Friday, September 30, 2011

The Ego's Need to Punish

If you’re drawn to captivating movies, rent The Painted Veil, starring Ed Norton and Naomi Watts. Based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham and filmed in China with breathtaking scenery, the movie beautifully exemplifies the tangled dynamics of the ego and the miracle of forgiveness.

Ed Norton is Walter, an English doctor specializing in epidemiology and heading to China, while Naomi Watts plays Kitty, a British socialite, eager to escape her stifling family. Walter asks Kitty to marry him, knowing full well she only accepts to get away from home. Walter has the ego expectation of getting her to eventually fall in love with him, epitomizing the ego’s need to “get” love rather than to “be” love.

While in China, Kitty has an affair with a British diplomat, and Walter, enraged, lets loose with the full force of ego vengeance. She asks him to let her quietly divorce him, but he refuses, giving her a choice between two options: he will divorce her on the grounds of adultery (this is 1925 and a woman would be ruined); or she can follow him to a cholera-infested area of China. When Walter’s ego does not get what it wants, he has a compelling need to punish and persecute Kitty, in spite of her apology and appeal for mercy.

Kitty, feeling trapped in the typical ego scenario of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” follows Walter to the cholera-stricken region, where he proceeds to ignore her, refusing to exchange even common pleasantries. Kitty eventually confronts him and says he can’t go on punishing her forever, and asks if he hates her. In a moment of truth, Walter admits that he doesn’t hate her; he hates himself for ever loving her and wishing she’d love him.

Walter’s admission that it’s his own self-hatred begins the process of dismantling his ego and illustrates this line from A Course in Miracles: Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified (T-6.I.16:5). While Walter blames Kitty, he can justify punishing her, but when he quits projecting his guilt, he starts softening toward her, and she responds in kind. This leads to a profound and inspiring forgiveness lesson as they face the dreaded cholera.

Whom in your life are you projecting blame onto? What would happen if you took that blame back and forgave both that person and yourself? You might just experience a miracle, as Walter and Kitty did.

Love and Light, Lorri Coburn

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Forgive the Poop

When my dad started dipping his hand into the toilet, I finally lost it. “Dad! We don’t put our hands in the toilet!” I threw the towel on the sink in disgust, ran into the other room, and cried. The sobs rose up from deep inside me. I couldn’t bear to see what had become of my dad, the person I had admired most in my life, reduced to a demented old man who thought nothing of having poop on his hands and clothes.

When I came back in the room, my dad sat naked on the toilet and tried to console me. “You seem really upset, Honey. You’re simply too picky. I love you, but your problem is that you criticize and criticize.”

A wave of love for him washed over me. He’s so sweet, and has no clue that it’s his craziness that’s sending me over the edge. His inability to discern poligrip from toothpaste. His willingness to wear clothes with poop smears on them. How he sits on the toilet to urinate, while still wearing his pants.

I ran out of the room to cry again. I tried to use words from A Course in Miracles to pull me back to center. “My only function is forgiveness. This world is not real. I accept Atonement for myself.” But they weren’t working. I couldn’t stop crying; I couldn’t stop making it real. I could see that I was totally in ego, but could not get out.

The rest of the day, I just distracted myself, because trying to get anything productive done was worthless. When I got home, I found blood and cat claw holes on my couch, which flipped me over the edge again. I threw something against the wall, knowing it was soft enough to not do any damage, but still feeling guilty for losing control. I prayed for help again, and got the idea to watch a comedy show. That finally did the trick, and the ego’s grip loosened.

I feel so guilty when I get irritated with my dad, especially when I know he can’t help himself. I also feel terribly guilty about my rage, which resurfaces occasionally. Part of me knows that I’m the One Self, not the personality Lorri, but when I identify with her nasty traits, it’s not pretty.

As I calmed down, the truth of A Course in Miracles started seeping in. The Course teaches us that our one function is to let go of the illusory world, stop making it real. These thoughts came to me: “It’s not my job to be a good daughter, it’s my job to forgive the image of the father with dementia and the daughter who’s frustrated. It’s not my job to be patient with wiping poop off my dad, it’s my job to forgive the poop. My only job is to choose to see a forgiven world, something I cannot do from my ego thoughts, but can do with my Right Mind. Focus on the love between my dad and me, not the appearance of sickness.

Peace was restored as I remembered my only job. The Course is simple: problems appear in myriad forms, but there’s only one problem—the belief that we’re in this painful world, separated from God. There’s only one solution: forgiveness. This tool reminds us of our Right Mind that is still connected to God. It’s the only thing that brings permanent peace, because trying to fix the world eventually brings more poop in some form or other.

Do you have poopy stuff that’s stressing you out? Ask your Right Mind to help you see your function differently. Your peace is right there waiting for you to ask.

Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

That's Not Who I Really Am!

Who is that monster that emerges out of the blue? Is that me? How can I be so awful? How can I mutter under my breath, “You bas---d” to the person I’m supposed to love most? Are there two people in here, one nice and the other horrible?

Haven’t we all felt like a monster at times? Haven’t we all wondered if people knew what we really thought and felt and how we act in private that they wouldn’t like us?

Well, the good news is that that isn’t who we really are. A Course in Miracles tells us we have a case of mistaken identity. It says we’re the innocent children of God who have never done anything wrong. But how can that be possible when we are nice one minute and vicious the next?

We mistakenly identify ourselves with our ego personalities rather than the Divine Loving Presence within us. We really think we are this person who works at the bank, has three kids, likes hockey, is friendly but has a bad temper, etc.

