THE HEALING POWER OF
A COURSE IN MIRACLES
A student’s way from Depression and MS to Healing and Awakening
For the end of June 2010 Ian Patrick, the editor of Miracle Worker Magazine, and I had planned a talk plus seminar for me to give in London. My old pal Felix, who had already saved me from burning in the Dead Sea, accompanied me.
Exactly the day we left for the airport there was a sudden onslaught of intense summer heat. I hadn’t expected this at all and at that time was still pretty bad in tolerating hot weather. When we eventually arrived after not being allowed to leave the plane for hours on end due to heavy flight traffic at Heathrow I was knocked out completely. And it was hot! My head was buzzing like mad and my legs were pure pudding. Fortunately once again Felix took wonderful care of me, getting our bus-connections in London straight, carrying our entire luggage, partially with the help of a darling Indian airport-employee and running around like a marathon man. I kept wondering why the heck I had to do this all. This whole trip was on an entirely voluntary basis!
The night Felix and I spent in a rather small king-size bed that I had already been pretty critical about and I remember how suddenly his big arm landed trustfully on my chest as if he believed in his sleep I was his girlfriend. My eyes shot open wide, I turned away from him and the next moment with a boom I landed on the floor.
Fortunately the next morning my strength came somewhat back and since it was still rather fresh outside also my good spirits returned. This changed pretty fast though as it got hotter and hotter. In the evening I was supposed to give my first London-lecture at Ian’s “miracle café” in the first floor of Neal’s Yard Salad Bar.
Gosh, it was hot! Holding on to my two crutches I tottered to the venue and even though there were quite some people sitting outside in cafés I had to pull out my uribag to find relief for my nervous bladder squeezed into some narrow house-niche. What a drag! And the topic of my lecture was “Forgiveness: Key to Healing, Plenty and Happiness” …
When I had finally climbed up those few stairs to the first floor again my head was buzzing feverishly and I just felt like going to sleep. No way. Some thirty people were already streaming in and the place filled up quickly. Five minutes before the lecture started I decided to go to the tiny unisex-restroom and try to empty my bladder much as possible so it wouldn’t mess up the evening. As I stepped out of the restroom a young lady was coming in at the very same time. We greeted each other nicely and with my left hand still holding on to the doorframe for balance she closed the door shut. I screamed out like crazy. My fourth left finger hadn’t had the time to get out of the way. Of course the young lady opened the door practically the moment I yelled out loud and apologized deeply and I put on a forgiving, friendly face however I intensely felt my poor fourth finger pulsate in pain. The cold water from the tap I tried to cool it with was lukewarm and even without glasses I could see the fingernail turn red.
It really hurt! And there I was sitting surrounded by those dear London-Course folks and took another look at my pounding finger. The fingernail had turned purple meanwhile. I was sure this was going to last long. But somehow I must have dropped this thought and while Ian Patrick spoke his welcoming words all of a sudden the pain was gone. I couldn’t believe it. As I looked down at the finger there was just a small lightly reddish spot to be seen on the fingernail. And absolutely no pain!
At the end of my little talk a wonderful lady stepped to the center of our gathering, Merle Forbes, and sang a capella the spiritual „On my knees“. I was moved to tears. And I believe we all were.
Yes, all there really was for me to do was to surrender to the Divine …
THE POWER OF DECISION
“Every disease is a musical problem,
every healing a musical solution.”
Almost immediately after our return home I fell back into the mental state of a little overburdened and panicking child. Several difficult situations had come together in my life and I felt sheer panic as to how on earth I could ever handle all this. A state of massive depression followed and lasted for over two years.
Due to this depression almost immediately my health situation got worse. The neuropathies in my feet that I had gotten used to meanwhile began to spread all over my legs and all the way up to my bottom. My incontinence got so bad that I hardly dared leave my four walls. I was pursued by constipations and especially from late afternoon on my legs shook with spasms. To get rid of this horror and be able to think clearly again and happily would only work the six, seven times I succeeded to follow my inner guidance and stay up a whole night and the following day. However soon as I went to bed again I felt my old fear creeping in again and take over and the next morning my panic and disorientation was worse than ever before. Hadn’t it been for Evi who kept life running for the two of us over this entire period, I would have been lost. Whenever she left home in the morning to go to work and I heard the door shut behind her I felt like a prisoner in his dungeon.
