I had often heard about the creative power of our attitude, of our inner mindset, of our thoughts, especially through the spiritual mind training of A COURSE IN MIRACLES, however I hadn’t been able to use this effectively for my own recovery. Doubts always remained. Could all this be true? Could I be responsible for my entire experience – from A to Z? This felt like a slap in the face. Often it got me real angry. I just couldn’t get it.
I had already been suffering from progressive MS and recurrent depression for 23 years and to get around I had to use walking aids or wheelchairs. In the last years of this sad phase I would furthermore suffer from constipation, incontinence, fatigue and neuropathies.
All in all this whole situation felt like an agonizingly slow process of dying, losing one capability after the other. I had often tried to get up to high buildings in order to jump down and end this suffering once and for all. However the fear this might not solve a single problem of mine and would only leave tears behind, not to mention that it would really be painful, consistently stopped me.
Then what finally slingshot me out of this hell was that one night I just was entirely fed up with all this dying-business. This here was my life and I wanted to live it abundantly and be happy again, and share this with others!
What I was fed up with most of all was this constant fear that had meanwhile crept over so many areas of my life like some exuberant cancer. Fear, fear, fear, wherever I looked in my life. Meanwhile I was afraid of everything. My fear of walking seemed to be at the core of it all. Of course there also was fear of eating something wrong. There was fear of smoke, fear of white bread, fear of meat, fear of my hunching about on two canes, fear of peoples’ reaction who saw me that way, fear of falling down, fear of death, fear of life. Fear of everything!
And it was this very fear that I had cultivated and pampered for so very long supplying it with my entire life-energy that I rendered a crucial kick that night. I wanted to live and be happy again and in communication. Not tomorrow or in a week, but right now!
In deciding so, without noticing, I had finally steered my mental attitude fundamentally into the right direction. And obviously this decision was driven by such sincerity and conviction that my depression was over instantly. Not so my MS-symptoms, however I really didn’t care about them anymore and gradually they began dropping away, each day a bit more. Meanwhile for walking I mostly don’t even need a walking cane any more. And generally as many abilities as I had lost over the decades began to come back to me.
Soon I picked up the COURSE IN MIRACLES again and realized I read it with completely new eyes. There was such thankfulness I felt for this mind training that was so clear and so radical. It literally felt like being taken by the hand through this COURSE.
In our weekly Course-groups ever more clearly the Voice for God, as it is called there, the Voice of the Holy Spirit or of Universal Intelligence began speaking through me. I just had to open up and hand over the management of the group to this higher intelligence. In some miraculous way I immediately felt guided to say exactly what would be helpful for us all just at this very moment.
Sometimes all barriers dropped away and nearly our entire group would plunge into the basic oneness of all of life.
It was experienced there is this Living Stillness and Peace deep within that becomes available the more that I give myself up to it. As I see it, all true healing and recovery comes from there. It feels like a radiant inner home that is absolutely unshakable. It feels like an unlimited inner reservoir of healing and life and happiness widely open to everyone who is willing to open up to it.
So there is actually only one thing I changed to get there:
I choose happiness and health the moment something unhappy comes along in my mind. Be it a feeling of guilt or a feeling of anger or a feeling of fear or a feeling of pain. Yet different from earlier on in my life, today I’m extremely determined in this.
And whenever any kind of relapse shows up, it doesn’t take long and I remember to take this as but another chance to find back to this inner radiant home of ours and to deeply refresh and recover in it.
It is truly our mind that is in charge of the way our lives develop. Any experience – good or bad – is but a mirror in which we can learn something about the attitudes we have adopted. And if the experience presenting itself to me does not match my Soul’s wish to be free and happy and in communication, it is my attitude I have to change first of all for the good to occur again.
Happiness is not some fleeting coincidence. Happiness is a decision. Happiness is not tied to outward circumstances. Happiness is a God-given quality of the Soul and can be chosen again anytime we forget it.
The COURSE IN MIRACLES offers a wealth full of information and thought-exercises in this respect. I’d just like to point out one of them here. It’s a pivotal one:
We can mentally hand over our problems and plans and feelings and thoughts to God’s Holy Spirit that in truth we are one with.
