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November 5, 2015 Blog A Course in Miracles: Lesson 309

November 5, 2015 Blog

A Course in Miracles:  Lesson 309

 

 “I will not fear to look within today.”

 I am not often at a loss for words but this morning I’m finding it difficult to say much.  I feel possessed by a kind of mental and emotional lethargy and I want to attribute it to two items in the latest news, both of which point to a growing crisis in American life.   

 First, a new Pew survey shows American families are increasingly stressed. (No big surprise there.)  Nearly half have two parents working full-time.  Everyone feels rushed, including the kids.  Moms especially feel they can never do anything with full attention, but dads feel it too.  Multi-tasking at everything means never focusing on any one thing for too long.  “Stressed, tired, and rushed,” is how 65% of respondents described their lives.

Second, it seems that white, middle-aged Americans are now dying at a younger age than their parents.  The uptick in mortality rates is driven by increased levels of suicide, alcoholism, and substance abuse.  “It is difficult to find modern settings with survival losses of this magnitude,” wrote one commentary on the study.  “This is a vivid indication that something is awry in these American households,” wrote another.  “Only H.I.V./AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this," concluded one author.

The final conclusion of the study was that the American dream is over for an entire generation. “After the productivity slowdown in the early 1970s, and with widening income inequality, many of the baby-boom generation are the first to find, in midlife, that they will not be better off than were their parents.”

What is going on in middle-class America, I wonder?  What is the value system that says all of this is okay?  European nations with slower economic growth did not show the same increase in mortality rates as the U.S.  The authors point to guaranteed pension plans and other social programs as one reason.  European families seem less stressed too.  They work fewer hours and have more paid benefits. I'm not saying it's all roses there, but I am asking what our values are clearly reflecting in reality.

For years so many of us have been willing to look the other way when a minority outside the “norm” suffers.  But now, even those who were “supposed” to be protected are finding promises of safety hollow.   All of us have looked the other way and now the rising tide approaches. Will it be at my doorstep?  Will it hit the neighbor across the street?

 Today’s lesson is not about pension plans or paid family leave.  It is about looking within.  It is about going deeper.   A Course in Miracles tells us this world is an illusion but it also says what I give, l receive.  So if I look more deeply at my values, I must ask, "What is it I think I deserve?" And then, as I look around at my sisters and brothers, the answer is clear.  I deserve exactly what they have because they ARE me. 

 If I look more deeply, I will know the eternal innocence that I am - that you are.   It is our separation that appears to steal our innocence. The rising tide approaches and we cannot look the other way.  We sink or swim together.

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