Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. (not mine)

19 Jan

Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. (A Course in Miracles)

These lines could come in any form, any teaching, but the truth of them can set us free. More than the golden rule, this shift in perception is an end of suffering.

While Eden and I watched Divergent this weekend, I was struck with how the protagonist was able to maneuver throughout the film by recognizing that the deadly challenges were not real, and in the moment of that realization, all possibilities opened up and she survived.   While she was having these realizations in simulated environments that felt real, I was thinking how this is true for what we think of as real life.  If nothing real can be threatened, then life’s scary spots, themselves,  are not real in the way we think they are –  what is occurring is not perceived in the right way –

Sometimes in traversing our lives, we feel like unmanned sea craft in stormy and treacherous water, but as we learn to separate from the unreal, the ride gets a bit more interesting and fun.  We can still see the unreal, but the threat is no longer there.  We begin to see the shiny lighthouse beacon beneath a foggy coat of confusion.  Those we meet now can often see that we see them and they stand close to bask in spacious place we share under the umbrella understanding of no threat, ever.  This place feels like, for lack of a better word, love.   Love hands us space,  gives us green lights and printed pamphlets; love parks our cars; love soothes confusion. Love promises all of what we can see, rightly now.  Love helps us move out past the threat of harm.

We can know, for sure, that if we are feeling threatened, then we are dwelling in the unreal world of thoughts.  I may be run-over by a runaway bus tomorrow crossing the street, but still, from this perspective, I was not threatened.  I was just run over by a bus, and the larger picture is even clearer to me, now. 🙂  I may take umbrage to a comment that feels as if it belittles me in some way, but this concern for myself is a fantasy, always.  I may lament the aging of this body, the greying hairs, the stiffing joints, the puffy morning eyes, but through the lens of no threat, ever, I can enjoy the process of living in a changing reality that serves to me the experience of nothing staying the same forever – no stream ever stepped in twice.   Life seems to me to begin here, where losing is winning, and winning is just being.



24 Responses to “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. (not mine)”

  1. M.A. January 19, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Alan Watts’s “What is Zen?” and his writing and yours seem to be talking about the same thing. Also reminds me of Thich Nhat Hahn’s “No birth; No Death” Still, selfishly, I’d rather you keep an eye out for that bus. :~)

    • marga t. January 20, 2015 at 12:44 am #

      Such a nice thing to say: I hope you don’t get run over by a bus! haha:)

  2. smilecalm January 19, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    wonderful reminder
    that love is real
    despite illusions
    otherwise! 🙂

    • marga t. January 20, 2015 at 12:48 am #

      Even if
      Morpheous disagrees –
      in my matrix
      love is real 🙂

  3. Hariod Brawn January 19, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    There’s metaphysics, and then there’s physics; yet within the spheres of certain spiritual teachings, the two are conflated. Result: confusion; they just don’t mix. For example, and as doubtless you know well Marga, some schools of Buddhism teach of the necessity to retain distinctions between our consensus understanding and ultimate understanding – the mundane and the supramundane. This isn’t the same as retaining a distinction between what is natural and the supernatural though, which categorisations create an ontological separateness, the one from the other. Accordingly, most of us benefit from using a template of understanding which allows for us to continue thinking in conventional terms – as you say, “we can still see the unreal” – yet retains the possibility of revealing what lies beyond, behind or prior to those thought-forms. To speak in terms of what is ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ is one preference, one such template, and I would imagine doing so serves the same purpose. H ❤

    • marga t. January 20, 2015 at 12:56 am #

      Oh me and templates – who knows??! I am like a kid sister of a band member who sneaks on stage during the break and starts blowing the trumpet and clanging the symbols. I am the foreign movie viewer who reads English subtitles for two hours, while listening to French, who at the end of the viewing thinks that I can understand French. There once was a time where I had trouble speaking for all words seemed false to me, but my system got a bit backed up and I began to express again, verbally,knowing full well that I would always be the voice in J. Alfred Prufrock who says, “That is not what I meant at all; that is not it at all.” I cannot not hear Morpheus asking Neo, “What is Real,” in his campy way. I do so love your H ways and your wonderful way with words connecting to ideas – and also beyond ideas.