In case we need a visualization for that, we can picture hands of light reaching toward us, and put our personal issues right in there – our problems, our plans, our feelings, our thoughts.
Generally this takes frequent repeating and time. However sooner or later one will notice how suggested solutions for our problems are being given us by the light of this higher intelligence, how our plans are being returned to us purified, and how only those of our feelings and thoughts are upheld that make us and others truly happy.
Yet particularly this inner exercise leads to experiencing that we are indeed never alone, that the Good Spirit of Life always is here with us and that we can call on it anytime.
Christoph Engen, April 11th 2015
“When a situation has been dedicated wholly to truth, peace is inevitable.” (A Course in Miracles, T 398)
In the autumn of 2007, I was deeply depressed and seriously ill. I had been suffering from a form of Multiple Sclerosis for almost 20 years and from returning phases of depression all my life. I had just turned 50 and had recently exchanged my profession as actor and breath-therapist for early retirement, which had been like the final deathblow to me. A life-long spiritual seeker, I had experienced times of harmony and ease; however, they seemed to be completely dependent on outward situations. When these outward situations changed, anger, despair, fear and, sometimes, even panic took over immediately. There had never been any genuine, permanent anchor available to me. There was just the hope of enlightenment sometime in the future.
I had tried various spiritual paths, eventually clinging to the mind training of A Course in Miracles. Some long-time students of the Course held my hand and helped my understanding along. Still, I was unable to accept the fact that I was completely responsible for the situation I experienced myself in.
Then my Course-mates planned a silent retreat in the Sinai Desert of Egypt. Despite a sheer hell of resistance, I finally agreed to accompany them, even though I knew very well that, due to my neurological symptoms, I would hardly be able to tolerate the intense desert heat, not to mention the difficulties walking with my crutches in deep sand. Yet going to the Sinai Desert was the only option I could see to get out of my horrible depression, which had brought me to the brink of suicide several times already.
What I learned in the desert was the most precious and easiest inner practice I have ever experienced. A Course in Miracles calls it “Practicing the Holy Instant” (T 309). Let me call it the technique of ‘Giving Up’. This does not mean resignation, in any form. It means to give one’s whole situation upward into the hands of God, our Source, or the High Intelligence.
The Course states adamantly and uncompromisingly that everything we feel is of our own choosing. So, if I felt fear, it was because I had chosen to feel fear, and I alone could make the decision to feel something else.
As I lay there in my sleeping-bag at night, in the Sinai, full of despair over my ruined life and health and full of anger and envy at all those ‘healthy’ people I was with, I started to practice this inner technique of ‘Giving Up’. I didn’t believe in it but, since I had absolutely no other option left, I just started. Somehow, I imagined hands of light reaching down to me and I put all my miserable feelings and thoughts into them. And, strangely enough, suddenly there was a short giggle of relief within me and immediately I fell asleep.
The moment I woke up, all my despair and panic was back, of course. However, I practiced ‘Giving Up’ again and again. And, eventually, when I returned from Sinai there was no speck of depression left in me. I knew I was healed and healthy and whole, no matter whether my body was presently limping or not, and that the Divine always was with me — as with everyone, whether they currently experienced it or not.
However, at this point, I was not really aware of the power of choice. This insight only dawned on me and it proved its efficiency six months later, again in the Sinai Desert, this time with my wife in a little hotel by the Red Sea, when I had a sudden panic attack, related to severe MS-vertigo. As I lay there in bed, stiff and frozen with panic, phrases from A Course in Miracles came into my head: “God goes with me wherever I go” (W 63)… “I am sustained by the love of God” (W 79)… “I am the light of the world” (W 102)…
These sentences were tiny points of light in the oppressive darkness that enveloped me. I clutched at them like a drowning man. Suddenly, the darkness began to revolve like a massive wheel. Amazed, I watched the whole scene unfolding clearly in my mind’s eye. The darkness was in my mind. Light arose in my mind. The choice was mine alone to make. I relaxed more and more and finally fell asleep.
