Note from evolutionarymystic:
Just a short note that some years back I attended Dr. Jon Mundy’s course on ” What is mysticism?” , stretching over 3 to 4 week-ends conducted at the New York Open Center.
In 1976, a mysterious “Inner Voice” spoke to Helen Schucman, dictating what would come to be known as A Course in Miracles–a spiritual classic that would go on to sell over two million copies and influence countless people worldwide. Those who study this 1,333-page course can struggle for years to progress through its resonant but often difficult-to-comprehend truths.
Jon Mundy, who knew ACIM’s founders, uses passages from the text to illuminate its teachings on subjects ranging from the self and forgiveness to health and the afterlife. His lively storytelling and in-depth knowledge will help readers embrace the wisdom of this timeless text in their daily lives.
Jon Mundy, Ph.D. is an author, lecturer and the Executive Director of All Faiths Seminary International in New York City. He is the publisher of Miracles magazine, and the author of 9 books including his newest book Living A Course in Miracles by Sterling Ethos of New York City a division of Barnes & Noble’s. He taught university courses in Philosophy and Religion from 1967 to 2009 with a specialization in the History of Mysticism. He met Dr. Helen Schucman the scribe of A Course in Miracles in 1973. Helen introduced him to the Course and served as his counselor and guide till she became ill in 1980.
http://www.bestofyoutoday.com/ did an exclusive interview with Dr.John Mundy
Learn to Forgive to Live a Life of Peace and Happiness
If you are a spiritual seeker, there’s a good chance you know of A Course of Miracles (ACIM), considered one of the most influential works ever written. Author, lecturer and minister Dr. John Mundy has written Living a Course of Miracles to help followers put the teachings of the Course into practice. Here, Dr. Mundy gives us some insight into ACIM, its teachings and his involvement in the Course.
He is a retired lecturer of philosophy, religion and psychology at Interboro Institute, The New School and Mercy College. He has also taught inside Sing Sing and Bedford Hills Prison for Women, the State University of New York and Marist College. He is co-founder of Interfaith Ministries and publisher of MiraclesMagazine.org. He has authored several books, including What Is Mysticism?, Missouri Mystic, Awaken to Your Own Call: A Comprehensive Introduction to A Course in Miracles, Listening to Your Inner Guide, The Ten Laws of Happiness, Money and Jesus, Search for the Center, and Learning to Die.
BOYT: What is A Course in Miracles (ACIM) all about? What is the core premise?
Jon Mundy: When the great spiritual masters reach enlightenment, that enlightenment comes with the awareness that the thing we call an ego does not exist. It never has been and it never will be. It is a dream, a fleeting fantasy and it has no more reality than any of the billions of dreams that the many billions of people who inhabit this planet dream every night. Having no reality, the ego cannot be defined. We need, however, a “working definition” to be clear about the illusion we seek freedom from. We need more awareness so it will not “possess us” in an unconscious way.
My favorite definition of the ego is this: the ego is that which defines, interprets, projects, judges, and analyzes. It is that which is dreaming the dream or “making up the world.” For this very reason the world itself is a projection. The ego has no eternity in it. God is eternal, God is real. Love is eternal. Love is real. We simply dream that we are trapped in a body, in space, in time. The task of the Course is, therefore, to help us be free of the illusion of self (ego) so we can remember who we are in truth—not an ego, but Spirit and as Spirit also a part of God. As the Course says, (speaking metaphorically) “There is no place where the Son ends and the Father begins.”
After his enlightenment, Buddha said he was “awake.” According to the Course, learning always begins with the awakening of Spirit and a turning away from physical sight. Physical sight is limited to the body’s eyes. Physical sight shows us the outer world and that is never satisfying. No matter how many experiences we have or how many things we acquire, before long we will want more. The outer world provides, at best, some temporary satisfaction. Eat and before long you will be hungry. Have sex and before long you may want it again.