      • Hariod Brawn January 20, 2015 at 1:13 am #

        Someone came onto my site last week and left this quote from a poem: Hsin-Hsin Ming of the Third Zen Patriarch:

        “Indeed, it is due to our grasping and rejecting that we do not know the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in ideas or feelings of emptiness. Be serene and at one with things, and erroneous views will disappear by themselves. . . Deny the reality of things and you miss their reality; assert the emptiness of things, and you miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further you wander from the truth.”

      • ~meredith January 20, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

        🙂 nailed it.

      • Hariod Brawn January 20, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

        Marga did or the Third Zen Patriarch did Meredith? Both perhaps?

    • marga t. January 21, 2015 at 12:05 am #

      The words of Hsin-Hsin Ming don’t seem to contradict, to me. I think the words from The Course in Miracles are talking about the unreality of perceiving things as threatening, not that matter does not exist. It seems to me that in our Western culture, we are mapping the opposite polarity more regularly – experiencing grasping and entanglements far more than asserting the emptiness of things. Yet, I can see the middle path wisdom ringing out of the Patriarch’s words. The suffering that the belief in threat brings may be lifted by such words as found in ACiM and in this poem as well – and if they ring the bell for one, goodly. If not, I’m just borrowing the template for a little bit for my own mapping. I like the faces that appear in this mirror – reflecting back to me reactions, assertions, points of view, and truth – even if you are all a figment of my imagination (not really:)

  4. Alison and Don January 19, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

    Was just these past few days, in my daily walk up the hill and back, focusing on the lived experience that it’s all a dream, just like the sleep-time dreams, no more, no less ‘real’. The mind-made self is discombobulated, and a little threatened. If it’s all just a dream there can never be anything wrong.
    A. ❤

    • marga t. January 20, 2015 at 1:07 am #

      Life can be so very dream-like, more and more, it seems. My eyes see wobbling borders and psychedelic patterns in seemingly “normal” items which may be some signal I give to myself to wake up and remember I’m dreaming. Nothing is wrong, but I do take care with how much of this I share and to whom. Walking is a great place for such openings! xo! m

  5. Michael January 20, 2015 at 1:21 am #

    As you say, M, this teaching resides in many forms, but so often it is one in particular that temporarily rings our bell… 🙂 I still remember reading these words for the first time, after a spiritual retreat had revealed to me the staggering depth of difficulties at work inside of me, difficulties I lacked the discernment and confidence to overcome. I was prepared to make a commitment to enduring them for as long as was required, but felt as though I was resigning myself to an eternal prison. I was sort of powerless… Stuck… Unable to accept, surrender to, or cleave them aside as appropriate. I was unable to understand the appropriate course of action in the presence of my difficulties. Every little thing was baffling, difficult, impenetrable. A confused mind is indeed debilitating.

    For me, the language mattered. It shone like that light through the fog. It enabled discernment and the reclaiming of power, cut directly through confusion and rationalizing, through weighing and wondering, through doubt and uncertainty. The Divergent analogy is perfect, the one difference being perhaps, that rather than a healed perception affording one the ability to escape the difficulty, the difficulty itself is seen through the healing process to be, and to always have been, utterly harmless. The people who once seemed threatening, are witnessed as the very parts of ourselves for whom we have been searching. The tables turn. We become the missing pieces to one another’s puzzles…


    • marga t. January 21, 2015 at 12:17 am #

      Oh, how terrific in hindsight, M! This reflection here is sort of a afterward realization here too. In your wonderful puzzle, your insight offers the alchemistry of the dynamic – it isn’t about escape, but in the new perception, the original materials are transformed (or actually recognized) for the magical materials that they always were, the catalysts for change and the missing pieces too. All of this is rather abstracted – how to bring to earthy day to day??…for another day. Today was my long teaching day which leaves my brain a bit frizzily and my pillow a welcome sight!