When I awoke it was still night. I was able to move again, and I groped my way through the dark, tottered to the sliding glass door leading to the terrace and gazed, filled with gratitude, at the dark, empty beach and the calm Red Sea. Dawn crept in gradually. It was getting light, and in the stillness a small sparrow fluttered onto a nearby antenna cable. He hopped back and forth on the wire and chirped at me boldly and cheerfully.
Now, as A Course in Miracles continues to guide, teach and inspire me, ever deeper, my physical health situation keeps improving. My physiotherapeutic exercises are no longer fearfully aimed at preventing further deterioration but, rather, an expression of joyfully relearning neurological capacities.
And it all really started with practicing the holy instant from the Course, through this inner technique of ‘Giving Up’.
What proves to be the most effective inner act I can perform in order to free myself, in no time, from negativity — such as fear, anger, greed, or lethargy — is the following:
I take whatever I am experiencing — say some nightmare I just had, anger, panic or dullness I feel right now — and I imagine handing this over into some kind ‘hands of light’ that reach toward me from up above. That is all.
Try it yourself. Give whatever unease you are experiencing over up high. It takes just a moment. Probably nothing big will happen immediately but, if you keep practicing this inner technique whenever you think of it, eventually, things will change. Relief and happiness are bound to result.
And if you want, you can even surrender the positive and the good to the Divine. At last, you will not be keeping anything for yourself and, paradoxically, you will win everything — the indescribable peace that surpasses all understanding.
It’s only today that I realize how much other peoples’ belief in me helped me to overcome my longlasting disease.
I deeply thank each and everyone who believed in me and my wholeness and health in the many years that I couldn’t do so, be they visible or not, be they from Christian roots, from Eastern wisdom-teachings, student-teachers from A Course in Miracles or helpful freelancers.
I had been suffering from progredient MS and recurrent depression for 23 years already and to get around I had to use walking aids or wheelchairs. In the last years of this miserable phase I would furthermore suffer from constipation, incontinence, fatigue and neuropathies.
All in all this whole situation felt like an agonizingly slow process of dying, losing one capability after the other. I had often tried to get up to high buildings in order to jump down and end this suffering once and for all. However the notion this might not solve any problem whatsoever and would only leave tears behind consistently stopped me.
Then what finally slingshot me out of this hell was that one legendary night I just was entirely fed up with dying. This was my life and I wanted to live it abundantly and be happy again, together with others!
What I was fed up with most of all was this constant fear that had meanwhile spread over so many areas of my life like some exuberant cancer. Fear, fear, fear, wherever I looked in my life. Meanwhile I was afraid of everything. There was fear of walking anyway. Of course there also was fear of eating something wrong. There was fear of smoke, fear of alcohol, fear of white bread, fear of my hunching about on two canes, fear of peoples’ reaction who saw me that way, fear of falling down, fear of death, fear of life. Fear of everything!
And it was this very own fear of mine I had fostered and nourished and pampered for so very long that I rendered a definite, terminal kick in the butt that night. I wanted to live and be happy again and in communication. Not tomorrow or in a week, but right now!
My depression was over immediately and my MS symptoms gradually started dropping away. As many abilities as I had lost over the decades as many keep coming back to me one after the other, and more than that:
Soon it was realized there is this Living Stillness and Peace deep within that becomes available the more that I give myself up to it. As is experienced, all healing and recovery comes from there. It feels like a radiant inner home that is absolutely unshakable. It feels like an unlimited inner reservoir of healing and life and happiness widely open to everyone who is willing to open up to it.
So there is actually only one thing I changed for this to become accessible:
I choose happiness and health the moment something unhappy comes along in my mind. Be it a feeling of guilt or a feeling of anger or a feeling of fear or a feeling of pain. And different from earlier times in my life, today I’m extremely determined in this.
Whenever any kind of relapse shows up, it doesn’t take long and I remember to take it as but another chance to find back to this inner radiant home of ours and to deeply refresh and recover in it.
It is truly our mind that is in charge of the way our lives develop. Any experience – good or bad – is but a mirror in which we can learn something about the attitudes we adopted. And if the picture we see in this mirror does not suite our wishes, it is our attitude we have to change first for the good to occur.