What would happen if we truly believed we were the holy Son of God (W-p.I.191.h), that we were loved without conditions? If we truly believed we were innocent and therefore deserving of all good things? How many times have we heard “God loves us just as we are,” and our response is “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” We hear these words and for most of us they are just that—words. It’s an intellectual concept for most of us; we don’t really feel it deep down.

The workbook lessons of A Course in Miracles train our minds to change our identity. As long as we think we are bodies with individual personalities, separate from each other, we will always return to guilt and misery. It is only by claiming our Christ Self, our Divine Self, that we will find true happiness. Trying to improve our lives and find things that bring us pleasure only work temporarily.

Here’s to relaxing into the truth of our Being and knowing, as A Course in Miracles tells us, I need do nothing.” (T-18.VII.h)

Blessings, Lorri Coburn

Monday, September 5, 2011

I Surrender

Two summers ago I came a split second from being in what surely would have been a fatal car crash. For two weeks prior, I’d had the premonition that I was going to die. I had told my partner Rod I thought I was done with my lessons on earth, was tired, and wanted to go home to heaven.

The proclamation that I was done set forth a flurry of activity, and I was up past midnight, writing out a memorial service, making sure my financial papers were in order, and setting aside gifts and notes to loved ones. I couldn’t stop myself—things were coming through me on their own, in the same way a book on A Course in Miracles was written through me five years ago.

I traveled to see my daughter at her university, and gave her a valuable gold coin and a card saying how proud I was of her. I thought I’d get in a car accident on the way home from seeing her.

Then the sense of anticipation simply stopped. It was gone. All of a sudden I wasn’t sure where all that had come from.

Five days later, the near-miss accident almost happened. My body jolted as I instinctively slammed on the brakes. I felt my blood run cold. I couldn’t think due to the shock.

After about a half hour of scattered dizziness, I realized what had happened. I thought, “I was supposed to die! What the hell is going on?” I started swearing at God in intense rage. “You had better let me know why I’m still here and what my purpose is, because I sure as hell don’t know!”

That night I opened A Course in Miracles at random to Lesson 191: “I am the holy Son of God Himself.” It reads, “You do not see what you have done by giving to the world the role of jailer to the Son of God. Deny your own identity, and look on evil, sin and death, and watch despair snatch from your fingers every scrap of hope, leaving you nothing but the wish to die.”

That was it! I still had not accepted my true Identity, and that was my purpose. While I still identified myself as a body named “Lorri,” I just wanted to die. What I thought was to be the death of my body turned out to be the death of the ego. At that point I surrendered. I got the message.

Since the near-miss I have consistently reminded myself of my purpose, to remember What I really am. When I know I am Spirit, I have no preference where the body appears to be. I remind myself that I abide in the Mind of God.

What’s occurred since surrendering has been one miracle after another. When the book on A Course in Miracles came through five years ago, I tried to publish and market it, and hit one wall after another. In the past few months, however, serendipitous events keep happening, and the book is being published, and people are asking me to speak and hold classes. I haven’t had to do a thing except act when guided.

Is Spirit (which is your own Higher Self) asking you to surrender? Are you going to kick and buck for five years like I did, or do it the easy way and accept your higher good now? Either way, you’re always in the arms of God, so you’re safe and ok.

I wish you a happy and easy journey. Lorri Coburn

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Forgiveness and the Criminally Insane

In psychiatry, the criminally insane are considered the worst of the worst. Unable to rehabilitate. Insane forever. Yet Dr. Hew Len achieved the impossible when he healed an entire ward of criminally insane patients in a Hawaiian psychiatric hospital. And he did it without ever seeing a patient.

Dr. Len simply received the files of the patients and proceeded to clean his own mind of all judgments that could lead to mental illness. As he wrote down the name of each patient he prayed a simple prayer to the Divine: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank You.” He asked forgiveness for thinking unloving thoughts.

From that prayer, violent patients calmed down and were actually released. Staff that had notoriously skipped work started showing up again because the atmosphere on the ward improved. Eventually the ward was closed down because there was no longer a need for it.

Dr. Len’s philosophy is that the world we see outside is a function of what’s in our own minds. He takes 100% responsibility for the world, and when he healed the criminals, he saw it as healing his own mind, not theirs. This is the same philosophy found in A Course in Miracles. The Course states, “the world you see is what you gave it. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition.” (, 5)

The other day a car passed me on a solid double yellow line, with a slight hill ahead. Lately I’ve seen more and more reckless drivers, some even passing me on steep hills. I go ballistic when this happens. I wanted to go up to that driver and smash his car with a hammer. I also wanted to smash his head with the hammer. After all, he didn’t give a rip if he hit someone head on, so he deserved it.

The other driver was a reflection of my murderous thoughts, and the part of me that hates everyone and doesn’t care if I live or die. Screw everyone and everything. That driver did not do something to me; I asked for it. As the Course says, “I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience…And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for.” (T-21.II.2:3-5) It’s not fun to admit that I’m as big an idiot as that other driver, but it’s true.

I called him all kinds of names until I got over my tantrum and decided to forgive. I used Dr. Len’s formula: “I love you. I’m sorry (for thinking that guy’s an a—hole). Thank you for forgiving me.” I alter the statement somewhat, knowing that God has never judged me and in His mind there’s no need for forgiveness.
Immediately I felt better. Dr. Len’s formula, named ho`oponopono, is a practical and quick way to forgive and tap into divine healing. He calls it cleaning our minds. We will see a world of peace and love when our minds are clean, not when all those other idiots get off the road.

Blessings, Lorri Coburn