Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. Today’s guest, I believe, is going to be number batgap.com. And if you want to see more, go to batgap.com and look under the “Past Interviews” menu and you’ll find all the previous ones archived in various ways. This show is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and Viewers; so if you appreciate it and feel like supporting it. there’s a “Donate” button on every page of the site. My guest today is Mari Peron. Mari, I’m just gonna read her bio here and then perhaps stop reading it and speak extemporaneously, but Mari tells us she’s delighted that “A Course of Love” has granted her a voice in the new dialogue that has opened about who we are as human and divine beings. She feels that the wisdom of the heart, a major focus of “A Course of Love,” has, at times, been missing from the conversation and loves being able to speak for both the heart and the human. A question asked within “A Course of Love” is this: “Doesn’t it make sense that the only error possible is that of not being who you are?” Mari is called the “first creator,” excuse me, “first receiver” of this course that has been given as an extension of what was begun in “A Course in Miracles. “A Course in Miracles” was recorded by Helen Schucman in the late 60s and early words of Jesus which, since that time, have gone out to millions of people all over the world. “A Course in Miracles” was stated to be a course in thought reversal and mind training. Within “A Course of Love”, which Mari received between 1998 and 2001, Jesus calls Mari its “first receiver” and says that each person who lets it enter their heart is a receiver as well. Its stated purpose is a return to a true identity prior to the time of learning and it calls for learning to end. Mari feels that, in a world that has told us that everything we need to know can be known with our minds and/or learned from teachers, experts and gurus, we’ve often felt discouraged from listening to our hearts or trusting our inner knowing. “A Course of Love” offers a new way of knowing and invites us to enter dialogue and become creators of the new. Mari lives in St. Paul, Minnesota where she is a writer and contemplative as well as an engaged mother and grandmother. So welcome Mari.
Mari: Thank you so much for having me Rick.
Rick: Yeah, glad to meet you and it’s been nice getting to know you over the past week, listening to your recordings and reading your books.
Mari: And getting my phone calls about “Am I doing this right?”
Rick: Yeah, right, working out some technical snafus.
Rick: So what we just revealed, in my reading that little thing, is that you you kind of channeled this book from Jesus; and I know that you yourself said that; when you first were exposed to “A Course in Miracles, you were a little skeptical as to whether it was really from Jesus or, you know, I don’t know what you might have thought it might have Been, but that’s a little bit of a tall order perhaps. And so, let’s help out those who might also be skeptical and give a little explanation as to how you be – let’s say this, how did you become convinced that “A Course in Miracles was really from Jesus and how would you… what would you say to those who might be skeptical that either that book or yours are really from Jesus?
Mari: Really good question. I think what, I know what, convinced me when I was reading “A Course in Miracles” was a feeling of being known. I was absolutely astounded that what I was reading explained absolutely in the thinking that’s insane, was my thinking, you know, so it’s talking about how you torture yourself with these thoughts, you know, and how insane that is and I… but it was like he just knew me and I thought that had to be a divine knowing for someone to talk to people all over the world and have them feel the same way, to have them feel that known. And there was also something about the words themselves, like I felt it much more with my own Course, you know, that entering? But there was like a rhythm and I just fell into that. I never studied “A Course in Miracles.” I never joined a group. I think the only associated book I read was Marianne Williamson’s book. I just read it over and over, because it was like when I was reading it, I just felt like I was with Jesus. It was incredible. So that’s how I felt I knew. I think people will feel that or they won’t.
Rick: Yeah. I’m going to ask you a few short, simple questions that might be the kind of questions a child would ask okay?
Rick: So first of all, who’s Jesus?
Mari: (laughs) Well, I was raised a Catholic and, I was born in 1955. So, when I was young, you know, all the moms were stay-at-home moms and people only had one car. It’s like, the only time we really went in the car to go anywhere was to church, almost. So every week, we’d go to church. And in those early days, it was still Latin and it was mysterious; and I felt like that mystery was something that moved into me, intrigued me and it was like… From my very early age, I liked going to church. And then I went to Catholic school where they told me, you know, Jesus was my brother and my friend; and I began to talk to Jesus and just always felt that I had someone accompanying me who cared about me and loved me. And so I think part of the way I see Jesus is based on that; and other people will see it differently, but it’s, the idea of Jesus as God’s son who incarnated and lived here as a man. I think that symbology is very true to what’s going on now; that we are being called now to realize that we have that God’s spark in us, and to live that way. And so, to have one example life that said, “I am both man and God,” that feels very important to me.
Rick: Ok. Second childlike question: Where does Jesus live?
Mari: (laughs) Well, where do any of our deceased loved ones go, you know? And you feel that presence, sometimes, of a grandmothe
Rick: or somebody who – especially those who just recently died. Like, I know, after my Dad died, I kept hearing this song, this Beatles song, in my head, and I don’t know if I can remember it now.
Rick: Give me a hint and I’ll know it. (laughing)
Mari: “If there’s anything that you want, if there’s anything that you need, just call on me…”
Rick: “From Me to You.”
Mari: Yeah, “From Me to You.” And it was like in my head, in my head, in my head, until suddenly, you know, you just – you wanting it to go away and you’re not even listening to it. And then, all of a sudden I thought, “Oh my God, that’s got to be Dad, because that’s just, he wouldn’t be singing Beatles to me, but that would be his message to me. But I mean I’ve had so many experiences of feeling connected, and talked to people who’ve been connected with people who have passed on. And so I do believe that there’s a field of consciousness. And it’s not a blob field, you know. It’s… there are individual consciousness, even within the wholeness of consciousness.
Mari: And that’s where Jesus, the man, abides. There’s another part of Jesus that, in my course, is called Christ Consciousness, and so…
Rick: Okay third question, a little bit less childlike is: So you’re kind of implying that there’s a realm where Jesus resides, and presumably other beings reside there also. And we’re told, when we’re kids, Jesus lives in heaven and so on. So maybe we could call that realm “heaven” and that Jesus isn’t just sort of hanging out and playing a harp, he’s actively engaged in the concerns of humanity through people like you and many, many others who invoke him in one way or another, or connect with him in one way or another. Would you agree with what I just said?
Rick: Okay. Okay, now totally unchildlike question: NASA tells us that there are probably around 20 billion earth-like planets in our galaxy and now over two trillion galaxies in the known universe. So, if you do the math, that’s a lot of places where life potentially exists. Do you feel that Jesus has a local jurisdiction, that he’s assigned to this planet and takes care of it? Or do you feel that he is, kind of, some kind of universal spirit that is engaged in the welfare of uncountable trillions and quadrillions of planets?
Mari: Well I believe that the idea of Jesus being the son of God is, you know, that he’s the same as God. And I see God as the creator of everything. And I don’t have any problem with anybody else’s way of seeing, but that’s my way of seeing it. So, yes, I would certainly see that the whole universe is part of this loving act of a loving creator.
Rick: Okay. And that Jesus the being, the entity, the emissary of God is actually overseeing and interceding in some way with beings throughout the whole universe? Is that what you’re saying? I know this is kind of speculative, but, but you know what? When I… you know, I’m not sort of giving you a hard time here. It’s just that, I find that astronomy is one of the greatest defenses against religious fundamentalists and I know you’re not one of them, you’re not a fundamentalist. But when they start telling me that Jesus is the only way and, that kind of thing, I start I start kind of giving him a hint as how big the universe might actually be. And if we start getting into the world at 6,000 years old, I start talking about the speed of light and how the Andromeda galaxy is 2 million years away and things like – 2 million light years away. So, I put this in a kind of, a cosmic context, you know, of what we’re actually talking about here.
Mari: Yeah I believe most spiritual beings, people who are spiritual, call themselves spiritual or religious, but particularly spiritual, really feel that there is that God’s spark in them, that they are of the divine and they have a divine self as well as a human self. And so I don’t… how does that go with your question? (laughs) Yeah I just don’t see any problem with attaching that godliness that created the universe to… I mean people attach that to different things as they’re growing up, as they’re raised, as they are thoughtful and as they explore other things, and I have no problem with that. It’s just for me that is… I believe in Jesus as that one… as far as I know – and I’m not a scholar at all – but as far as I know, no other spiritual person was called the “son of God.” I think there’s kind of that. And I say, even if you don’t believe it, that symbology, that we can be of God here in form, I feel is really Important…
Mari: …especially right now.
Rick: Sure. But, I don’t know, does it say in the Bible, and if not the Bible, does it say in the Gnostic Gospels or something, that we’re all sons and daughters of God?
Mari: mm hmm.
Rick: And so that’s not a kind of an exclusive title, it’s something that could be said of anyone. Yes?
Mari: Yes, but until that time I don’t think we understood that and then, you know, but a lot of people still don’t understand that; but I think he was the example of that…
Mari: …in history. That’s all I’m saying.
