[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
Our CCC class yesterday on “Here I am, Lord,” had a real impact on me. The class was on a meditation practice that Jesus gave Bill Thetford. Initially, Jesus said that it was to help Bill sustain his concentration while asking for guidance, but eventually it became clear that Jesus had a much larger plan in mind.
Over the course of Jesus’ comments about Bill in the early dictation, a coherent picture emerged. According to Jesus, Bill had a basic stance of “distantiation.” To distantiate is “to put or keep at an emotional or intellectual distance.” That was Bill’s basic posture in life, to put or keep everyone at a mental/emotional distance. As a result of standing apart from the rest of reality, he himself felt unreal. He felt like the odd man out in the Sonship, like an exception to universal laws (such as the Love of God). He thus felt a lack of confidence, a sense of unworthiness, and a tremendous vulnerability to how others saw him. This in turn resulted in a fear of interaction and specifically a fear of getting up in front of a class to teach, where he would be at the mercy of how the students saw him.
The phrase “Here I am, Lord” was intended as a reversal of the distantiation that was at the root of Bill’s way of being, and thus an antidote for all the ill effects caused by that distantiation. When you say “Here I am, Lord,” you are basically showing up before God, making yourself present to Him, moving from God’s “there” to God’s “here.” You are entering His Presence. Being fully present to your Creator (and the Creator of all reality) is clearly the exact opposite of Bill’s chronic distantiation. Quite simply, it replaces distance with presence, “there-ness” with “here-ness.” As such, it was supposed to make Bill feel fully real, to put him in touch with his reality. This would restore his confidence, make him feel invulnerable to the opinions of others, and thus eradicate his fear of interaction in general and teaching in particular. It’s an absolutely brilliant strategy—one dose of potent medicine injected into the very heart of Bill’s sickness.
This picture fell together in my mind literally minutes before class. At that same time, I realized that I am Bill. I’ve got the distantiation bug, big-time. Nearly everything Jesus said about Bill applied to me, maybe not to the same degree, but it wasn’t hard to see parallels. The main difference is that I have reasons for my distantiation!
So this morning I decided to carry out Jesus’ instructions and use “Here I am, Lord” as the focus for my meditation. I had a really lovely meditation. It was intense, but not tense. I had a sense of actually making myself present to God. In response, it felt like He (whether this was me imagining or a real experience) really welcomed me, and there was even a joy in being in each other’s presence, an enjoyment of being together.
One thing that I believe helped was a realization I had the other day. I was meditating and noticing how it seemed that my mind simply does not have the ability, no matter how hard it tries, to be fully present to God (which is basically what I’m trying to do in every meditation, without great success). I absolutely do not seem to be the ruler of this kingdom. It pretty much does whatever it wants to do. What then came to me was a line from the Text: “Your ability to direct your thinking as you choose is part of its power” (T-7.VI.2:6). That made so much sense. It’s my mind. Of course I can direct it where I choose. Who else is directing it? If I really choose to make it present to God, it will be present to God.
Anyway, that meditation from this morning is staying with me in a really lovely way. Whenever I turn my attention to the line “Here I am, Lord,” I feel this warm sense of presence with God, like God is this great, welcoming, happy place to be, where I can let my guard down and just relax. It is not feeling like a duty today, like the place I am supposed to go, but like the place I want to go, the place that is (as I say when I wrap my three-year-old in her towel after her bath) “warm and cozy.” If every day could be like this, it would be wonderful.