The following excerpt is taken from the book Your Immortal Reality: How to Break the Cycle of Birth and Death, by Gary Renard. It is published by Hay House (September 2006) and available at all bookstores or online at:

Chapter 2

Real Power

The power of decision is your one remaining freedom
as a prisoner of this world. You can decide to see it right.

During the next two months, I often thought about what Pursah had said about experience. The previous year had not lacked forgiveness lessons as related to the publication of the book. The unseemly viciousness of a small minority of supposedly spiritual students on the Internet had come as a great surprise to me. Some of them maligned the book without ever having read it because they had some kind of a political ax to grind. I wouldn’t have believed such people even existed within the so-called A Course in Miracles community. Having been initiated into this community, I quickly started to think of it as a family that needed to practice the very Course it claimed to believe in.

Fortunately for me, through my travels, I was about to get to meet the real Course community in person, and understand that unlike what I was sometimes seeing on the Internet, the overwhelming majority of these people were really interested in making the kind of amazing spiritual progress the Course was offering them. At the same time, there was an online discussion group about The Disappearance of the Universe (which, as mentioned previously, the members immediately started referring to as "D.U.") that was starting to grow. After a rough start because of some visitors who wanted to try to attack the book and me, the forum was turning into one of the most loving and supportive groups on the Internet.

Success didn’t always fit my pictures. Even with the book starting to do very well, there always seemed to be obstacles to overcome. This included attacks, which were sometimes subtle and sometimes outrageous. When things didn’t appear to be going my way, whether in the form of inner peace or in the kind of unpredictable mystical experiences I had grown accustomed to. The Course taught me that I couldn’t really be attacked on the level of my mind, although it could certainly appear that someone was attacking me. Still, at times the practice was very difficult, and I would delay my decision to choose the Holy Spirit as my teacher instead of the ego. This made me wonder why I couldn’t always live the Course directive I was so fond of, which says, "Love holds no grievances."
2 Why was it possible to forgive some people and so difficult to forgive others?

I knew that the Course also taught, "As you see him you will see yourself."
3 Whatever way I looked at and thought about another person would surely create how I experienced myself and ultimately determine my own identity as either spirit or a body. I wanted to know why it was sometimes so hard to make the right choice.

Arten and Pursah said I was going to be traveling a lot. It was increasingly obvious that writing and speaking, and my forgiveness of what I had to do in connection with them, was going to be my work. Only six months before, I had never spoken in public. But now, after just a handful of talks and workshops, I was about to hit the road and engage regularly in a new vocation.

I couldn’t help but think back to October of 1992, two months before my friends had first appeared to me. Things weren’t going well for me financially, and I strongly considered going back to playing my guitar, which I had done for 20 years, in order to bring in some money. I took my Les Paul Custom out of the closet, stood in my living room with it on my shoulder, and started to practice. Both of my hands and arms were occupied playing the instrument. Suddenly, and to my astonishment, I felt another hand pushing the end of the neck of the guitar slowly but steadily toward the ground, and me along with it. It was as if an invisible entity was stopping me from playing, interfering in a firm but gentle way, and giving me a message I couldn’t escape: No, this isn’t what you’re supposed to do anymore. I got the message. I didn’t know yet exactly what I was supposed to do, but after this experience, I had a feeling it would show up. Two months later I saw Arten and Pursah for the first time, and eventually found out that I was being given a chance to dedicate the rest of my life to nothing less than a way to return home to God.

On my very first trip to California, at the end of February, I went to see Mel Gibson’s just-released movie, The Passion of the Christ. I was taken aback by the suffering, brooding depiction of J and the horrific violence of the film. I looked forward to talking with my ascended visitors about it. I didn’t have to wait long. Two months after their previous appearance, while sitting in my living room, Arten and Pursah were there with me once again. As always, their appearance was instantaneous, as if I were watching a television channel and then flicked the remote control, causing the picture to change instantly. My friend’s entries and exits were very similar. It was as if they were changing frequencies or even dimensions, although I certainly didn’t want to limit them.

ARTEN: You have a lot on your mind, hotshot. Where would you like to begin?
GARY: As I’m sure you know, I went to see Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ. I’d like to talk a little bit about it.
ARTEN: Maybe a little, brother, but I think today would be best served by discussing other things.
GARY: Really? You usually talk about what I want to talk about!
PURSAH: There’s a subject we want to cover later that can best incorporate Mel’s take on the Crucifixion, but you did notice the little trick we played on you regarding the movie, didn’t you?

NOTE: Pursah had told me during the first series of visits that if I wanted to see Christianity in a nutshell, all I had to do was go back to the old scripture (they never called it the Old Testament) and read The Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53, verses 5 through 10. Their statement was published a year before Passion was released. That part of the Bible talks about a lamb being led to the slaughter, and says: "By his wounds we are healed." It’s the old idea that somehow you can atone for other people’s sins through the sacrifice of an innocent. The problem is that it was written 700 years before J, and had nothing to do with him. It was about another prophet. Later, people would try to make a prophecy out of it and apply it to J, but it wasn’t about him at all. They then took this belief, although it had nothing to do with what J was teaching, and superimposed it onto him, assuming that like them, he believed in a thought system of sin, guilt, fear, suffering, sacrifice, and death.