Rick: That’s good and how about… I don’t know to what… I think you’ve – initially you haven’t but now you’ve studied other traditions and so on, around the world; and, there are many beautiful examples of people who are God conscious saints, you know, and God realized, and one-with-God, and spoke very beautifully and wrote beautiful poetry and scriptures and all that stuff. So, I mean… it seems like we all have the potential to be that and we all are that, essentially, and have the potential to realize that consciously; and that there’s nothing exclusive about Jesus. He was just a profound example of what’s possible. Do you agree?
Mari: Absolutely, If I didn’t make it sound that way, yes. It’s like, I think that the thing about Jesus that’s so universal is that we are all that.
Rick: Yeah, and I think he said “all these great things that I do, you’ll do even greater things” you know. And so, he wasn’t setting himself up as sort of “the one guy” that had access to this sort of realization. He was, as I understand it, trying to convey that everyone has that potential.
Mari: And still is, you know.
Rick: And still is, yeah.
Mari: Yeah, instead of seeing ourselves as limited to who we are in our human form, to see our humanity and our godliness, our divinity combined.
Rick: Okay good. So I don’t mean to give you a grilling here. I just want to lay that foundation of, you know; because a lot of people sort of have a – and a lot of spiritual people who are into eastern spirituality now – sort of have a bad taste in their mouth from their religious upbringing, where they were kind of harangued about “this is the only way.” And there have been so many wars and carnage behind that idea that just kind of establishing the broad-mindedness of this conversation here.
Mari: Yes, “the one right way” has wreaked a lot of havoc.
Rick: It has, yeah. Good. So as I gather, “A Course of Love” – I think this is a real beautiful thing that you lay out, that I didn’t know. In a sense, I’m not a very good person to be interviewing you about this or a course in people, “A Course in Miracles” because I haven’t really studied either. But you laid out something really interesting about “A Course in Miracles” that I didn’t know, which is that it seems to be largely about the mind and tends to dismiss the world as illusion, whereas “A Course of Love” is heart-oriented and doesn’t emphasize that the world is merely an Illusion. It wouldn’t just, sort of, brush it off so glibly.
Mari: mm hmmm.
Rick: Yeah, want to elaborate a bit on that?
Mari: Yes. (laughing) It feels so important because I really believe that what is happening now, we’re in a new time and astrology is telling us that and all kinds of people are telling us that we’re in this time. And I believe it is a time of embodying. It’s a time of embodying this, and that is what is going to create a new world. So, to imagine that the world is anything but holy and anything but real is something that I hope people begin to, you know… a pattern of thought that, maybe, people will begin to shake a little bit as we embrace and embody our divinity here on earth. I have met so many people, almost all of “A Course of Love” readers come to it from “A Course in Miracles.” I’ve had people tell me stories that are, I mean, of just shutting down because of that idea of the illusion. A woman told me she hadn’t cried over a sunset in years because she believed now, that was an illusion. And one man even told me he didn’t name his child because the child in form was just an illusion. I don’t know if that’s true but he told me that. (laughter)
Rick: Just name him Illusion. (laughter)
Mari: Maybe. So there were certain extremes that that idea had people going to. And what “A Course of Love” does, which I think is particularly important for those from “A Course in Miracles, is bring that back. But actually, “A Course in Miracles”, in my readings of it, and like I say, I’m no Scholar, I just read it, I didn’t study it, but I read it many times, and I never got that. I never got that sense and I think a lot of interpretations and popularizations have done that more so than the actual book. And if I had a good memory, I could tell you many passages, but I don’t; but there are many passages in “A Course in Miracles” where creation is spoken of, this world is spoken of, as beautiful.
Rick: The way I have come to terms with that whole “world is illusion” point is that it’s illusion in the sense that we’re not seeing it aright, you know, we’re not seeing it as it really is in its full glory. I mean even science will tell you, you look at anything, and you know, what… You’re not really seeing, what’s actually there. And science has given us tools to see more deeply into what we’re actually looking at and you know the whole other world that we’re not aware of, just sort of glancing superficially. So in the same, by the same token, you know, there’s so much more to be appreciated of the world that is all around us. And if we’re just, sort of, perceiving it superficially, like “through a glass darkly” as the Bible says, then we’re – in a sense, that’s illusion, because we’re not really seeing the full reality of it.
Mari: Yes and this isn’t exactly said in this language anywhere, but what I take from “A Course of Love”, and the way it talks about “A Course in Miracles” in “A Course of Love”, is that the ego’s world was the illusion.
Rick: The ego’s world…
Mari: So it’s exactly what you’re saying. The perception that we had of the world and ourselves – that we perceived ourselves as separate from everyone else, as alone, as having all these reasons to be fearful – that created our perception of a fearful scary world.
Mari: So when you see the world with love – and you see yourself with love, that’s a really huge part – everything changes.
Rick: There’s that saying, “Life sucks then you die,” and that’s, you know, there are other perspectives that are a lot more encouraging. (laughter)
Mari: Yeah. I have a sense of this being, I mean, I think humanity is, in a certain sense, like the last frontier, that we are a consciousness that grew out of creation and we can have such joy! We are creators ourselves.
Mari: As we begin to really experience the fullness of who we are, what “A Course of Love” says is we can create the new and I am very much looking forward to being part of creating the new.
Rick: Yeah well you don’t have to look forward to it because you’re already doing it.
Mari: Thank you.
Rick: The other thought that occurred to me a minute ago, when we were talking about illusion, is that, if God is really omnipresent as we’re told, and as there’s evidence for it, if you actually look closely at the marvelous intelligence and every little iota of creation, then you know the world is divine because it’s God. You know we’re looking at it, God is hiding in plain sight so to speak.
Mari: Exactly, how can God be in the smallest flea and not in human beings?
Rick: Yeah and he is in the smallest flea. Look at a flea under a microscope and look what a miracle of creative intelligence that is.
Mari: I know. I’m learning all this science by National Geographic for children and Ranger Rick. (laughing) It’s great because it’s not so complicated that I can’t understand it and I just love it. I love reading those things.
Rick: Yeah. Irene just made a noise because we’re dealing with flea problems on our dogs right now and maybe she’s questioning that.
Rick: I think it was Woody Allen that said that God is omnipresent except for certain parts of New Jersey.
Mari: (laughs) I love that.
Rick: (laughing) One thing I found really cool about your whole thing is, and you may not know this, but there are a number of spiritual teachers and traditions that actually delineate a progression from head to heart to gut in terms of awakening. Adyashanti does, uses those three terms. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi talked that way, talked about a sort of a realization of the self on the level of the mind where you realize the true nature of the self but the world is regarded as illusion; and then the heart doesn’t like that because the heart doesn’t like separation and so the heart begins to bridge the gulf and eventually creates a sort of unification between self and world in which one appreciates the divine or celestial quality of the world. Then he said that there’s another stage, which might correspond to Adyashanti’s gut stage, where true union takes place. And so, if “A Course in Miracles” is mind, and “A Course of Love” is heart, maybe you’re actually tracking that same progression that these other teachers and traditions have discussed.
Mari: It’s certainly possible, yeah. One of the main themes of “A Course of Love” is: it starts with really changing the focus from head to heart because it basically said the ego made off with everything you learned, and so we come to the heart so that that doesn’t happen. But then, as we go on, it talks about wholeheartedness, it’s one of the main themes, so that we unify ourselves from within first, we unify mind and heart. So it’s not a Separation.
Mari: We do it, we become in union within and that’s the key that gets us to being able to be more and more in union outside of ourselves, in relationship with nature, with our fellow human beings, with God.
Rick: In your own experience, in your own life, did you see this kind of progression like when you were studying “A Course in Love” – “A Course in Miracles” I mean – did you realize its potential to a significant degree experientially, and perhaps even walk around regarding the world as illusion and all; and then have a kind of a dissatisfaction like there must be more?
Mari: No, (laughs) I just loved it, I just fell into it and I loved it. And this happened to me with “A Course in Miracles” and “A Course of Love,” which has made it hard for me, sometimes, to talk about – or I think it’s going to be hard to talk about – and I usually seem to do okay, but I could never really remember it. And I have heard this now from many people about “A Course of Love”. I don’t know so much about “A Course in Miracles,” that it comes into you and you have this sense of it – you got it and then it’s gone. So… no I didn’t feel… now I forgot your question,(laughs) but I don’t think I felt the way you’re talking about.
Rick: Okay, well on this ‘you got it, it’s gone’ point.