When we let go of our negative thoughts about whatever and decide for the good, the Eternally Good that is hidden behind will soon shine forth and show us exactly which way to go and lead us to greater and greater thankfulness, understanding, happiness and of course also health.
I just need to remember: Happiness is not a fleeting chance, it is a decision!
As already Einstein put it:
EVERYTHING IS ENERGY AND THAT’S ALL THERE IS TO IT.
MATCH THE FREQUENCY OF THE REALITY YOU WANT
AND YOU CANNOT HELP BUT GET THAT REALITY.
IT CAN BE NO OTHER WAY.
THIS IS NOT PHILOSOPHY. THIS IS PHYSICS.
Christoph Engen, April 25th, 2014
FROM THE SOUL’S SPARK TO THE GREAT DISCOVERY
Almost a year after I had finally kicked my disease-identification with depressions and MS out of my system by rigorously deciding I want to live and be happy and sane, which had triggered such a surprising recovery from all my symptoms that today for walking I just occasionally have to use a cane, or after, so to speak, my soul’s spark had definitely ignited, one afternoon I experienced on our little city-porch what all spiritual traditions refer to as awakening.
At that time I had often watched the YouTube videos of Mooji, a wisdom-teacher in the tradition of Ramana Maharshi and Papaji, correspondingly working with a central thought from “A Course in Miracles”, that we are not bodies.
With these thoughts I sat down in an armchair on our porch for a cigarette I had just rolled. I glanced at the big houses to the right, left and in front of our little garden leaving but two 30 degree angles for looking further and toward some high trees. Okay, then I’ll let go of this body-identification, I thought to myself.
My inner self-image appeared, the image I normally see when I look in a mirror. Okay, so I’ll let go of this self-image, I kept thinking. Very gently and easily it went “puff” and I had totally left my entire Christoph-identification. No more thought of a Christoph-person separate from whatever. No more thought of a Christoph-body.
Instead of that an experience of home like never before. I immediately knew, I am all that: this garden, these houses, these windows, this sky. No more Christoph far and wide. From everything my look fell upon it said: “I!”
This was the essence of all love, the essence of all freedom and joy, the essence of all peace. It was so spectacular and yet so simple and gentle.
The brief memory of my body came back and I felt my chest glowing. The feeling of not being separate from anything however remained. Same as the knowledge that I had definitively left my body and achieved the goal of all human striving, the great, eternal “I”. No, not “I” had achieved this, that’s not correct. By giving up my “I” or by my “I” giving up itself, automatically the great, divine “I” had become the experience of everything.
In this experience no memory of my body or my person remained. Neither the least yearning for that. For what I experienced or rather, what experienced itself, was the deepest fulfillment of all that could ever be yearned for. On the one hand it happened completely beyond body-perception and yet simultaneously it included everything physical the look fell upon: houses, plants, windows, sky, trees, fronts. Everything sang: “I”, “I”, “I”, “I”.
That love is self-evident, that peace is self-evident, that freedom is self-evident, that God is self-evident, that I am self-evident, was completely beyond questioning.
And that in truth there always is only this “One”, that everything else is nothing but dreams, all way too weak to describe this “One”, to reach this “One”, to experience this “One” …
A thought appeared: “I should take another puff from my cigarette,” followed immediately by: “Not now”. I didn’t listen to this voice and took another puff.
And, puff, I was pulled back into my body sitting in an armchair on the porch …
Since then I know I indeed need do nothing else but, whenever I want to, go into this experience … Since then I feel how this experience extends by itself into my entire world and brings healing. According to rules I – thank God – do not have to understand!
My soul’s spark that had unequivocally ignited one year ago, which had made it so easy for me to follow my inner routes and inspirations – what before had only been possible with biggest effort and discipline – had unveiled its deepest core at last.
And, miracle of miracles: this spark of light is in everybody and everything! Always but accessible and free to be experienced by every man, every woman, every child, every animal, every being!
The only simple task to be accomplished is to let go of the identification with the ego as one’s real self!
Dr. David R. Hawkins
Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness, and nothing else within.
A Course in Miracles
Cristoph Engen, September 29th 2013
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