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              and Awakening

Sleeping and Awakening

You must recognize you are sleeping
before you can wake up.


 This section on forgiveness and awakening is an excerpt from the Donald James Giacobbe's autobiography Memory Walk in the Light:

Perhaps the most daunting overall paradox presented in the Course is that we are really right now in heaven, only asleep and dreaming of being here in a body and in this world of form. If this is true, why couldn’t we just follow the example of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz? Why couldn’t we simply tap our feet together three times, saying, “There is no place like Home,” and then wake up in heaven? There is a type of Hindu jnana yoga based on nondualism that directly affirms heaven is here now, and that the world is not real. The chief discipline of this yoga is to deny this world of form to find Reality. This denial is practiced by saying, “neti, neti, neti,” meaning “not this, not this, not this.” Every form is seen as an illusion and not the divine Truth. Such a seeker may get a headache and say, “I don’t have a headache because I don’t have a head.” Through this type of denial the seeker hopes to wake up to the only true Reality beyond all illusions. However, this extreme spiritual practice is a very difficult path that can even cause the seeker to become mentally unbalanced. Although the Course describes the world as an illusion, it does not advocate a path of denial: 

The body is merely part of your experience in the physical world. Its abilities can be and frequently are overevaluated. However, it is almost impossible to deny its existence in this world. Those who do so are engaging in a particularly unworthy form of denial.1 

    Thus we cannot successfully deny the body and its role in this dream world. Instead of denying the body, we can accept the Holy Spirit’s purpose for the body as a tool with which to navigate through this dream world. In this way the body becomes a means for us to wake up if we remain sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is no way for us to force ourselves to wake up. For example, just accepting consciously that we are really sleeping in heaven and then deciding to stop dreaming isn’t enough to make us immediately awake up. The fundamental problem is that there is a gap between our conscious mind and the Christ Mind. That gap is the subconscious mind that is filled with a host of illusions. Although a person may consciously reject the idea of karmic retribution and reject the idea of reincarnation, the subconscious mind continues to keep a self-imposed karmic accounting system and holds on to all the accumulated illusions of past lives, especially strong unresolved emotions. 

Waking up requires a cleansing of the subconscious mind of its darkest illusions. Even if I say I don’t consciously believe in the traditional idea of karma, my subconscious mind is still holding on to karmic ideas and emotions that block the divine light. Part of my process of waking up has been uncovering and putting together the pieces of my shadow puzzle. This has involved learning to let go of the dark corners of my mind where I have been holding on to past life fears and other negative emotions that have prevented me from accepting God’s unconditional love. Consequently, it has been helpful for me to bring the emotions accumulate from past lives into the light so they could be released now. Even though reincarnation is only a repeating of illusions of bodily identities, accepting that this illusory belief is part of the subconscious mind can help to facilitate waking up from illusions. Although the belief in reincarnation has been helpful for my growth, I recognize that it is understandably not a necessary or even helpful belief for many Christians, since God has an individualized plan for each of us to return Home.

My path had been a joining of the Western way of seeking God and the Eastern way. The West seeks God by loving and forgiving those who are separate from us. The East seeks God (Reality, Oneness, Buddha nature) by awakening to the awareness that the individual seeker is never separate from his divine Source. My path of Miracle Yoga based on the Course says that Western forgiveness and Eastern awakening can come together in a unique way. In this blending, the Western form of forgiveness based on separation gives way to an enlightened forgiveness that lets go of the perception of separation. The one who forgives sees his forgiven brother as his equal with whom he is joined in Christ. Similarly, the Eastern form of finding God entirely through inward seeking loses its place of prominence in the synthesis of the West and East. The totally solitary approach to God is replaced by finding God through seeing Him in every brother and sister through the eyes of forgiveness. Thus forgiveness and awakening overlap and are no longer separate processes, as when the West and East are separate paths.