Rick: I mean when you’re studying “A Course in Miracles,” you’re reading a book, right, or maybe you’re in a study group with other people and you’re discussing it and that’s somewhat on the level of intellect, it would seem to me. You’re taking in concepts and you’re pondering them and so on. And, you know, spiritual realization is usually regarded as being something more visceral, more fundamental, more experiential. Like, if you taste, and if you bite into an apple, you’re not conceptualizing the experience of the taste. You don’t even have to know it’s an apple. You could give it to somebody in Africa that’s never seen an apple and they’d have that experience of the taste. So, there are scriptures and books and all kinds of things which offer us things in concepts and words; and then there’s the experience that those things are pointing to, like Zen says, “don’t mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the Moon. It’s just a pointer.” So how does “A Course in Miracles” or “A Course of Love” enable one to move from taking in words and concepts to actually having a living experience that you’re going to be having whether or not you’re entertaining those concepts?
Mari: Well, I think I didn’t feel that way with the “Course in Miracles” because I didn’t study it, per se, I just kept reading it cover to cover…
Rick: Seven times.
Mari: … seven times; and I didn’t go to groups and I didn’t read the other teachers; so it was an experience for me. I don’t know how you feel about reading, but for me, reading is an experience. I mean I am in love, I fall in love like with Thomas Merton or, Roald May. I just I fall in love with these people who I read, and the books are like my best friends. And so they’re working in me, that’s the way I see it. They’re working in me. I reread books that I really like, because of that. I’ll just go over them again and there’s something there; but I don’t necessarily, I don’t study it. I don’t stop to figure it out, it’s just I know what’s speaking to me. And then, maybe, at some point, it informs an insight that I have or growth within me; but it’s not necessarily linked, which I think is one of the things – my favorite thing – about “A Course of Love” is that it’s talking about the end of learning. So it’s like anything that – what I have found – is that anything that you are trying to learn keeps you from this absolute engagement that it is when you are in an inner place, when you are accepting these things into an inner place, that’s an experience. And so how do you share, you know, without the teaching and learning model? What Jesus says, at the end of “A Course of Love,” is you share through dialogue, you share through being who you are and I always think of the… Do you remember the book Aquarian Conspiracy?
Rick: Yeah I remember it, I don’t know if I ever read it.
Mari: Just vaguely, well I had it for years too and didn’t read it and then when I read it, I was like… it made me… it was, like it was that time, I believe of maybe 60s, when people here were really finding spirituality for the first time and they were – what was being done was they were sort of collecting these and everybody was just like agog and excited about what was happening. That excitement was so wonderful to me and I I believe that’s what happens. It’s like you get something, you get something that calls you to your spiritual path. Something happens inside of you. Well, that’s the beginning. That’s you being touched by it, not intellectually. It’s like your heart feeling a calling to a particular thing. But then, if you then go and try to study the way, I think a lot of people get trapped in that. They’re going to… they’ve got an arrow and they’re going to shoot it towards achieving that goal and it becomes something else.
Rick: mm hmmm.
Mari: It’s about “the way” rather than what they started out to have, you know?
Rick: mm hmmm.
Mari: And certainly many people are different than I am and so are really finding much value in the different teachings and stuff. But I really love the idea of letting us remove ourselves from that way of learning. We were taught our whole lives – we’re taught our whole lives that we don’t know enough. We don’t know enough to whatever it is, fill in the blank, and so, by the time we’re mature, you know, we’re listening to people telling us how to pray and how to parent and how to run our lives. And what a spirituality of the heart gives back is our sovereign right to know. It says, “You know, you can know, you can remember what you don’t know.” That’s precious to me.
Rick: Yeah, and I think that’s congruent with what a lot of spiritual teachers have said. Like you say, a world that has taught us that everything we need to know can be known with our minds and or learn from teachers, experts and gurus. We’ve often felt discouraged from listening to our hearts or trusting our inner knowing. But I think any teacher or guru worth his or her salt is saying, “Hey I’m giving you some pointers here; but you’ve got to discover this within yourself, to really experience it; and I don’t want you to just hang on my words. I want you to explore within and see whether this is true in your own experience.”
Mari: Of course, I’m not saying the teachers are doing anything wrong, but it’s like the approach you know?
Mari: So I’m going to become awakened. I’m going to become enlightened. And there’s this sort of… I say like, if you are trying to achieve something, you almost always, at the spirit level, you fail. You know, it’s not like… People talk about awakening, and I think my most awake place is when I first open my eyes in the morning and I often have a really wonderful insight just waiting for me there. It’s like it’s wakeful but not in our usual terms of wakeful.
Rick: Well, that’s actually, that’s something that’s actually discussed in spiritual literature that there’s a sort of a gap between major states of consciousness; and you can have intuitive or deep insightful experiences, as you go through that transitional gap period. They talk about expanding the gap ‘til one’s whole life is lived in that gap, even though you’re going through the cycle of waking, dreaming and sleeping. You can continually, consciously reside in what they call “Turiya,” or fourth state, that lies beneath, or is fundamental to, all the changing states.
Mari: Cool! (laughs) Like I say, I don’t know that much about these things. But I follow my instinct in a way. I had my husband build me this cabin out behind our yard and I just – I get up in the morning and I spend my first hours there I don’t do well in busyness. They are trying to take things in mentally now; it’s just a distraction.
Rick: No, I think you’re doing great. And I don’t think you could have done this whole “Course of Love,” channeled it, if you had been all caught up in your mind. You wouldn’t have been a fit receptacle for it.
Mari: Yes. There was one story I can tell you about. When I first started, there weren’t chapters; and I had gone through what became, the first 19 chapters. And by this time, I was doing it every day, at any time I could be alone, I would go and I would work on it. And then on Sundays, I would share it. So it was being shared all along. Anyway, so one day, I go to my computer and I don’t hear anything and I don’t hear anything and eventually what I heard was, “You can’t go on with your thinking mind.” Those were the first words Jesus spoke to me personally (laughing), was “You can’t go on with your thinking mind.” Because, when “A Course of Love” began, It just began and it was those words that began “A Course,” they were the first words I heard, this, “You can’t go on with your thinking mind.” And I was paused for several months that were absolutely horrible for me. I was, I felt very tortured in that time. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing, that “how do I still have any mind left,” (laughing) you know and… But anyway, then what follows that is the most beautiful chapter of the Course called “The Embrace.” Almost everyone finds that that’s the most beautiful chapter. When he came back to me, he said, “Now you are entering the embrace, the embrace of love.” And it’s just, it’s a poetic chapter and it’s the first time he speaks of the loss of the ego. He says, “There’s no longer any ‘I’ of the ego,” and so there’s this progression of, from that point on, more and more to… he kind of begins talking to the ego; but by halfway through, he says right out, “The ego is gone and you have to accept this because if you don’t accept that the ego is gone, you’re going to have these two selves. You don’t want that, you don’t want to stay divided.”
Rick: So, he says, “The ego is gone,” but what if the ego isn’t gone? I mean what if a person’s ego is very much intact and we probably ought to define ego in the course of answering that question because there are a lot of definitions.
Mari: Well my favorite is: it’s who you think you are, or it’s the inner teacher who’s always telling you what’s right and wrong and judging and all of that, making you feel guilty, or all the fictions that you tell yourself, the things that aren’t true. Those kind of things are the way I describe it. And you know, I’ve had people ask me that question like, “how can it be said that you have left the ego behind just by reading a book?” And I said, “Well if you’ve just read the book, you probably haven’t.” So what Jesus is saying is there’s something that happens, that if you let this enter your heart, if you’ve let it come into you, and it’s probably the biggest thing that I felt is the difference with receiving the words of Jesus was it was impossible to stand apart. It was impossible to stand apart from them. As people read and feel that, I do believe that they lose that ego-self and the Course’s definition is more like “the self who believes it’s separate and alone.” So you really couldn’t have taken in “A Course of Love” and still believe that you’re separate and alone.
Rick: If you’ve really taken it in.
Rick: There’s more questions I could ask you here now but I think – let’s take a step back; because I’ve heard your history many times, having listened to a number of your interviews and so on, but people listening to this, unless they’re already a follower of yours or a reader of yours, don’t know much about you in that sense. So it’s kind of interesting to trace back how you got started on this whole thing. You were an administrator at the University and then you had these two friends and one of the friends got, they both got pregnant, and why don’t you take up that story, just to sort of bring us up to speed on how you ended up doing this.