In the movie The Bucket List, the main characters played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman go off to see the greatest sights in the world. They sit and look at the pyramids and then they go off to look at something else. The eyes are never satisfied. Satisfaction is never found in the world or in any fantasy. When Jesus in the Gospels says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you,” he doesn’t mean it’s in our bodies. The body is destined to die. While the ego mind can be possessed by illusions, Spirit remains eternally free.
BOYT: How did you become interested in ACIM and what has been your involvement?
Jon Mundy: In 1973 I met Dr. Helen Schucman, the scribe of the Course, when she and Dr. William Thetford came to a lecture I was giving on mysticism. The following year, I wrote a letter which was published in the newsletter of the American Association for Transpersonal Psychology. In the letter, I expressed interest in being in contact with anyone who was working in the fields of psychotherapy and spirituality as I was doing a dissertation on the conjunction of these two fields. Dr. Thetford saw my letter and suggested to Helen that it was a call for her to complete the writing of the pamphlet, “Psychotherapy, Purpose, Process, and Practice,” which she had begun but never completed. She agreed that my letter was a call for her to complete the psychotherapy pamphlet. She completed it in April 1975. She then called me saying that she had something for me. I agreed to meet with her, Dr. Thetford, and Dr. Ken Wapnick at Ken’s little studio apartment in New York City. There, Helen told me how the Course had come into being and she gave me a copy of the psychotherapy pamphlet.
I walked home that evening with the manuscript under my arm thinking that probably the most important thing which had ever happened to me had just happened, but I had no idea what it was. Not long thereafter, Helen met Judy Skutch. Judy and I were both on the faculty at New York University and had been friends for several years. Judy saw to it that a bunch of copies of the Course were Xeroxed and a small group of us started studying the Course in manuscript format. After the meeting at Ken’s, Helen became my counselor and guide and continued in that role until she became ill in 1980. I’ve been an active student and teacher since 1975; I’ve written eight books and produced a number of CDs based on the teachings of the Course.
BOYT: Why did you decide to write Living a Course of Miracles? What is your goal with the book?
Jon Mundy: It’s one thing to read the Course; it’s another matter altogether to put its principles into practice. You don’t do yoga by reading a book on yoga. In the same way, the Course becomes increasingly clear when I do what it is asking me to do. Living a Course in Miracles is a book about the practical application of the principles of the Course. What we are called to do is give up our judgments of everything in favor of seeing through what the Course calls “the Vision of Christ.” The Vision of Christ sees wholeness and innocence. It cannot see what is not there. I wrote the book in good part because my publisher, Sterling Ethos of New York City, asked me to do so, knowing there was a need for it.
BOYT: How would you characterize ACIM as a practice? Is it religion-based?
Jon Mundy: The Course says of itself that it is but one of “many thousands” of pathways back to God. There is nothing that says that anyone has to do the Course. There is no evangelism in the Course. To evangelize, I must believe that I am right and you are wrong and you need to see things the way I do. The Course is not a religion. It is a study. There are no rites, no rituals, no dogmas, no laws, no creeds, no required ways of believing, no temples, and no churches. There are no ministers. There are no priests. There is no hierarchy. Once you have a hierarchy, you have someone at the top, someone at the bottom, someone in the middle, and ego games going on to see who gets to be on top; who gets to be in the middle; and who has to stay at the bottom. The idea is to keep the ego out altogether. The Course is simply a spiritual discipline or study. It can be done completely on one’s own. It can also be studied in groups, and by attending workshops and conferences. It is essentially a spiritual psychology.
BOYT: Why do you call ACIM a radical philosophy that “asks us to engage in a total reversal in thinking?” What is that shift?
Jon Mundy: The word “radical” means “root” as in a “radish.” The Course is radical in that it goes to the root of the problem; namely, the decision we made to turn away from God, to try and do things on our own. This is pretty much the problem we find in the Adam and Eve narrative in the book of Genesis. Our basic problem is an authority problem. In essence, we say to God, “Thank you very much God, I would rather do it myself.” We have free will. Free will is a characteristic of divinity; therefore, as in the story of the prodigal son, God does not stop us from going off on our own. God also knows that one day we will find that all of our external searching is unsatisfactory. One day we will turn around, come Home (remember Heaven), and realign our will with His. It’s inevitable—so why wait for heaven?