The "trick" Pursah is referring to is that they told me to read that section, Isaiah, Chapter 53, verses 5 through 10, knowing that the statement would be published before the movie came out. Then when I went to see The Passion of the Christ, the very first thing that Mel Gibson put up on the screen was a quotation. It was from The Book of Isaiah, Chapter 53, verses 5 through 10! What follows is a sample of those verses from the Bible, from which Mel also used an excerpt. It displays a thought system that was already in the unconscious mind, and was being expressed through the writer:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities;
Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and by his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
So he opened not his mouth.
And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death,
Although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth,
Yet it was the will of the Lord to wound him; he has put him to grief;
When he makes himself an offering for sin. . . .

Many centuries later, Saul of Tarsus, better known as the Apostle Paul, who was in deep guilt over his killing of numerous Christians, had a conflicted (part-ego) experience on the road to Damascus that caused him to take up what he thought was the cause of Jesus. Being a Jewish man who believed in the old scripture, it was not surprising or difficult for Paul to incorporate the beliefs from the above verses into his developing theology about J. This led to a religion that lost most of J’s true message and substituted it with a thought system of their own.

My experience with Passion wasn’t the first time my teachers had told me something while being aware that I would later see or hear it at the movies, which they knew was my favorite hobby. They had pulled a similar thing on me by saying, "People are like ghosts, except on a seemingly different level. They think their bodies are alive, but they’re not. They just see what they want to see."

A couple of years later, I saw the excellent film, The Sixth Sense, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. When the boy in the movie decided that it was time to tell the psychologist his secret, two of the lines he said about the ghosts he was seeing were: "They think they’re alive. They just see what they want to see." I almost came up out of my chair when I heard those lines during this somewhat scary and very fascinating film, knowing that my friends had gotten me. But I also knew that they were doing more than just playing a joke. They had managed to bring the point home to me even more.

ARTEN: Yes, we were watching you at the beginning of the movie to see your reaction.
GARY: You mean the quotation at the beginning, "By his wounds we are healed." I guess if we’re healed by them, then that would explain why Mel showed so many of them.
ARTEN: That’s the ego thought system, brother. We’ll talk more about that and the movie later. There’s a section in A Course in Miracles called "The Hero of the Dream." When we get into that, we’ll also discuss Passion and how the world’s beliefs are so heavily rooted in the body.

PURSAH: And speaking of bodies, you know that "love-holds-no-grievances idea" you’ve pondered so much can be thought of as the antidote to the body. As that lesson in the Course says: "To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body."4 You’ve been having a tough time with certain forgiveness lessons lately.

GARY: You know it. Why is it that some people seem so easy to forgive, and some so hard?
PURSAH: You’ve got to remember that the unconscious mind knows everything. It knows every relationship you’ve ever had, in any lifetime. You should also consider that the lifetimes you appear to go through are like a dance in which you play the role of victim in one lifetime and victimizer in the next. So a murderer in this lifetime gets murdered in the next one, sometimes by the same person whom they killed in the other lifetime. That’s true with actions as well as occupations. A minister in this lifetime may be a prostitute in the next, and vice versa. In fact, the prostitute J saved from being stoned to death, who was not Mary Magdalene, had helped J in a lifetime previous to that. You’re always switching roles. You may be a police officer in one of your dream lifetimes and then a criminal in the next.

GARY: Or worse, a politician.
PURSAH: Politicians have issues. Be kind to them. Then you’re being kind to yourself.
GARY: I’m trying. Hell, I even succeed a lot. I used to get irritated when a certain politician, I’ll let you guess which one, came on the TV screen. I’d react and get upset at how I perceived he was screwing up the country and the world. Then one day he came on the screen and I started to react to him, and I remembered the truth and started to forgive him. Like you taught me, that’s the hardest part . . . remembering the truth when the stuff hits the fan. So I started to forgive him and then I thought, You know, he doesn’t even know I’m watching! So who’s the one who’s suffering here? He’s probably having a good time. He doesn’t know it’s an illusion. He thinks he’s really the President!
PURSAH: Yes, forgiveness is always a gift you’re giving to yourself, not the person you think you’re forgiving. You’re the one who receives the benefits, in both practical and metaphysical terms. True, you’re acting as a reminder of the truth to the other person. All thought has effects on some level, and it’s good for the other person, too. Not that the other person is really there. I’m talking about a seemingly split-off aspect of your own mind.
GARY: Yeah, I think that’s really cool. I’m actually rejoining with myself at the level of the mind when I forgive. I’m becoming whole again. Plus, if I forgive, I don’t suffer. And if I forgive after just 1 minute instead of 30 minutes, then that’s 29 minutes of my life that I didn’t spend suffering.
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