Mari: Sure, well as you said, I was working at the University of Minnesota and these two women that I worked with became pregnant within days of each other so they were due at the same time. But then, one of them had a healthy boy and one of them had a baby girl named Grace who died when she was five weeks old. And it was that experience, we were already close, but in more of a normal friend way. But when Mary lost her baby, we were just existing in this… we were three women working together. We had this room where we were together, and there was just this tenderness, a sort of palpable tenderness, that we were exuding, just to be together in that time of loss for Mary… just trying to be – or not even trying to be. You just become gentle in a situation like that. And so I believe that that began it. But then, as Mary began to have these questions about her baby’s death and where did we go and why would this happen to a baby, we all began to explore spirituality in our different ways. I was reading Joseph Campbell and I can’t really remember, but we would all then we would, we’d go to work in the morning and we’d bring these things that we were reading or feeling or the dreams that we were having back to the table. And we would spend our first little bit of time in the morning talking and began to find out that we were having very amazingly similar insights and even at times experiences. And so, that reading led me to pick up a book, I can remember it so clearly. I was at the University of Minnesota’s bookstore and I bought several books, and I got attracted to a cover of a book that was called “Ask Your Angel.” And I normally wouldn’t go in for anything like that, but anyway, I bought that book, and I kind of regretted it. But I started to read it and it said that you could talk to your angel and that was my first experience of hearing beyond my senses, an angel piece. And I was in the basement of my hundred-year-old home and I wrote this little note to the angel piece. I keep a journal. I always have kept journals, so I was writing in my journal, and said, “Will you speak to me?” and I heard the words “Smell the Sweetness.” And a smell like lilies wafted over me which could come from nowhere in my old basement which smelled very musty and…
Rick: And it’s worth noting that you weren’t too far from the cat box.
Mari: Yes. (laughter) R: The litter box. M: (laughing) You heard that then.
Rick: (laughing)Yes I heard that.
Mari: I won’t say that again. Yes, I was, I was close to the litter box. So that was the beginning for me and I was kind of bowled over and it was really… I mean I know people back then particularly thought this was just a great thing, you know, but I was almost a little embarrassed by it. It’s like, I don’t know, if I had really given it thought, if I would have tried (laughing) if I would have thought it was going to come through, I just I don’t know. It was like this very unexpected thing that happened to me. And then there were many instances from then on where the knowing that I came to with this angel was pretty miraculous and it helped people and it expanded my way of knowing. And so that story was published; and just after it had been published, I had the dream that called me to “A course of Love.” And the dream was, “you can no longer sell your mind for money. Your mind belongs to God.” And I struggled with that for many months, just sort of trying to dismiss it and it wasn’t easily dismissed. And then I approached my husband about it. I didn’t tell him I wanted to work for God because I had just published these books, and so I said, “You know, it would be a good time for me to expand, to do more writing.” And so he agreed that I could leave and I gave my notice and left at the end of March.
Rick: I think you said you were getting to the point where you couldn’t work anyway because your mind wouldn’t work anymore; and in that job, it wouldn’t do what it was supposed to do.
Mari: Honestly it felt like a biblical affliction. I just – I’d always been a really good worker and really prided myself on my work and I was like, I couldn’t do it anymore. I kind of got forced you’re right I got forced.
Mari: I was trying to make the story a little bit shorter.
Rick: Oh, that’s ok. I think that’s a significant point, actually.
Mari: You do?
Rick: Yeah I do. And I’ve had things like that too, but it’s sort of like, if we’re… there’s a saying, how is it? “For the wise, only an indication is necessary.” And we’re not all that wise, some of us, and it’s kind of like, “All right, an indication doesn’t do it, let’s give you a little bit of a nudge.” Then, “Okay, a nudge doesn’t do, it how about a good swift kick in the pants.” (laughing)
Mari: I know I tried going down in my hours. I tried bringing my work home. I mean, I tried so many different things because I had these great friends at work. And I, of course, was making money and we’re a working-class family and… But it turned out, I really had to leave, you know.
Mari: And then I didn’t know what my work for God was. I never once in a million years dreamed it would be a Course in – a new “Course in Miracles,” which is how it was put to me when it came. I had no thought like that even ever entered my mind.
Rick: Right. You said you’re going talking to priests and like “what am I supposed to do for God?” and that kind of thing.
Mari: (laughing) Well I didn’t tell them Yeah… I mean, to tell anybody that, except for your close spiritual friends, that God wants you to work for… it sounds so insane. And so I just went to my priest and kind of said…
Rick: What can you do?
Mari: … I was ready for something, and I ended up teaching CCD religion for a year. But I also was introduced, from that visit, to Centering Prayer, which I practice and I know you had Thomas Keating, on…
Rick: I did.
Mari: … which is wonderful. So when you look back, that’s such a fun thing. So, for now, for me, it’s been almost 20 years. It was 1998 when “A Course” began to come, so 18 years. And when I look back, you can really begin to see everything…
Mari: …you know, how it all fit together, and how it made what happened happen you know…
Mari: … that you couldn’t see at the time. It feels like you’re doing the stupidest thing in the world, in a certain sense and then, you know…
Rick: Yeah that’s interesting isn’t it? You gain trust in divine guidance because, in retrospect, you can see how it works.
Rick: Yeah. So okay, so you quit your job and you went through a kind of a doldrums period where you weren’t quite sure what you’re going to do for God and all that; and, you know, the money was running out and this and that and so, how did the “Course of Love” finally kick in? What was the final impetus to get that going?
Mari: It’s so funny because I’ve been trying to find some of my old journals from that time, to kind of put myself back there. And I did find – the computers and everything have changed so much – but I found this one typed journal entry, like 50 pages, from the month before “A Course of Love” came. And I was so at the end of my rope. My husband had lost his job and I was feeling like I was going to have to go get a job and I didn’t want to do that because I felt like that would be giving up on this idea. So I did a couple things. I returned to “A Course in Miracles,” which is one of them. I put it away for a while and I opened it up and my eyes opened, it was in the back “The Manual for Teachers,” which was always, my favorite part. And my eyes fell on the words “help is here.” So that was very comforting to me. And then, I had also spent some of my time, during my days off, going to church. Again, it was sort of my idea of having… I’d like to get up early and I would go to this 6:45 Mass, which was very short, and me and some old ladies… I wrote about that in this Journal. The two days before I heard about “A Course of Love’s” coming, there was this gospel about the woman with two copper coins and the message was, she had to have total trust in God. It wasn’t just giving what she could afford. It was having this total trust. And then, the next day, this one I hadn’t remembered, the actual day that I heard about it, the sermon was about endurance, and how you need to wait patiently. (laughs) I mean it was just like they were speaking to me, you know? So on that day, it was the 25th of November, and I got that thing about endurance, after getting trust the day before, so I’m thinking “okay, I can hang out a while longer.” And it was my friend Mary Love’s birthday and Mary Love was the Mom of the baby Grace who had died and she is still my soul sister friend.
Rick: Yeah I met her a little while ago.
Mari: Yes you did, she’s helped me with technology, thank God, she’s good at that. So she came over for her birthday and we were talking just about, first about, you know it was November 25th, we were talking about normal things, you know, ordinary Thanksgiving, Christmas stuff like that. And then we began to talk with more depth and eventually about our dreams. And she told me she had just had a dream in which she saw a new “Course in Miracles.” And that was when I began to take in the idea that this was what had been trying to get through to me, was because of her sharing that dream. So that was November 25th. On December 1st, I was ready. And I sat down and the rest is history, as they say.
Rick: Did you sit down knowing that you were about to ascribe “A Course of Love?” Or did you just, kind of, you’re just sitting there and all of a sudden, you heard a voice?
Mari: Well after Mary left that day actually… in my journaling – and I’d had this happen with the angel piece, where I would have a voice come in when I was journaling – and I heard “this was an announcement made to you this day that…” and it was very short. It was like three sentences; “this was the announcement made to you this day, ‘A Course in Miracles,’ a new course” – something like That – “a new Course in Miracles.” And so then I knew it was coming but I was very doubtful in a certain way, because I thought to myself, “Who would want a new ‘Course in Miracles?’” It was like, it was, it had meant so much to me and I knew how incredibly devoted to it people all over the world were. And I knew Helen took seven years, I’d read her story in “A Journey Without Distance.” And so I thought, “What am I letting myself in for?” and “Who’s going to want it when I’m done?”
Mari: So I went through those things which my humanity was considering, me and my humanity was thinking about. But I knew, even as I’m thinking about it, I knew I was going to do it, if that’s what it was; and so on this day, on December 1st, which was interestingly, in terms of the church, it was the beginning of Advent, the time of the coming of Christ. And we get the symbols that match us, you know, so I was getting these symbols that matched me. And I waited a very short time and there were those big old computers then and the cursor seemed to blink so much more than now and and it wasn’t long at all and I heard the words Tthis is a course in Miracles. It is a required course,” and I knew it was Jesus, and I fell to my knees and it was very powerful. And the best way I’ve known to describe it is I couldn’t stand apart from it, it was in me, and that is a powerful thing. And when it’s direct, it’s more powerful than when something comes in you by reading, it was a powerful thing. And then, I got back in my chair and it began.
Rick: mm hmmm.