The Course calls for a reversal in thinking. We’ve been looking at the world for so long through judgmental eyes that it takes a good bit of work before we can stop making up the world, let it be what it is, and switch our allegiance from seeing with judgment to allowing what is. We are called upon to let our brothers and sisters be who they are and not to make of love an enemy. If I point out the error of my brother’s ego, I must be seeing through my own ego. Once we stop the projection, we have an opportunity to see things the way they really are and the way they really are is fine. God really is in charge, always has been and always will be. In the end we see that it’s not about time—it’s about remembering the truth of our identity as Spirit, in every present moment.
BOYT: How does the Course compare to other spiritual teachings? Is it unique?
Jon Mundy: The Course is a universal curriculum available to everyone. Although Christian in context (i.e. it uses Christian mythology to explain the basic concepts) it is eastern in outlook and flavor. Dr. Thetford, Helen’s companion in the composition of the Course, said it was “the Christian Vedanta.” Like the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, the Course is monistic. All there is in truth is God, Love, Truth, Life and Light—big words, all of which are synonyms. There can be no opposite to God, no opposite to truth, to love, etc. There is, therefore nothing to be afraid of. Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. There is no hell, no devil, no body, and no world. Though they may look very real, ultimately all these things are ideas of the ego. They are all ephemeral. Like all dreams, they are born in time and they will disappear in time. Life is eternal and not delimited by time. Only that which is true is everlasting. Everything else is an illusion, a fleeting fantasy; it will one day disappear.
The Course is unique in its level of psychological sophistication. It is truly a document of the 20th and the 21st centuries. It could not have appeared before Freud, as it was not until Freud that we had a clear ego psychology. Freud understood the ego very well. Freud, however, thought we were stuck with the ego. He did not see any way for us to be free of it. Freud was an atheist. If he had studied eastern philosophy, he might have seen the way out. The Course, like much of eastern philosophy, is saying that we can be free of the ego by recognizing its non-reality. It is also important that Einstein passed by this planet before the Course came out, as it was not until Einstein that we had the theory of relativity. Time, said Einstein, can speed up. It can slow down and the really interesting thing is what happens when it stops. At that point, we can step out of time. The ego and its home, the body, are innate to time. Life is not bound by time or a body.
BOYT: For readers who might be considering ACIM, what are some of the personal benefits they might experience with the Course?
Jon Mundy: At one point, the Course says that the goal of the Course is happiness. At another point, it says that the goal of the Course is peace. At another point, it says that the goal of the Course is peace and happiness. If you are peaceful, you are probably pretty happy. If you are happy, you are probably pretty peaceful. Ultimately, the Course leads us to freedom from all the judgment and all of the external searching, which goes with the ego. Ultimately, only God is and all is well.
Mysticism and A Course in Miracles – Jon Mundy
If you liked this video – do consider making a small donation: http://bit.ly/FR8zRI Your support helps me to keep everything ad-free and to make even better content! Ken *
I speak to Dr. Jon Mundy, a well-known Teacher and Author in the ACIM community! Jon has been the editor of Miracles Magazine, the longest running ACIM magazine / newsletter, since 1985. Jon is an expert on comparative religion and philosophy, and taught university courses in philosophy and religion from 1967 to 2009. He is also the author of several books: including “Missouri Mystic”, “What is Mysticism?”, and the recently published “Living A Course in Miracles”.
We talk about Mysticism and A Course in Miracles:
- What is Mysticism?
- Some of Jon’s mystical experiences
- How ACIM and other spiritual paths seek to connect us to the pure non-dual state
We then move on to
- His personal experiences growing up in a farm in Missouri
- As a spiritual seeker in India, and meeting gurus such as Muktanada and Rajneesh (Osho)
- His personal experiences knowing Marianne Williamson and Helen Schucman years ago!
- Jon’s alter(ed) ego, the stand up philosopher-comedian Dr. Baba Jon Mundane
- His advice for new ACIM students