In fact, the strongest tool in the process of waking up is forgiveness. True forgiveness allows us to see illusions as illusions and give them up to free the mind from the darkness that blocks the light. Here too there is a paradox. We may initially feel that someone has trespassed against us, but true forgiveness allows us to see that this is an illusion. True forgiveness looks past the dream world where we appear to be harmed, and instead sees the truth. This truth is that no one can hurt us because we are not really separate egos and bodies, which can be hurt. Since we are part of Christ in God, our true nature cannot be hurt. If we identify with our egos, we will think we forgive others for what we believe they did to us—meaning what they did to our egos. Yet if we identify with our true nature in Christ, we can practice true forgiveness by paradoxically forgiving others for what they never actually did to us—meaning what they never did to Christ within us. In this sense the idea of forgiveness itself is an illusion because there is nothing that in fact needs to be forgiven.

Forgiveness is an illusion, yet ironically it is the only illusion that helps us overcome illusions, enabling us to move in the direction of waking up to our true nature. Forgiveness allows us to see the world in a different way than we normally would—to look past the illusions and affirm the shining light and truth hidden behind outer forms. It enables us to let go of our fears and guilt and instead see a world of love that is a happy dream. We cannot jump all the way from a world of frightening nightmares to heaven because the distance between the two is too great. But when we apply forgiveness, we can accept the world as a happy dream. When our lives become a happy dream, we are best prepared to make the transition from illusory dreams to awakening in the reality of heaven. The happy dream is so filled with loving sights that it becomes a reflection of heaven. Thus the love experienced in the happy dream enables us to one day fully open up to the all-encompassing Divine Embrace awaiting us in heaven.

1. T-2.IV.3:8-11, p. 23


Joining of both forgiveness and mediitation

Forgiveness and meditation both involve joining with others.


Donald James Giacobbe is the author of Christian Meditation Inspired by Yoga and “A Course in Miracles.” The section below is an excerpt from this book that addresses the relationship between meditation and forgiveness:

The central message of the Course is true forgiveness. If you forgive your brother while still resenting him, you are not truly forgiving him. In the Course forgiveness applies not only to a situation in which it appears you have been wronged. Forgiveness is a practice that can be applied to all your interactions. When you see your brother, he appears to be a body, and you judge his appearance. You also make judgments on his personality and ego characteristics. These judgments are actually your grievances because they separate you from you brother. Forgiveness is defined in the Course as “the healing of the perception of separation.”1 Through forgiveness you join with your brother and realize he and you are equals in Christ. The added benefit is that by seeing the divine in your brother, you will increase your belief that the divine is in you too.

Forgiveness is the practice of letting go of your grievances, which are your judgments of your brother, by looking past them and seeing the divine in him. You are replacing false perceptions of your brother with true perceptions that reflect the Christ in him. Since a miracle is a change from false perceptions to true perceptions, forgiveness is the manifestation of miracles that replace your grievances. In the miracle of forgiveness a loving exchange occurs, which you may not fully comprehend at the time. In this exchange you send light and love to your brother and in gratitude your brother sends light and love to you. This miracle of forgiveness is an inner spiritual celebration in which you each acquire a loving awareness of your brother and loving awareness of yourself.

Besides giving new meanings to familiar words, the Course also has the unique characteristic of demonstrating that spiritual concepts are not defined by showing how different they are. Instead, spiritual ideas are identified by their interrelationships and by how they consistently lead in the same direction toward oneness. This interrelating of concepts with a common purpose is elaborated upon in the final chapter, but here let’s look at the unusual interrelationship between the concepts of forgiveness and meditation.

Forgiveness and meditation are normally considered to be separate and very different ideas. Forgiveness seems to be about giving others a gift of your mercy, rather than being a means of internal healing of your own mind. Yet the Course sees forgiveness as a way of turning your mind toward oneness. Meditation appears to be a solitary activity of seeking God, but it is a collaborative venture and is not in fact a solitary practice. As you increase your awareness of God within, you will likewise increase your awareness of your brothers and sisters who are joined in oneness with God just as you are.Meditation in the Course is a way of training your mind to join with your brothers and sisters in Christ and to move together in the direction of oneness.