  6. New Earth Paradigm January 20, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Hello Marga — I have always resonated with these simple words, a summation of the entire Course in Miracles. Living in Morocco made these words come alive for me. I arrived there, hesitant and suspect of the people and their culture — all my conditioned prejudices and judgments informing my assessments. Within a few weeks, I began to relax and look with new eyes at my new friends and neighbors. It was THEY who offered me that “spaciousness of love” the “umbrella for understanding.” I opened my heart and fell in love. It’s hard to explain but some of my Moroccan relationships feel deeper and more real than the ones I have with family and friends in the States. The “threat” is always the illusion. Love is the only reality. Very ironic to learn this in the country of my “supposed enemy.” Thank you for this profound message. Much love, Alia

    • marga t. January 21, 2015 at 12:22 am #

      Oh, thank you for your sharing, Alia! I loved reading about you in the kitchen with these ladies. Today in class, we read “Cathedral,” a short story in which the main character is deadened to his own life, and I so wanted to convey the power of our ability to change in any circumstance, at any time, toward openness and love. It seems the older students grasp the ideas from having been in such places and found their way out, but the younger ones have not yet walked on some of these roads. You opened your heart and you fell in love – and through the sharing you open my heart and I fall in love too! Sending love to you and Tomas on your many adventures! xo! marga

  7. Andrea January 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    Just what a mom needs to hear, this, when the world seems to be running me a bit over. I say, at least it’s not a bus! Ha! This made some space for me this morning, as I make space in a house from which I must move, to an as yet unknown location. Lots of space in that! There is something though, in the as-of-yet- uncollapsed reality of what comes next, and I feel like reading this just blasted my heart open a bit, as it was constricting under the weights of to-do lists and disorganized basements and mucus filled children. Perhaps we shall unpack a few brown boxes and build ourselves a train…..

    • marga t. January 21, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

      Oh you brave lady! I can feel the space in which you dwell, the knowing of great change, the anticipation of large tasks, and the foggy face of unknowing of details and timing at the same time. Making a train is the most fantastic magic making response I can imagine. Sending you any extra reserves that I have to aid you now in this pregnant space and then when the race flag is flown and you are off on the next adventure and in the in between time of much doing. I’ll put in a request for FL for you to the higher powers 🙂 or SC 🙂 or Chicago 🙂 or Oregon 🙂 Life….whew!

  8. Andrea January 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm #

    Funny you should say FL, as it seems to have shuffled itself into my deck of cards…

    • marga t. January 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

      how the card shuffling and deck stacking going? Too busy playing in the snow? xo!

  9. megdekorne January 24, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    What a wondrous blog filled with glowing light …A Course in Miracles , Alan Watts , comments from Michael and Hariod … I will follow and so very grateful that you opened my door today …Thankyou …xxx

    • marga t. January 25, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

      So nice to find you, too, through H and M! I’ve been haunted by your daughter poem for two days now 🙂

  10. Amanda January 26, 2015 at 4:35 am #

    This is one of my favorites from ACiM. The first sentence brings lightness to my body as I envision the explosion of the zoomed out big picture…”nothing is ever lost”. The second sentence brings laughter as I envision a rotting corpse, grinning in it’s decomposition as it plays the game of ‘death’…’illusion upon illusion”. Thank you for the reminder! xoxo

    • marga t. January 26, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

      So many powerful clues placed/planted/torpedoed on our path! So great to share overlaps with you! I had some curiosity about you yesterday, you must have felt the ring-a-ding-ding 🙂 I was wondering about your oldest daughter and her flow with “learning.” I know this is not the place – but would love to have a catch up when it is in the cards! xo!!

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