Mari: And it was like hearing thoughts I wasn’t thinking, like it wasn’t an audible voice, it wasn’t a male voice; it was just like these thoughts were coming and I would type them. And I would… You know, it’s called “receiving” in “A Course of Love”. Jesus calls me “the first receiver.” It’s… ”receiving” isn’t passive. I bet a lot of people think that that’s a passive thing. It’s not passive. It’s a very intense, attentive sort of listening and if I can kind of show, it’s almost like I would quiver, between things, with this, this coming on, like it was almost there and… You know it doesn’t sound like much of an experience, but it was a great experience. And I would, at times, find myself, rocking. I would suddenly… I would have been typing for a while and all of a sudden, I realize I’m I’m like this and I’m rocking this and my heart is beating really strong and I can feel it in my ear. You know there aren’t a whole lot of exciting things to say about typing (laughter) “A Course,” but these are some of the ones that alerted me and also that… that complete cessation of time. I mean I would forget to eat. I actually became sick because I forgot to eat. So, there were these different manifestations of the state of being so absorbed.
Rick: Yeah, it’s very, I think it’s a very genuine experience and you’re obviously a very sincere person and it’s not without precedent, I mean, most of – the good portion of – the world’s revered books and scriptures were cognized in one way or another, and almost, we could say channeled; and not only spiritual things, I mean, people like Mozart. He would just cognize a whole symphony in a flash and then he would have to take many hours writing it down; but he had the whole thing in one nutshell, that it just would come to him as an inspiration. And I very much, it doesn’t matter what I believe, but for what it’s worth, I very much believe that there are these different strata of creation and various intelligences residing on various levels; and we may not be aware of them, but they may be aware of us, and that they may actually be playing some kind of role in helping us not blow ourselves to bits. And certain people are receptive enough to be go-betweens, you know.
Mari: Yes, I think it’s… For me, people call me a channeler or a scribe. I consider what I have done closer to mysticism, to that sort of state of being; and and also, because I always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t have ambitions that were other than writing and I think…
Rick: You’re a good writer. I mean I’ve read a lot of your stuff now it’s very well written. So, obviously, if you couldn’t write to save your life, you wouldn’t have been a very, really a suitable person to do this. (laughter)
Mari: Maybe not but you know it’s… I think, like the works of the mystics, it’s like they got absorbed in this experience and then they tried to share it…
Mari: … and that trying to share it is usually, is very often done in writing.
Rick: Yeah sure. And a lot of, again, a lot of the world’s great epic spiritual tradition texts, like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, were both just, sort of, cognized, one by Veda Vyasa one by Valmiki; and they just wrote the whole thing down But they are supposed to represent real events that these guys were able to, sort of, tune into and cognize. So anyway, there are probably hundreds of of examples of this thing happening throughout the ages, and so there’s no reason why it should be any less valid or significant in our own contemporary time.
Mari: I think so too.
Rick: All right, so we’ve talked for an hour about, you know, some philosophical points and about your history and everything leading up to “A Course of Love.” And we’ve alluded, a little bit, to what the emphasis of the “Course of Love” is, as opposed to the “Course of Miracles.” But it’s 700 pages long and I’m sure we haven’t done justice to it. So do you think it would be a good idea for us to spend a good portion of the remainder of our time laying out what the “Course of Love” has to offer, what it’s all about?
Mari: How about if I tell you what I love about it?
Rick: Yeah, great.
Mari: Yeah, yeah. There’s certain things about it that I love more than others, you know, as is true for all of us. The wholeheartedness was a big one. I have a feeling with that more down to earth than a lot of things and of course… (laughing) Back in 2001, when this first came out, nobody was talking about love, you know, it was all more eastern and it was mindful and it was… I don’t know, this was very unusual. Now I just… people like Brene Brown, who talks about wholeheartedness and authenticity – so it’s got this, these certain things, that have a flavor of bringing it back to the person. And that’s one I believe – Wholeheartedness – is that combining of of everything and… One of my favorite quotes from A Course is “be true to love and you can’t fail to be true to yourself.” And you could say it the other way around, “be true to yourself and you can’t fail to be true to love.” One thing that I didn’t mention yet is that, when “A Course of Love” was done, Jesus called me to be a companion. He said… I asked him, and I always sort of wished he would give me practical answers, especially when I was done with the book, I thought maybe he’d say what to do with it; but he said “be a companion to those willing to leave hell behind.” And I had trouble with that for a long time until I began to see hell as not being who you are. I think that’s the hellish part of life so “be a companion to those willing to be who they are, who they truly are.”
Rick: Yeah. So who are we truly? Is it something that can be described?
Mari: Well I’m really fascinated by our humanity. It’s like, this doesn’t show up as the same thing in everyone. It’s the divine showing up as Mari, and the divine showing up as Rick. So, it’s as we go on in the books, in the treatises, there’s a treatise on the personal self where we begin to hear a little bit more about who we are in our humanity. Jesus says, “I love your hair, your eyes, the shape of your skull.” It’s this bringing back of the love and of our tender hearts. There’s a whole chapter on tenderness, on the time of tenderness, And… so there’s a great range of acceptance of feelings and most of them are of the gentle and loving feelings, but as we progress and move into the dialogue… so there’s like a demarcation line between I see it and partially because it was one of the other times I was given a directive while I was Receiving. So there is “A Course of Love” and then there’s the treatises which have four treatises, a treatise on “the art of thought,” a treatise on “the nature of unity” and its recognition, a treatise on “the personal self” and then a treatise on “the new.” So when we get to it, when we were coming in between a treatise on “the personal self” and treatise on “the new,” Jesus said I had to quit everything that I was doing in terms of I was working on editing what I’d already received, I was meeting with “A Course of Love” group already, it started right away. I had to leave that behind to be totally in “the new.” There’s this whole, there’s this… What Jesus calls, “the new” is very undefinable and it’s just, it’s sort of moving us from the concentration, before – which is really about getting rid of the old, which is like, it’s like scraping paint to get rid of all the things that we’ve been conditioned to our whole lives. Then, as you move to “the new,” it’s more like putting on the new paint and you’re getting Fresher. So that is… I just fell in love; that was my favorite part of the book – most of the time it is. But it talks about the beginning of creating a new world and how that future is yet to be predicted; that there is no there’s no real plan for this, as we’re going into a new time. It talked about the people being born into Christ Consciousness, a new sort of consciousness, that they wanted to learn directly because this was all about this movement of being in very direct contact and knowing the divine in us as us. So now, instead of telling you the parts I really loved about those, I’ve just given it a quick one. And then – but the dialogues, I loved all of the dialogues. I know in that journal, in some of my journal entries I found things saying well, I didn’t really get it, until until the dialogues. I was working too hard you know. it was like I was… there was this… But once it got to the dialogues, it was like everything opened up and it’s what happens with dialogue, the sense of being in communication, like you and I are in communication. There’s more of that sense with everything that that comes in the dialogues and and also there becomes a greater acceptance of all of our humanity, even things even feeling things that we don’t think we ought to feel you know we’ve been so burdened by this thought that we are these thoughts and Teachings. For instance, here’s one I can give you. I still get nervous public speaking; that’s not my Forte. So the old idea of ego is that, “if you’re nervous you still have an ego.” Okay so I’ve been told these things over many years and people, very tender-hearted People, have been told “that’s your ego,” because they’re anxious. Any feeling almost that wasn’t bland and banal was the ego in those communities. What I am very excited about, when we’re in the dialogues, is this acceptance of even feelings like anger. It’s like we don’t have to have an ego or a false self or not know that we’re in union; that feeling anger doesn’t mean that we have fallen out of anything. It means that, usually for me, it means I have not been true to myself. That’s usually when I get angry, I haven’t been true to myself. And so, what I love about it is because I knew so many people who’d experienced so much pain with the old way of talking about it.
Rick: Yeah I think what you’re alluding to here, and I think you address it in some of your writings, is: there’s a tendency and – I don’t know about it, maybe “A Course in Miracles” also – in the sort of neo-Advaita area, to dismiss all this human stuff, you know like Feelings, as illusory and is not worthy of our attention or consideration. It can end up in a rather cold-heartedness. “Oh, your baby died, meh, just an illusion. The baby didn’t exist Anyway,” or “The baby’s in a better place,” or whatever, without really engaging in the human feelings that would naturally accompany such an event. There’s a lot of teachings which emphasize over and over and over again that there really is no – you’re not a person, there is no person – the the sense that “there is a person” is part of the ignorance. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, Francis Bennett, I don’t know if you’ve watched any of his interviews, “Of course you’re a person. You’re not just only a person.”
Rick: “There’s more to you than that.” It’s like saying to a wave “of course you’re a wave, there you are. You’re just not only a wave. You’re also this ocean.”
Rick: There’s a deeper, broader dimension but it doesn’t – that broader dimension – doesn’t negate the individual dimension. In fact, there’s a whole thing we could go into about the personal and impersonal aspects of God. Even God has a personal aspect as well as an impersonal aspect.
