing at all. Quite a few years ago, my daughter’s father sent her journals to me, her ashes, the photographs, and memorabilia from the time she had lived with him in Nashville. He was concerned that I would take to heart the things she had written about me in her journal, the way she had blasted me, vowed never to forgive me, listed my failings and shortcomings as a mother, and her hatred and resentment toward me for marrying James, whom she also described in the most unglowing terms! While I promised him, not to take it to heart, here is the truth – it did hurt. It stung. It made me feel terrible about myself. It made me feel as if not only the troubled, teenage rantings of my daughter in heaven had declared me unfit but that the whole world was against me and that my sins defined me.
While I could chalk up her rantings towards her dearest friends, as typical teenage angst, the words and phrases she had used to describe me, and our troubled relationship, broke my heart. When I did not die from the hurt, I decided to make something from it. Not in spite of her hatred, disgust, and utter disappointment in me, but largely because of it, I gathered my courage and completed the degree she said I would never complete. I became the teacher that she said I would never become. I finished the novel that she said I would never complete. I stayed married and enjoyed the process of James and I becoming far more than the egotistical, narcissistic, sex-addicted floozies whom she had depicted in her diaries. In other words, I let her thoughts that she had so diligently and lovingly recorded in her journals, change me into a better version of myself.
I stress the word lovingly because it is love when we dare to speak the truth about our shadow and our special relationships. If Manda’s teenage diaries had been anything like her diaries from her earlier life, I would have gone on considering myself quite the spectacular, beautiful, kind, and good mother she wrote about in them. In her elementary days, she described our poverty-stricken life with a bohemian grace, focusing on the books we read each night, the way we cuddled on our old second-hand sofa, our sumptuous holiday dinners surrounded by the rest of our irregular tribe. How beautiful, caring, and comical her hard-working, hard-loving mother was with all her colorful boyfriends. Trips to Disney, swimming in my boyfriend’s pool, going to Niagara Falls, and eating in fancy restaurants – none of which we could afford on my salary – was described in rosy, and also loving terms. It would be easy for me to think of this as the words from the loving Manda, and the teenage journals as the hateful Manda – it terms of my own ego.
However, it was both of the voices that helped me to see my ego for what it was – not me! I was neither the hero nor the villain that is described in her journals. She was describing only a process and mistaking it for me – something we all do.
The Voice for God assures me that I will never find my identity in what others think of me – but they will offer me a most loving service by attacking my ego, not stroking it! We are so inclined to stroke one another’s egos, to flatter one another, to build each other up. “Oh, Sister Eckie, you are just the cat’s meow,” is what my ego craves to hear, when “Oh Sister Eckie, you need to stop taking everything so personal and get out of your head,” is what I need to hear! We are quick to burn the missive of hate and turn our back upon what causes us pain, but today in our first five-minute meditation the Voice for God tells me that even the attack of others informs of us of what we need to stop identifying with, the ways in which we have to stop engaging with the ego, close our eyes to the world, to move past the hurt and distress, and invite the Voice for God, Holy Spirit, to take the spite and transform it to work for our good.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 49 God’s Voice speaks…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). p. 78.
It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?
In 2000, I was on my way to join my husband in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t want to talk to anybody on the flight. It was such a terrible time for me that even to write about it, makes my eyes water and my throat close up. Still – it’s good to get it down. Because I was so hoping that miracle of miracles, I would have an empty seat next to me. Knowing that this probably would not happen, I hoped that whomever took the seat next to me was a small person who did not overlap the seat and touch me. I did not want to be crammed into a window seat all the way to Albuquerque with someone crowding up against me.
So I wasn’t altogether thrilled when my seat mate turned out to be an extremely obese woman who smelled like she had not had a shower that morning. She sat down and immediately her midsection spilled over into my space. I turned my face to the window in despair. It seemed in my misery that having to share my already cramped space was too much for me to bear.
Still I have come to think that perhaps she was an angel in disguise, or if not an angel, at least someone sent by the angels, because it turned out that with no prompting at all on my part, she told her story. And her story gave me such hope, giving me a respite from the despair and utter sorrow that was eating me alive. She had no way of knowing that I had just lost my daughter – how her father and I had made the agonizing decision to take her off of life support after she had survived a car accident and been in a coma – the doctors had said there was no hope for her, her brain had hemorrhaged, had imploded they said, and she would surely die as her organs failed one right after the other. At the time we had said it would be for the best – she would not suffer, her organs could be donated as she had indicated her wish for this on her driver’s license. However now a month later I was tortured with the thought that perhaps she would have survived. Perhaps she would have recovered against all the doctors predictions, and now she was gone forever. I was worried that I had not expressed my love to her enough while she was in a coma. I was worried that by letting all her friends and other family members in to see her, and putting on such a brave front, that perhaps in her final hours she did not know how her accident, her suffering, and her eventual death were breaking my heart. All these things were weighing upon my heart and my mind, torturing me and causing me such mental anguish that I did not want to live anymore. I was no longer interested in anything – and the only thing that was keeping me going was this sense of obligation to my husband and love for my son.
And so I was on this plane and here was this woman beside me telling me about a car accident she had just recovered from. She had been in a coma, she said for three days. While she was in the coma she saw her mother and two of her aunts – they had come to visit with her and they had had a wonderful time together in a beautiful country cottage setting. She had never experienced such happiness and fellowship and sense of well-being. Gone were any hard feelings or resentments, any family rivalries, jealousies, or old wounds that had existed on this plane. For three days they visited in this place. They ate delicious meals and drank tea. They took walks and played in the stream. They held hands and ran through the tall grass. Then on the third day, they told her that she had to come back. She cried and begged not to come back here. But it was not their decision. They had to go back as well. When they left she felt lost and alone and wept bitter tears and came out of her coma on this side.
She told me that she had been aware of her mother’s death and the one aunt who had died, but the other aunt had been estranged from the family and nobody had talked to her for years. My seat mate had not been informed of her death. And yet when she was recovered enough to check – she discovered that this aunt had recently passed away. She said that what happened to her while she was in the coma was more meaningful than what happens here. She told me that she is convinced that it was real, and that she was sent back for a reason, even though she could no longer perform her duties as a nurse, and her husband had abandoned her when he learned that she was in a debilitated condition.
I told her about my worries and concerns. I poured out my heart to her in a way that I could not pour my heart out to my best friend or my sister, not my mother or my husband, or even my son who had so much grief and sorrow of his own. I felt as if this woman with the greasy hair and the body odor, crammed so uncomfortably into the seat next to mine, had been sent by God to assure me that Manda was okay: that my daughter was in good hands; that she was loved and being taken care of and that she knew how much I loved her. My unlikely angel held my hand and gave me tissues and assured me with a voice that knew personally of such things, that my daughter had not suffered while she was in a coma, and that our decision to take her off of life support once her brain had imploded was the right one. She would not have wanted to come back here, after that, the woman told me. She told me to quit beating myself up; to quit worrying over it. There is a reason for everything. It was all clear to me there, but as soon as I came back, it was taken from me – I was in the dark again, she said.
Since then I am no longer able to look at people the same way, judging them by their physical bodies or their bathing habits. Instead I see a possible encounter, there may be something they need to hear from me, or I need to hear from them. We are all in this together and the more we share and build bridges, the closer we are to escaping this hellish realm of not knowing and not loving.