Thus both forgiveness and meditation help you grow toward the common goal of oneness, but are they really distinctly different ways of seeking oneness? No, they seek oneness in the same way. Forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly toward others. Meditation is the mental holding of one thought of the divine in the mind and the letting go all other distracting thoughts. In practicing forgiveness, just as in practicing meditation, you are letting go of distracting thoughts by overlooking all your judgments against the person you are forgiving. Likewise, you are holding the one thought of looking for the divine in the person you are forgiving, similar to the way you hold on to the one thought of seeing the divine within yourself in practicing meditation.

Forgiveness and meditation have a reciprocal relationship. Since forgiveness is meditation applied outwardly, the inverse is equally true: Meditation is forgiveness applied inwardly toward yourself. When you forgive your brother by letting go of your grievances, you are helping your brother to heal his mind and simultaneously helping to heal your own mind. Your forgiveness of others is really a means of forgiving yourself. Yet this process of forgiving yourself can also be done directly by the inner practices of meditation. After all, when you go within you are letting go of distracting thoughts and judgments. You are attempting to go past these distractions, which are inner grievances that you are holding against yourself. These grievances hide your true nature. Just as you can see the divine in your brother by letting go of grievances, you can apply forgiveness toward yourself by looking past your inner grievances to find the divine within.

Let’s consider Workbook Lesson 69, “My grievances hide the light of the world in me.” Here the grievances of your mind are symbolized by dark clouds that you can visualized. The clouds seem to be the only reality, but you focus on moving past them to the light that is the true reality that you seek. You remind yourself how significant what you are doing is as you are motivated to find the light beyond the clouds. You can be confident that the clouds can have not power to stop you.

 From where you stand, you can see no reason to believe there is a brilliant light hidden by the clouds. The clouds seem to be the only reality. They seem to be all there is to see. Therefore, you do not attempt to go through them and past them, which is the only way in which you would be really convinced of their lack of substance. We will make this attempt today.

After you have thought about the importance of what you are trying to do for yourself and the world, try to settle down in perfect stillness, remembering only how much you want to reach the light in you today,—now! Determine to go past the clouds. Reach out and touch them in your mind. Brush them aside with your hand; feel them resting on your cheeks and forehead and eyelids as you go through them. Go on; clouds cannot stop you.2 

    In this practice you are putting forward a conscious effort, but you are not relying entirely on your own ability. Rather, you can rest assured through faith that God has the power to help you succeed and He will surely guide you to find the light as long as your will is joined with His.

If you are doing the exercises properly, you will begin to feel a sense of being lifted up and carried ahead. Your little effort and small determination call on the power of the universe to help you, and God Himself will raise you from darkness into light. You are in accord with His Will. You cannot fail because your will is His. 

Have confidence in your Father today, and be certain that He has heard you and answered you. You may not recognize His answer yet, but you can indeed be sure that it is given you and you will yet receive it. Try, as you attempt to go through the clouds to the light, to hold this confidence in your mind. Try to remember that you are at last joining your will to God’s. Try to keep the thought clearly in mind that what you undertake with God must succeed. Then let the power of God work in you and through you, that His Will and yours be done.3

1. T-3.V.9:1, p. 45
2. W-69.5:1-5, 6:1-5, pp. 117-118
3. W-69.7:1-4, 8:1-6, p. 118

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                            Joy in fulfilling your special function.

Performing your special function brings happiness.


The practice of Miracle Karma Yoga involves the awareness of your function in the world. There are those in life who feel they have no purpose and so they have lives that seem meaningless to them. Yet God has not willed that any of His children remain without a function.