Mari: Yes, yes. So those, I just felt, those were the things that were most in need of being said, the acceptance of feelings, acceptance of our personhood. There’s a wonderful- wonderful sections on creativity. He uses creativity to talk about some things; but it’s like inviting back our, I think, creative.. creativity and godliness, creativity and divinity, creativity and soulfulness. They all go together so much. So, it’s great credence given to our ability, to be creative and to be creators. There’s a wonderful wonderful section on – very short – about the way of Mary. The feminine I mean I really think the whole of “A Course of Love” is leading into the feminine energies. The idea of Mary comes in here, with Mary having birthed Jesus and that, because we’re doing this birthing now, we’re doing this birthing of “the new,” we’re birthing ourselves anew. We’re birthing a new time. I’m excited to be part of this time. But it’s an… So this idea of Mary gives us an incarnational side of things that what – and that other example of what we’re here to do, we’re here to birth the divine into the world – it all and that… Also, the way of Mary – I’m sorry, I’m probably being terribly an ungood interviewee now, I’m jumping around too much, but….
Rick: That’s all right.
Mari: The way of Mary also addresses those who aren’t called “to do.” I don’t think it’s only those…
Rick: Addresses What?
Mari: Those who aren’t called “to do,” how people can feel, if they don’t have a calling, if they don’t have some particular thing to do, and they feel really bad about that. They’re always waiting for it. “A way of Mary” accepts those who are not called “to do.” and there’s … like the old anchoresses and the women were anchoresses back in Christianity and mystical it was sort of a mystical state but we’re told that those are the way of Mary anchor this new reality. I believe that what is happening, as we begin to get this influx, it’s more – it’s almost like, to me – a collaboration. We’re collaborating with the divine to create “the new” now. And it’s different, you know, my sister doesn’t understand this. You know there are you’re like you are. Jesus calls us forerunners of the new. We are forerunners of the new; and it can be a difficult position to be in; but as we actually see that we’re creating new states of being As I received “A Course of Love,” I created a new state of being in myself, and we do that. We create these new states of being and then we anchor them in the world. What somebody said was, “Reality is no longer our reality.” We have that reality.
Rick: Yeah. I often feel in my own life, that it’s like… I don’t know this metaphor just came to mind. Like when you paint, you’re painting a wall. You have to dip the roller or the brush in the paint and then you apply it to the wall. And after a while, it runs out of paint; and so you dip it again and you apply it again. I kind of feel like that’s how my days go. I happen to have a meditation practice but there’s other ways people can do this; but I always feel like I’m just getting infused with the divine energy, if you want to call it that, and then spend my day applying it in some way; and then get another infusion and then apply it. I don’t know, do you like that metaphor?
Mari: Absolutely. R: Does that sort of fit in what you experience?
Mari: Absolutely, yes I do.
Rick: You spend your time in the cabin in the morning and Then, I’m sure, you derive deep sustenance from that; and then you’re able to transmit that or convert that into something that others can benefit from.
Mari: Yes and it’s also, I mean this is kind of a newer idea to me, but it is also creating… it’s like, just being there in meditation, just being there sitting is creating this new state of being. And it suddenly felt different to me in the last year or so that this is – we’re getting these pockets of this new state of being all over the Place, and that’s really kind of what’s happening in the world, and we do anchor something. We anchor something by allowing them and by being. however we nurture that in ourselves and others.
Rick: So do you feel that the world is headed for a much brighter time because there’s some new state of being or some age of enlightenment or something dawning? And is there anything in the “Course in Miracles” about that, that predicts it or describes it?
Mari: There is, there’s a wonderful line again I can’t remember.
Rick: I said “Course in Miracles,” I meant “Course of Love,” but either way.
Mari: There actually is one in “A Course in Miracles” about how… I wish I could remember, but anyway, it’s a beautiful quote about how heaven and earth will be as one, Basically. And I think people take that, can take that, to be the earth will pass away for this combining to happen. But with that, combined with the “Course of Love,” I take it that heaven and earth can come together. I do think that these structures that the ego has created to protect and conceal and deceive and all of that, they’re going to have to come down probably before we get better.
Rick: And when you say “structures,” you don’t just mean in the individual, you mean in the society, economic structures and political structures and stuff like that?
Mari: Yes, so we might you know there is certainly nothing that says we won’t have a harder time before it gets better.
Rick: The darkest hour is always before the dawn. So I was going to actually ask you if you had any commentary on the current political scene, but you’ve just, sort of, made one. You kind of feel like things are all as well and wisely put in that; and the way things are going could very well result in the kind of crash and burn and or phoenix like destruction and re-emergence of a better world or something?
Mari: I think that deception has to come to light, and the way that we’ve been deceived and are deceiving ourselves and letting ourselves be deceived by the structures that are. I mean I think that has to come to light and I think it is. This is a perfect opportunity for that to come to light for what is not kind, not humane. And one of the things that I have seen. We really are just beginning, my husband and I, beginning to recover from our financial decline that started when I left my job, and we were on the Obamacare plan. And that went up, like it doubled this last year. When we first went on that, it was like no one seemed to understand what it felt like not to be able to afford health care. No one understood how difficult it was made by the program and this sort of thing. I don’t mean this in any way like I’m glad this is happening to people. It’s just that, I believe so many people are beginning to see the effects of this unkindness – this is the way I call it, the unkindness – to leave people without being able to be insured or to have the cost so high they can’t be insured. There’s so many things that have gone on in the last, really since the recession, even despite our Obama years, that have made the world harder and harder for people.
Mari: And more people are feeling it. So the only good I can see in that, is that we all have a sense of what the poor have been going through for a long time, and a greater sense and a more Personal… You know, if you’ve never been there, it’s really hard to have compassion for those who need to be seen and heard.
Rick: Yeah. And even some of the poorest people in our country are kind of wealthy by comparison with a couple billion people in the world.
Rick: They really… and we’ve all heard these statistics, how the top 100 wealthiest people in the world possess more wealth than the bottom 80% or some such thing you know. So there’s this great inequity and you know tremendous suffering while others have so much more than they could possibly need. I’m reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King at this point which is the “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”
Rick: Hopefully… When you start getting into political topics like this, it gets very controversial and people become very polarized. But I think what you’re saying here is really apt, which is important, which is that, you know – – and it connects with your whole theme about the heart and awakening of the heart – is that we really need to feel the suffering of others. I mean, that’s a a basic tenant of just about every religion. If we’re really feeling that, how could we possibly allow so much suffering to continue in the world? There’s something wrong with this picture that needs to be remedied.
Rick: Okay we’re going to continue talking about what’s in “A Course of Love” but Marie from Boulder sent in a question and I do want to ask people’s questions as they come in; and this is related to something I was asking in the beginning. She said, “Is the Jesus that you channeled a being separate from yourself or simply an aspect of your own deep mind? How do you know?”
Mari: Hmm. Well I would guess it’s a good way to put it but you know it would be like having a conversation with each other and there are two voices; and even if that voice comes into me, there is an awareness of the two voices. So yes. I believe Jesus is a being and that the Christ in “A Course of Love” language, the part of Jesus that is universal because of being that oneness with the creator, is, like I said ,that’s called Christ Consciousness. Not that we’re walking around with Jesus in us, but we’re walking around with Christ consciousness in us. I often call it “a spark of God;” that or “our divinity.” But yes, I did feel Jesus as… a… and not even…. of course… When I’m receiving “A Course of Love,” this is stuff I didn’t know.
Mari: There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t know. I always use the example of the word “treatises,” because I went and looked it up. I thought I knew what it meant but I wasn’t sure, “What’s a Treatise?” you know? So it was not me as I know myself for sure. But I’ve had conversations with Jesus. I had a lot of conversations with Jesus for the first five years after “A Course of Love” was published and then he told me it was time to start relying on myself and I didn’t have as many with him. But he’ll pop in now and then, when I’m journaling, very distinct voice. I know other people who hear from Jesus and their Jesus is not my Jesus, because we’re always different in relationship. This is the thing. It’s like you talking to me are different than you talking to your wife.
Mari: So we’re all different in relationship and that’s to be prized, not to be used as “Well it can’t be, because it’s different here and different there.” No. But union in relationship is a huge teaching of “A Course of Love”.
Rick: Yeah. One comment I just want to make is that, you Know, you strike me as being very – this is my personal editorial opinion here. You strike me as being very sincere and sweet and genuine. I’ve spoken with some people who are into channeling, both on and off Batgap, who… I don’t know. I have a feeling there’s a lot of them there, a lot of ego there, which is undoubtedly filtering or altering or coloring whatever it is they’re channeling. In fact, I sometimes suspect that they’re not channeling anybody; they’re just kind of tapping into some level of creativity, and within themselves, and coming out with a whole bunch of stuff. So I think you’re an example of someone whose kind of sweetness and innocence make her a reliable source for this kind of wisdom. It’s like I don’t get the feeling like you’re really in the way of what’s coming through.
