Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Inspired by Betty Otter Thompson's Walking Through Illusion: Anything that makes you laugh or cry

“When drama unfolded in my life, I sometimes blamed others for the way the play was progressing.
I played the role the same way my friends played a role---same as the actors in theater played their roles, and all of us had chosen the parts we played. Our roles were no more real than those we saw in the theater. They were illusory experiments, to expand our hearts, so that when we left these dramas, we had the needed emotion for the next performance, taking our hearts even deeper.”

---Betsy Otter Thompson, Walking Through Illusion

Betty Thompson, through this premise, visits the Biblical life of Christ, and the legendary apostles and opponents, to generate a mirror from those experiences to reveal the true natures of our own.

The first point to make aboutWalking is the intention. It’s not to “challenge historical facts in other worthy books; it was written to challenge me to become accountable.” Guilt, hate, and resentment, she writes, are exchanged for growth, compassion, and autonomy.

The true experience of Christ opens up your heart, and the most practical reason to imagine Jesus is as a Friend Within. The highest self you imagine can aid you in integrating the complete person you are into creation.

As she notes, “Walking Through Illusion is not the usual format for historical reenactments, but like any novel, it is the author’s interpretation of possible emotions that might have been experienced. The gift is in the message, whether the history is taken literally or not. (Preface, pg. 3)”

From the Christ’s viewpoint of infinite forgiveness and knowing, “(e)arly in the writing Jesus reassured me that these people had their lives to the best of their ability, and wasn’t I doing the same.”

Over time, as she wrote this, she took questions from people that shaped the rest, through exploring their relationships and finding truth in the witness to whom she chose to listen.

Here’s a sample of the questions, few and helpful, postulated at the end of each of the 23 chapters. From the first chapter, titled “Reform”:

How many useless goals can you think up?

How often did you laugh while making that list?

List as many meaningful goals as you can imagine.

How often did you cry while making that list?

If you actually participate, you get the full play of your mind.

Then, we’re asked to take away the significance of “all the little things you relish are all the big things that matter.” We’re advised:

“Anything that makes you laugh or cry is neither useless or trivial, but a vital part of your path. Find the benefits from both.”

The chapters include: Why are we living in time? Are memories controllable? What qualifies as a gift?

How do complaints effect us? (That one was directly relevant to we here at Integr8d, so there I turned! I started with the one on death and found Pontius Pilate.)

I was curious why one of the more famous of the twelve disciple did not first appear,as Bartholomew, outside of Matthew 10, eludes me. The logic of the book is centered around its themes. Their presentation, from Reform to Time, is given the primary focus, though each chapter consists of Bible times scholarship as well.

In the writing of this book, the author progressed from seeing a world of rights and wrongs to actually understanding its participants. “When the picture was awful,” she writes, “I was helpless to change it.”

As she notes, “I learned that taking responsibility for the love, or the lack of love in my life, was the tool through which to create a new, difference experience.”

And that is a Christ you can know.

Walking Through Illusion is published by O Books.

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