Nor does He [God] will that he remain without the function that He gave to him. Let him no more be lonely, for the lonely ones are those who see no function in the world for them to fill; no place where they are needed, and no aim which only they can perfectly fulfill.1 

So what is your function God has given to you? Most opportunities for dedicated action in the practice of Miracle Karma Yoga involve your everyday experiences in life with other people. When doing work or even daily activities you often set goals, and Miracle Karma Yoga involves setting spiritual goals. In your work or other activities you can set the goal of truth, holiness or love. Or even better, you can ask the Holy Spirit to choose the goal for you. Indeed, some goals for your life have already been assigned to you by the Holy Spirit, even if you are not yet aware of these goals. The reason for this is that you have an important work to accomplish for God and for your brothers that no one else can do. This work is called your “special function.” The Holy Spirit assigns you this function in God’s Plan for the awakening of the Sonship, the awakening of every child of God. This Plan for awakening cannot be completed until your special function is fulfilled.

To each He gives a special function in salvation he alone can fill; a part for only him. Nor is the plan complete until he finds his special function, and fulfills the part assigned to him, to make himself completer with the world where incompletion rules.2 

What is this special function? It is unique to you, but it is still always an expression of forgiveness. Your special function is your way of joining with others and ironically your way to overcome the idea of “specialness.” To maintain the belief in sin, the ego relies on the idea of specialness, the idea that you are better than your brother or sister. Your special function helps you connect with your brothers and sisters in forgiveness, which helps you affirm your equality with every child of God. Your special function helps you let go of the belief in sin by realizing every sin is merely a mistake. Since sins are merely errors, they can be corrected by forgiving eyes that see the divine beyond the appearances of separation.

Here, where the laws of God do not prevail in perfect form, can he yet do one perfect thing and make one perfect choice. And by this act of special faithfulness to one perceived as other than himself, he learns the gift was given to himself, and so they must be one. Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time. It is the means the Holy Spirit uses to translate specialness from sin into salvation. Forgiveness is for all. But when it rests on all it is complete, and every function of this world completed with it. Then is time no more. Yet while in time, there is still much to do. And each must do what is allotted him, for on his part does all the plan depend. He has a special part in time for so he chose, and choosing it, he made it for himself. His wish was not denied but changed in form, to let it serve his brother and himself, and thus become a means to save instead of lose.3 

Many question whether or not they have been given some work, some mission to do for God. Rest assured that indeed, you have been given a special function. This is true of everyone, whether or not you practice Miracle Karma Yoga. The advantage of Miracle Karma Yoga is simply that you can consciously focus on fulfilling that special function you have been given. Thus you can dedicate yourself to its accomplishment for the benefit of your brothers and sisters and for your own benefit as well.

The Holy Spirit needs your special function, that His may be fulfilled. Think not you lack a special value here. You wanted it, and it is given you. All that you made can serve salvation easily and well. The Son of God can make no choice the Holy Spirit cannot employ on his behalf, and not against himself. Only in darkness does your specialness appear to be attack. In light, you see it as your special function in the plan to save the Son of God from all attack, and let him understand that he is safe, as he has always been, and will remain in time and in eternity alike. This is the function given you for your brother. Take it gently, then, from your brother's hand, and let salvation be perfectly fulfilled in you. Do this one thing, that everything be given you.4

1. T-25.VI.3:5-6, p. 529
2. T-25.VI.4:2-3, p. 530
3. T-25.VI.5:1-11, p. 530
4. T-25.VI.7:1-10, p. 530

Click here for "Miracle Karma Yoga"

Christian Meditation Inspired by

 Yoga and "A Course in Miracles"

Chrsitian Meditation, Yoga, and "A Course in Miracles"

Memory Walk in the Light: 

My Christian Yoga Life as

"A Course in Miracles"


Read the full introduction to this autobiography


Donald James Giacobbe



    “The central message of the Course is forgiveness, and the key to yoga is opening to the divine presence. As a teacher of Miracle Yoga based on Course principles, my goal is to live my life as an expression of forgiveness and openness to the experience of Spirit.”


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