Mari: Yes I really had hoped Jesus was going to inspire me to write something on my own. (laughter) You know what I mean? It’s like that’s what I kind of thought what I hoped it would be. I mean I wouldn’t do anything but it was like I was hoping. And I was writing during this time, but it was awful, trying too hard and I was writing this awful stuff. But that was really what I hoped I had no aspirations to be a channel or a scribe or anything like that. But I do like being called “the first receiver,” partially because it also includes everyone else in being I too I have met people you know um I really didn’t like having my work lumped with people who would help you find your cat you know? There’s a reverential part to this.
Rick: Yeah so in other words somebody who might help you find your cat or help the police solve a crime or something has its value; but they’re like Psychics. They’re sort of not necessarily picking up on anything Profound. They’re just picking up on some information which you could get through your ordinary senses, if you were in the right place.
Mari: Yeah it’s like all those things are Fine, but they’re not the same. They’re not the same as this. and to just lump it all… it’s sort of like anything that’s sort of extra sensory gets sometimes put in this one category.
Rick: Yeah. Well, that’s like saying put… lumping all forms of music together and saying that the Sex Pistols are the same as Beethoven or something. (laughter)
Rick: Does it sometimes amaze you, when you look at this 700 pages and think “Holy cow, how in the world did all this come out through me?” Yes, it does amaze me. (laughing) it was, I think it changed me so much. I was called to an orientation of solitude Afterwards. I felt briefly sort of elated and then… It’s actually about living in the world again, after you’ve done something like this, you know being able to? I understand why people leave and I always had this fantasy, you know, of a monk’s life or something. But I am married and I love my family and that love has informed my spirituality tremendously too; so I got the next best thing, with this cabin in the woods. But it was very very hard for me, my sensibilities changed. I can’t go shopping for an afternoon. I shop as quickly as I can. I can’t take noise for very long. And so the effects on me are… I mean, I’m still normal you know. I mean I talk to myself as “ordinary,” you know. I’ll go have a drink now and then or something and I just can’t take too much. It’s really sort of the feeling was like it was so much, and it’s still so much, that I just need all this quiet time to hold it.
Rick: Sure, yeah. You became more refined through the process; And, therefore, your taste became more refined and your interest became more refined. And, you know.
Mari: That’s a nice way to put it.
Rick: Yeah that’s why…
Mari: I like refined, that’s lovely, thank you.
Rick: Sure it’s like, I don’t know, metaphors keep coming to Mind, but like if we have a hammer and chisel or something, we can break rock with it. But if the chisel is refined to the point where it becomes a scalpel, then it’s no longer really suited for breaking rocks. you know. It needs to do more delicate tasks.
Mari: Yes, that’s nice. Thank you, I like that.
Rick: So what more do you want to tell us about “A Course in Love?” If you’ve have an opportunity here to let people know a little bit more.
Mari: Well I would just kind of… I started on the end of learning and and then dropped it; but I think that’s … I remember one time somebody saying, “well do you mean you never read anymore? What do you mean, ‘the end of learning?’” And it’s the beginning of coming to know. The end of learning is the beginning of coming to know. And it’s not about anything specific and that’s the really hard thing. It’s sort of like okay I want… It’s about the knowing itself, and that – it’s a hard thing to talk about; but it’s about the knowing itself… to begin to trust in your own Knowing, this is a really huge thing. I absolutely love that Jesus ends on dialogue, so that we go from teachers and learners to sharing in unity, and to being in dialogue with each other In fact I watched some of your talks. I watched the one where you were talking at Berkeley or wherever you were talking.
Rick: Out in Berkeley.
Mari: I loved you because you weren’t trying to teach me anything. You were sharing who you are, your curiosity, your ideas. And so this is sort of…
Rick: You should have seen me 30 years ago. (laughter)
Mari: What were you doing then?
Rick: Oh I was teaching. I was talking about stuff that I hadn’t experienced (laughter) and being rather proselytizy and probably a pain in the ass for many people.
Mari: (laughing) Okay, you get it then. Yeah so that’s what I’m saying is “I love this move. I love this move that’s being made.” People, of course, will still try, you know, “to do,” teaching, and to do things the old way. But I think the more we move to dialogue – it’s kind of a time-honored thing to be in communication; but also with this understanding that this is happening to more people in the world; that we’re becoming these conduits, the more we share. I just had this wonderful thing happen to me the other day. I was sharing with a guy from – there’s a group in Santa Fe – there’s about 60 groups around the country now. I haven’t, I’ve been… With the ones I’ve visited, I don’t see teaching and learning going on. There’ll be somebody who facilitates; but then people are very lovely – lovely about sharing. I was telling him that what I’ve been hearing lately is “Only do what you want to do.” it’s like I’m telling this guy “Only do what you want to do;” and it’s kind of contrary to the way that most of us love, (laughing) you know? “Only do what you want to do.” I was still marveling over this and… I have actually been contemplating that because then, of course, it calls you, “What do you want to do?” But he said to me, “Well that sounds like ‘A Course in Miracles.’ There’s this chapter in the ‘Manual for Teachers’ that talks about trust and I think that’s in there.” So I went to it and I’d forgotten this, that it had – it kind of lays out this – like you were talking about some of the eastern traditions. They lay things out; and when you get to this certain point, it says, “and now the teacher of God does what he wants to do.” It’s as simple as that. I was like, “Oh my gosh!” you know? So these things are always combining. But that sharing, when I share with people, they almost always share with me something that will lead me to something else, something that I need to hear in that moment. So I really am excited about dialogue; and always excited about things that remind me how much I loved “A Course in Miracles,” and that they are kind of, of one piece. I think when people – in fact, it’s really wonderful now, there are some groups that are combining. They’ll take passages of “A Course in Miracles” and passages of “A Course of Love” and have that as their focus. It’s incredible how much differently people begin to hear “A Course in Miracles” when it’s combined with “A Course of Love.”
Rick: Is there a certain faction of “Course in Miracles” people who see you as some kind of a renegade?
Mari: Yes, (laughing) yes there is. Usually it’s kind of fun, that I usually get warning, somebody will say “Don’t read this review on Amazon,” or some of these people who like to criticize will email a lot of people; and so somebody else will say, “Don’t read this from so and so because…”
Rick: It’ll hurt your feelings or something.
Mari: Yeah, I don’t know that would hurt my feelings, but I’d rather not read them. So people are kind that way to do that. But I’m really really excited that “A Course in Miracles” community is beginning to accept “A Course of Love,” because this is clearly an audience that Jesus intended. He said, “I prepared them. I prepared them with ‘A Course in Miracles’ and now…” you know. I don’t know how much you know public speaking and that kind of thing I do, but I will be going to the “A Course in Miracles” conference this time next yea
Rick: and I will do everything I can to be sure that we can bring… I mean I can’t do everything, of course. I can’t change people’s minds. But I will do what I can on that end and I am very excited. I’ll wait until you ask me.
Rick: Well I was wondering. In the beginning, we were talking about how Adyashanti talks about head, heart and gut realizations, and there are other parallels to that, in other spiritual teachings. I was wondering whether you think there might be a… just as “A Course in Love” is sort of a sequel to “A Course in Miracles,” I was wondering whether you think there might be another whole thing that might come out, either through you or somebody else, that would take it a major step further?
Mari: I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.
Mari: I think we’re always, we’re always growing, we’re always evolving into further realizations.
Rick: Yeah, so I’m glad you said that, because I wanted to ask you a little bit more about this “end of learning” thing. I feel that I’m always growing and evolving into further realizations as you just phrased it. So in that sense I feel like I’m – there’s no end to learning. But I guess when you say “end learning,” you’re sort of meaning “end” in the sense of taking stuff from authorities that we’re not necessarily experiencing ourselves; and that we really need to put it into that kind of dynamic and just really know things in our hearts directly and cognitively or sort of viscerally, directly, experientially. Is that what you mean by that?
Mari: Yeah, that was very good phrasing.
Mari: Thank you.
Rick: There’s somebody who sent in a question Michael Kantos, he said – and this could perhaps be thought of in a more broad way – he said, “Any advice for those of us looking forward to meeting with you in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia on February 25th?” Thank you, Michael, Center for Contemporary Mysticism.” And we can broaden that out to say people all over the world who are listening to this, who may or may not end up meeting with you, any advice for them?
