The Cloud Gallery - Tony Schaefer

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Stages of My Transformation.

1: The Questioning of…(the purpose of) Everything.
When you are buried by the distractions of daily life, seemingly fulfilled and busy with an abundant living, you are yet to even enter the field of mysticism. So happy to have a “full” day and schedule, that the dissociation from the things that you see and sounds that you hear has not even risen to a level of contemplation. Some might say, “ignorance IS bliss” but once this bubble has been burst or at some level seen within the Mind as raising doubt, I am afraid it is only a matter of time. Because what you’re seeing is a facade, and the nature of a facade is to be placed in front of, which means there is something behind. For me, it started when I was about 17 or so, yet it still took another 15 years or so before I found someone who could really show me the true nature of the illusion from which I was suffering.

2: Finding a Teacher.
I have written about this moment before and while the experience is still very vivid, some aspects of the experience have completely disappeared. In a particular way, after finding this first teacher, I was lead to the Master Teacher, who lead me to Jesus, who I would consider the Teacher of Teachers, and He has and always only points toward your one True relationship, and that is with God, Our Father. You can stomp your feet and say you don't believe in Jesus or God, it doesn't matter. The one thing you have to look at is 'you didn't make yourself'. Hopefully, reasonably, that will bring you to Cause and Effect because this only works when you get to the foundation of it all. In my case, with all my frustration and questions and searching, I knew I was not able to sort through the many beliefs, paths, choices, without a Teacher.

3: Process and Apprenticeship.
This IS ‘A Course In Miracles’. The training period is one year, from there you are supposed to teach what it is you need to learn. Opportunities will be presented to you as moments when you can look on old ideas and beliefs and “teach”, through the inclusion of those ideas to a bright new re-association of mindfulness. As the desire to have the Peace of God ABOVE all other things, rises in your “wanting”, time can speed-up dramatically and “life lessons” that may have taken decades or lifetimes are learned in an instant. From this Peaceful state of being, miracles are natural, healing occurs and all things become effortless. This is a very active time in your awakening process, well it was for me. I was OUT of time. I was seeing and hearing and my cup was running over with Light and Love and Joy and I could finally see my whole way out of the dilemma I found myself in.

4: Rage and the Death of “me”.
“Father, why have you abandoned me!?!” This, I found out later is a pretty common aspect of transformation. Two of so years into my process I hit a wall. I was in service, I was having ecstatic experiences, I was grateful, then BANG! And it was bound up in an idea of “knowing” or something like that. It's hard for me to find the cause of it in mind, now. But like a petulant child, I wanted to “know”…something?…everything? I have also written about this moment before, suffice to say I fell into a dark hole and raged in my own mind for three days. I sat ON my bed, I disconnected the phone, threw my copy of The Course on the floor. I didn’t eat, drink or leave that bed. Then on the third day, something happened and I was relieved of that particular burden. The next instant I was embarrassed by my stubborn churlishness, then I cried with Joy and went about my day. As I said the catalyst is still quite vague to me, but the experience that came about BECAUSE of it will always be a major aspect of my awakening experience.

5: Teaching and Learning.
Jesus talks about teaching as being commensurate with learning, in a particular way they ARE the same but the difference comes about as you become willing to speak up or speak out about the falsity of a reality based on separation and you become willing to learn what it is you need to teach. This period may seem to take a long time but that is also part of the illusion. You can’t give what you don’t have and it’s through this recognition that you are only giving to yourself. Wouldn’t you want to give yourself everything? And so it is with teaching, if you hold back for fear of…offending or “they might not be ready to hear this” or for any other reason, then you are taking from yourself. I can speak from very deep experience, that when you say yes, to an invitation to teach and you make the effort to get to that place, everything you need (including the words) will be given you when you accept it, everything becomes effortless and that is one of the signposts that show you, you are on the right path.

6: Maintenance of Peace.
And even now, some seemingly twenty years since my awakening process started, I still talk to my Father to remember His Will in all things. I don’t have to be as vigilant as I once was, but I still need to stay mindful of what is happening around me. In some ways, it is harder because you are sent back out into the world (illusion), and it makes even less sense than it did before you under-went your transformation. But the lack of judgement in regards to all things, allows you to stand in the centre of the storm and "develop Trust". If something is needed for anyone in any particular situation or event than the Trust that “of myself, I can do nothing” clears the way for healing and forgiveness and an alternate ending, which I know I could not have constructed by myself.

7: Walking the Path.
“In all your doings be you blessed”. Being out in the world, as opposed to cloistered away from it, takes some adjustment, and that’s ok. You are now in service to the Truth. The practice is one of self-reflection and asking for inner guidance. There is no loss and Our Fathers, Will, for you is Perfect Happiness, but remember that happiness is not found in the things of the world, that way you can have ANYTHING knowing it but serves a function. That may be a long time or a short time, either way, all that is needed is given and is effortless. When I say effortless, I am talking about a total commitment of effort that brings about immediate results, any struggle is another sign 'to stop, step back and let Him lead'. Which brings us back to Trust. Trust in a power that is within us and yet comes from beyond us. It is a mystical path of miracles, which once you start down, will lead you and your Brother back to where you are Truly at Home, together.

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