So again I had gone to the desert. However this time it was the planet of desertedness in the universe of my mind.
The laughing apple
“I decided to be happy, because it’s better for health.”
What finally slingshot me out of this hell of depression once again was the insight that I myself was the one and only cause of all this horror. And I had had plenty enough of all of this panic and fear and these rotten MS-symptoms! It was one day before my 55th birthday.
A good 53, 54 years before as a baby I had been in a little crèche under my grandfather Paul’s beloved apple tree marvelling at the beauty all around me.
I had felt so relaxed and so very well protected by my grandparents’ and my parents’ love …
During this legendary day two very dear elderly friends of ours, Elisabeth and Manfred, had taken care of me during the day time since Evi had had to go to the hospital for a foot surgery. I had been very afraid of how on earth I would be able to deal with these three days with no skirt to hide behind. All day long Elisabeth had driven Manfredo and myself through the Bavarian countryside and I remember how moved I was to see there were still cows around and meadows and villages and beer gardens and normal people leading their normal lives. Over the two years of “imprisonment” within my four walls I had been sure I would never be able to get out again and lead this kind of a normal life and enjoy such wonderful little human delights as going to the country.
Back home alone this night and after finally ending an eight day antibiotic therapy due to a bladder infection my spastics too returned back to “normal”. The antibiotics had worsened these spastics tremendously from evening on all through the night, sparing me but one or two hours of sleep. So this night promised to be less crampy and shaky. Near midnight I watched a wonderful documentary on a tour by the musicians Konstantin Wecker and Hannes Wader und from deep within me I felt my WILL TO LIVE wake up again!
I was so fed up with these depressions, I was fed up with these pains, and I was fed up with this jerking of my legs! I was so completely fed up with this entire MS! Fed up, fed up, and fed up with all that!!!
And 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 be alive and happy again.
Next noon Evi returned from the hospital. It was my birthday and yes, I truly felt born again!
Eight weeks later I had recovered considerably from my MS symptoms and there were still three apples on the little apple tree of our small city-garden. The one laughing apple had already fallen to the ground and so had his follow-up apple with less distinct smiley markings. Over the weeks those laughing apples had continuously reminded me of God’s face that unflinchingly showered me with its smile and I am sure some of the apples in my grandfather’s garden had smiled at me just the same …
By the way: When I once again had a bladder infection three or four weeks later I reacted beautifully to the prescribed antibiotic.
How to free ourselves from suffering by decision
Since I know him I have been fascinated by my friend Michael Ostarek’s tinkling toes. Whenever Michael gives one of his talks on the Course, his toes are often moving about and tinkle and play with each other as though they were dancing to some inaudible music. How does he do that? From my perspective this is entirely a question of his spiritual alignment.
A Course in Miracles teaches very simply that we DECIDE – not only once a day for the rest of the day – but each and every MOMENT. What do we want to experience? In fact totally independent of how this moment appears to our perception, our senses, our body. No matter whether we are critically ill or fit as a fiddle, no matter whether we’re just exhaling our last breath or whether we are in the middle of experiencing birth of one of these fascinating lifetime dreams or whether exactly those are just breaking to pieces. How will this very moment be judged by our mind? Do we evaluate this present moment from the point of view of Love or from the point of view of fear? These are the two alternatives open to us. And for one of these we have to decide, if we don’t want to fall into confusion and depression.
This coherently means that depression, that confusion is a decision. We are just hiding the fact that we do DECIDE each and every instant most of the time very skilfully behind the fogs of what we call the subconscious. Then we say for instance, without being aware of this self-deception, “I really couldn’t help it.”
So what else is depression but a subtle camouflage of our truly free, all encompassing, Universal Spirit?
What we decide for in a depression is precisely to not decide at all and just suffer. Because we haven’t decided, we have very well decided thus leaving the steering wheel to our old, familiar reflexes, and the ship of our life now wallows guidelessly about in the ocean of life. We then believe we are at the mercy of this wallowing and talk about the power of tides or of weather or fate or the pharmaceutical industry or of evil powerful politicians, parents, teachers and so on.
By then we have definitely forgotten that it’s ourselves who MUST be steering our wheel when we want our lives to run well. To be able to jubilate “Oh happy day!” we have to decide so and decide so this very moment.