Mari: I have begun to … I really didn’t before; because of the groups that we’re eager to for
Mari: but I began to say to people, “Why don’t you just read it once, just read it straight through without Applying, without going to a group, without applying any thought or effort anything? Just let it enter you, just let it wash over you. And of course you can do that anytime. It doesn’t mean that you have to do that the first time; but if you’ve already read it, you might read it the second time. If you’ve read it in a group, you might read the second time, just reading it through and letting it begin to have this flow that pulls you in. But that was one thing I was about to say when I said, “I’ll let you ask me.” I am very thrilled about – this is my last presentation this year. It’s going to be in Philadelphia at the Center for Contemporary Mysticism. So one day I’ll be speaking with “Course of Love” people and I also am going to do, I get to do, an hour on the more broader topic of mysticism and it’s the first time that I’ve been… had the opportunity to do that so I’m looking forward to both of those very much.
Rick: What kind of things are you going to say about mysticism?
Mari: (laughs) Well, I’m going to talk about all the things that drew me to mystery. You know I always try to speak of things in a way that lets everybody else know that probably they have already felt these mystical tendencies in themselves. It feels, to me, like it seems too hard, and I know… as a young person entering spirituality, I couldn’t afford to go to teachings and all of that and probably why… I already said my books are my friends. I think we’re all natural mystics or born mystics and we probably have memories of mystical experiences. And if we can bring those forward in ourselves, we can begin to have that sense of “we’re not different,” you know? There isn’t a separate category of people, necessarily, called “mystics.”
Rick: It’s funny because, when you were younger, you used to love to read mystery novels and you wanted to be a writer of mystery novels and you ended up doing this; and in a way, you’re writing about mystery, but it just has this whole spiritual orientation now.
Mari: Very different and you know why? The main reason I wanted to write Mysteries (laughing) was because I knew, even then, I never wanted to promote myself. It’s like, I wanted to be this famous writer, but I didn’t want to have to be selling myself all the time. So I thought – there were all these serious mysteries at the time – so I thought, if I started a serious mystery, there’d just be people there, waiting for my next book. I just have to write. I wouldn’t have to do anything else. (laughing)
Rick: Yeah. So you said that this presentation you’re going to give in Philadelphia is your last one of the yea
Rick: but it’s only February. You’re not going to give any more all year?
Mari: Yes, I was at the Course in Miracles conference in Vegas in April this year and I’ve been traveling.
Rick: This year meaning last year?
Mari: Yeah, last year, so ’16. I decided I would give it a year, this trying a more public life; and so I visited with a lot of groups and that kind of thing. So this will be my final one and I’m going to take a pause. Whether it’ll end up being a whole year, I don’t know, but I am going to take a little pause. You know, the whole message of “A Course of Love” is “You have to be who you are.
Mari: You have to be who you are. When I get too busy, I feel like I lose a part of myself. So I’m going to give myself some time and just kind of feel into what the next things will be.
Rick: Yeah, you know what you might enjoy is, rather than flying all over, giving a talk here and a talk there, you might enjoy doing a retreat every now and then, where you’re in a really beautiful retreat kind of setting; and people come there and you spend a whole weekend with them, where everybody can really settle in.
Mari: Yes, you know I haven’t even really thought about these things, different ways that this could be done; and so, I’ll take some time and do that. I know a lot of people who I’m sure will give me some good ideas.
Rick: Yeah, you know another thing is that some friends of mine do these kind of webinars using “Zoom,” which is a certain kind of software, and they have 20-30 participants who are scattered around the world; and they have a nice little thing for an hour or two with these people, in the comfort of their living room, just as you’re sitting now. So that kind of thing would also be a way of connecting with people without having to race around.
Mari: Well that’s one of the things that I’ve done with this interview with you which is arguably my … this is my greatest exposure, so I really appreciate that, that I could do that from the comfort of my home. I bought about three mics and all these different things to get it set up right, to get what worked for me because I do realize this is one way I could share. It might be more comfortable.
Rick: Yeah, well hopefully …
Mari: You can reach a larger audience too, you know, you can talk to people all over the world, which is amazing.
Rick: Yeah, I know it’s neat isn’t it?
Mari: We have many Translations. The French translation is done now, the whole book, first one of the whole book. We have a very active group beginning the Spanish translation. It’s Actually, it’s almost done. The first round of it is done, so they’re refining it now and getting ready to publish. It’s being translated into Norwegian, Swedish; and I’m going to forget something and let’s see… Dutch and Japanese.
Mari: Wow, that’s great. Here’s a question for you, just to jump back into the fray here for a second. Does Jesus or does the “Course of Love” discuss reincarnation at all? And the reason for that is I have a question about it that somebody sent in but I wonder if that’s even in your lexicon.
Mari: It’s really not.
Mari: It would probably … I have never really been interested in it, it’s not in the “Course of Love,” so I don’t really have much to say. You could probably answer it better than I, but in terms of “A Course of Love”, no, it doesn’t say anything specifically about reincarnation.
Rick: Okay, the reason I asked someone from France sent in a question about whether souls we kind of evolve up through various species to higher and higher Expressions; and Eventually, become enlightened beings. But we don’t need to discuss that, if it’s not really your bailiwick.
Rick: Yeah. All righty, well I hope you’ve been enjoying this, I have. Any final thoughts you want to express? They don’t even have to be final, if we get come up with more ideas; but I don’t want to just belabor this, but if you have something you really haven’t had a chance to say that you want to leave people with, or you want to be sure to get in?
Mari: You know, I don’t know what I’ve said. (laughter) That happens to me too, you know. It’s like, “I don’t know what I’ve talked about so I’m probably better to quit while I’m ahead.”
Rick: Without resorting to memory, just Intuitively, what do you feel moved to say by way of a wrap-up point?
Mari: Oh, just to encourage everyone to look at their lives with the eyes of their heart; and to know that you have a greater knowing, probably, than you allow yourself to get in touch with. Let yourself begin to get in touch with that and then let it expand into the world.
Rick: Beautiful. Okay, I’m glad I asked you to do that. That was nice. Okay, so let me just make a couple of wrap-up points. I’ve been speaking with Mari Perron and as always I’ll create a page on batgap.com that will link to her website and her book and anything else she wants me to put there; and you’ll be able to get in touch with her and so on. This interview is part of an ongoing Series, which has been going on for about seven years now, which I hope will continue for many years to come. If you would like to stay in touch go to batgap.com and you can sign up to be notified by email each time there’s a new one. And also you’ll see there’s an “At a Glance” Menu. If you click on that, you’ll kind of see a quick summary of everything that you’ll find on the site; things such as signing up for the audio podcast and everything like that. So go to batgap.com. Next week I’ll be speaking with someone named Nicola Amadora and the week after that Duane Elgin and on and on. It’s really a joy getting to know these people each week and talking to them. I love it and I hope all of you are enjoying it too. So thanks Mari.
Mari: Well thank you and can I please my publisher by telling people that they can find the book?
Rick: Yes, please.
Mari: Yes. It’s available, of course, on Amazon but at bookstores too. If you can’t find it there ask them.
Rick: You have a copy on hold up there? And I’ll be linking to the Amazon page where your book can be purchased also. I’ll be linking to that from your Batgap page. There it is.
Mari: There that is. Yes and there is now – Rick benefited from this and I didn’t even think of it, because it’s so new, I’d kind of forgotten.
Rick: That was a great little thing.
Mari: It’s a resource.
Rick: Yeah. It’s an overview, written by somebody Else, but it’s a nice little synopsis.
Mari: It’s also for people who read it and would like to introduce it to a friend, this would be very nice.
Rick: Good place to start.
Mari: The website, can I tell?
Rick: Yes, anything. Sure.
Mari: There’s two websites www. Acourseoflove.org and also www.centerforacourseoflove.org and there’s different things on each of them. I would hope you might visit both. I do a blog. There’s also, on the Center site, there’s a concordance that can help you find… a search facility, which is what I use more than the concordance. I want to follow a theme like “the well of spirit.” I can go in there and tell them what “well of spirit” and and find all the references to that. So I think that’s something people really love to hear about. And then I am going to be in Philadelphia. You can find that out on the events page of Course of Love’s website and that will be February the 25th and 26th.
Rick: Good, and I’ll link to these websites from your page on batgap.com, in case somebody’s listening to this while they’re driving or something they can’t really stop and write that down. Just go to batgap.com and you’ll see Mari’s page. And, if you’re listening to this three years from now, the page will be buried under many other interviews; but you can always do a search in the search box. We also have an alphabetical index of all the guests and you can easily find her page and go to her websites and link to her book and all that stuff. All right well thanks Mari. I really appreciated it and great getting to know you.
Mari: Same here I heard great things about you too. It’s like, “Oh Rich and Irene Archer.” Great, well thanks, and thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. We’ll see you next week.
Mari: Absolutely. Thank you.
Rick: You’re welcome.
Mari: To everyone.