Or we decide for fear. This also is a decision! Not chance. And of course we will experience the effects of this through and through. Why? Because life follows our decision. At every moment. This consequently means:
At every moment we CAN undo a decision for fear, suffering and unhappiness and in turn decide for the good. At every moment we can decide to be happy. Independent of the apparent outer circumstances. Why is this so? Because we are independent, free children of the big living picture, free children of the Universe, free children of God, if you want to put it that way.
And the moment we make this decision, we already begin to hear the music of real life. We already begin to hear the voices and songs of truly living beings and spirits throughout all spaces and times: of Jesus, of Mary, of Einstein, of Feldenkrais, of Mozart, of the Beatles and so forth and so on.
And then of course our toes start to tinkle!
Because those highly musical informations make our entire body happy and just want to dance! And in case our body just has to sit straight or keep quiet, why then his toes start to dance. And everyone with eyes can see that and everybody can feel it and start to hum this glorious heavenly music along and be happy too.
Because this music is coming from truly living beings from the real world. And because the Holy Spirit who always sounds and speaks together along with our great ones IS pure music!
And soon as we hear this music of His automatically every moment turns into what it actually is:
A gift of immortal life to ourselves, to immortally living beings …
A HEALING POEM
This poem originated from an experience several months ago, when I took a rest on our terrace from intense business with various texts and an aching heart. I was afraid I might suffer a heart attack any moment. Through the experience, where this poem is coming from, my pain was gone within a short time and I could take some relaxed breaths again.
As I found out later, this poem has, the deeper you go into its thoughts, a healing capacity indeed. I have had the experience, that it can be applied helpfully to all sorts of restricting and frightening situations.
The hush of Mary cools my aching, burning heart,
her love comes streaming through my dark.
While Jesus’ hands relieve my shoulders from behind,
putting to ease my troubled, busy mind.
The while my legs and belly feel a Chinese master’s touch,
they never had relaxed that much …
And from above comes Heaven’s kiss,
oh what enormous, time- and space-less, happy bliss!
FROM THE SOUL’S SPARK TO THE GREAT DISCOVERY
There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is the realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you.”
A Course in Miracles
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, the spark of my soul 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, marvel of marvels: this soul’s spark is in everybody and everything! Always but accessible and free to be experienced by every man, every woman, every child, every animal, every being!
“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
THE BEST EXERCISE
“WHEN I AM HEALED I AM NOT HEALED ALONE. And I would bless my brothers, for I would Be healed with them as they are healed with me.”
A Course in Miracles
This is, I am sure, the most helpful thought concerning all kinds of diseases. It took me a very long time to understand how necessary it is, to stop concentrating on my own important disease and strive for its healing, but instead concentrate on the healing of others. Here is what Michael Ostarek wrote me just recently in an email on this subject:
THE TRICK TO BE SICK
… Being sick means above all: I am the one who is sick, so my needs are most important! And this is totally logical for the sick.
The healing process requires a different look at this issue:I will find my needs in someone whom I perceive as being different from me. And I will ask for help in order to help him. So I can love my brother as myself.
What’s that for?
Now the Holy Spirit can enter a relationship, because there is a temple for Him. And you can give your brother what you will receive for both of you.
This love will heal, because two cannot be sick.
Blessings all the way home
P. S. It’s not the words but it’s the experience.
This is where the Course generates all its healing power from! Up to now I’ve been mainly concerned with my own getting better again and although I shared my recovery-experience with as many people in need as possible, still my walking ability hadn’t gotten completely back to normal again.
Now since receiving this message from Michael and since I concentrate much more on other peoples’ recovery in my thoughts and silent good wishes I clearly can sense yet another big step in my own physical recovery. It appears this has been exactly the last missing link.
Michael himself had not been so well, when he started helping me. After two heart-attacks he had developed a painful form of neuroborreliosis. He had told me about it, however I can’t remember seeing him complain and beside he would usually jump around like a youngster. Obviously I had been one of his “guinea pigs” as to practicing his belief in other peoples’ wholeness and health no matter how sick they appeared and in silently wishing them well.
© Christoph Engen, February 2014
English videos for recovery via:
MS-TV MÜNCHEN Christoph Engen (on YouTube)
Older German version of this text via:
Desert Miracle in Part 1 translated by Katrin Potticary and Barbara Fairlight
Translation assistance for the other chapters by Andreas Pröhl