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Carla’s Niche

Carla’s Letter Tapes

CAVEAT: Warning! These letters have not been edited by Carla. Expect errors.

Letter to M

August 23, 1991

(Tape opens with Carla singing—practicing one of her classical pieces.)

Dear M,

I was trying to practice this one piece accurately since I seem to recall that you said something about liking my singing. The text is, “Where is there such a nation (inaudible) as the Lord, our God, when we call upon him, only take heed and watch faithfully upon our soul, that thou mayest not forget all the wonders which thine eyes have beheld and (inaudible) and that they be part of thy remembrance all thy lifelong. They shall teach thy children and thy children’s children these things. Amen”

Put to music by Brahms it is Opus 109, Anthem 3. I recommend both the three festival anthems of Opus 109 and four anthems of Opus 110, if you happen to like classical music.

I don’t have a lot to say because you didn’t ask me a lot of questions but I did have a few comments and I thought I’d get them to you because I’m really not jammed up with work right now and I have plenty of time to do it.

Thank you for letting me know what kind of support you do need. I think that a lot of teachers can become so in love with what they have to say that they somehow forget to think whether or not the person to whom they are speaking would rather have some sort of suggestions, advice, opinions, or whatever, or just simply that person might need someone to talk to who would be understanding and accepting.

I think that both are human needs—they can also coexist. There might be a little of both, but it doesn’t hurt, especially when I’ve been up on the soap box for a while for me to make absolutely sure that I should be there because I don’t wish to preach and all that sort of thing. But you answered my questions very well and I do thank you.

I wanted to talk a little bit about your daily religious practice or spiritual practice, whatever word is the most appealing to you. It’s all just vocabulary of course. There is a prayer that I like to use—well, there are a couple of prayers I like to use. One is, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the heart of your faithful one and kindle in me the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and I shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit I may be truly wise and ever enjoy thy consolation.”

The other prayer that I am most fond of is, “This is another day, Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but please make me ready for it. If I understand, help me to stand tall; if I am to sit, help me to sit quietly; if I am to lie low, help me to do it gracefully; and if I am to do nothing at all, help me to do it gallantly. Make these words more than words and give me the spirit of Christ. Amen.”

Those two prayers have been of inestimable help to me simply because I am calling on positive help in my life in a way that I understand, in a way that I respond to, not intellectually, but emotionally and of the heart.

It is wise of you to begin to refrain from asking for so much specific help because truly you do not know in this illusion nor do any of us know what our pattern shall unfold to be during this particular day. We are wisest if we live from moment to moment, not that we might not contemplate what has gone before or what is to come in practical and analytical terms just that that sort of communication within oneself is quite limited by the intellect. I use “intellect” as contrasted to “intelligence.” The difference being that an intellectual person stays in the intellect, does the analysis and remains somewhat aloof from the feelings extending from the energy centers below the heart.

Consequently, a lot of that energy may well be muddied and it could be a little confusing. But if we always remember “not my will but thine,” if we always remember the surrendering, if we always remember that we don’t know what the day will bring or what would be the most loving response to the circumstances of the day, I think we’d start the day off in a far more open, spacious kind of way.

During the day it is to me fairly psychologically sound, it’s just my opinion, but I’ve noticed in a lot of commercials if they want you to pay attention to something, they will make a sound, a clicking sound of some kind, a closing of a book, a snapping of a lid, the punching of a ball, some kind of a sharp staccato sound that seems to penetrate below the intellectual part of the mind and get some part of the mind that is almost subliminal, almost subconscious.

So I use that. I use the sounds that I hear. If a hear a bird call, if I hear the new whistle on Tuesday (Anchorage always runs its whistle on Tuesday at noon), if I hear Jim making some kind of clicking sound, I try to remember at that moment that that sound is a trigger for me to focus on the Creator just for that instant.

Consequently, sound itself, which you cannot get away from unless you are deaf, becomes a prayer aid or a meditation aid. I also have had a lot of good experiences lately simply experiencing my body sitting where it’s sitting, making contact with whatever it’s making contact with as I sit, stand, walk, whatever it is that I do, and be aware of the relative discomfort of that particular position—be aware not in an external way, but in a way that speaks to me of the human condition within myself. In other words, it has no content intellectually, this awareness of my body touching the things that I’m sitting on, standing on, leaning against, or just feeling in some way, the breeze blowing across my skin and so forth.

It sound as if it would be a very grounding, earthy thing to do, but actually, what it does is focus the attention on something that has no intellectual content and about which you are not even supposed to think, much less could you think. It’s simply you, being there, realizing your contact in this illusion with another part of the illusion and I have found that this is very healing in some more aggravated times and takes a lot of the sting out of the pain, the dissatisfaction with myself that is, I think, a perfectly normal concomitant or companion of the spiritual seeker.

We who seek spiritually are very hard on ourselves without the need to do that. We aren’t here to judge ourselves, we’re here to do the best we can and then let it go. The faster we let it go, the better. If we don’t let it go then it simply needs to recycle until we’re through with that particular catalyst.

So what you call “a kick in the butt” is to my mind a fairly good description of the action of the Holy Spirit, at least within my life. Call it the higher self, whatever, whatever guidance that you recognize within yourself as being of a higher nature than your conscious mind that does indeed place agendas before, at least my eyes, in such a way that I might as well be hit over the head with a two by four, if I’m listening.

And the point, of course, is to listen and that’s why the constant use of sound helps me a lot. I hear a sound and I remember and there is a strong centering effect there so that my “take” on what is coming my way for a catalyst has the largest opportunity possible of being a little bit more intelligent or appropriate.

I also would like to chat a bit about your saying that you’ve been having a problem with internal programming lately. I recognize and respect the teaching of mental programming and how important that is and I use it myself. However, I don’t use it to the extent that I expect my programming to fulfill my expectations of acting in a completely wise way according to my own way of thinking about things. We are human.

Were we able to do those things, to do those things which we wish to do and to refrain from doing those things which we wish not to do, we would probably have no use for third density experience. The third density is a place where mistakes are just as important as getting it right. As a matter of fact, it may be more important to make mistakes and look at them than simply get things right according to our own feelings.

Complacency does not help the spiritual student at all. It is not the way things truly are. The seeker is constantly pressing forward with as much passion and intensity as it can.

So when you feel that you are doing unloving things or failing to trust I would simply ask you to look at that not as a failure, because that is the way we all tend to look at our shortcomings, “Oh my gosh, I’ve failed,” but rather to simply look at it, to gaze on it without aversion or judgment and say, “Well, that’s what that was.”

This simple acceptance and forgiveness of that is very healing and forgiving of the situation itself and of any other entities involved in the unloving interchange of speech or action is also very healing. It takes a good deal of trust and honesty with yourself to do this kind of work, but I think you have that.

Why do you react in an unloving way? Well, in the first place, you yourself are subjectively defining loving for yourself, which is valid. But there is a definition of love that does not change and that is the love of the Creator—the one original thought is love and that love is the Creator and it is well, when we see ourselves making errors according to our own judgment to realize that we do not have the need to judge our actions but simply to do our very best. We could not possibly know how we are doing within this illusion. It is simply too dense an illusion.

So I ask you in all earnestness to achieve the humility that says, “I’ve done my best. It may be right, it may be wrong according to one person or another’s perception, but it was my best.” And that is a relative term. You can’t ask perfection of yourself every hour of every day. The best that we can do is extremely variable. Sometimes the best that we can do is survive. Sometimes the best that we can do is far, far more than that, and seems to be very fruitful.

But who are we to judge whether we have been of value in the time when we survived as opposed to a time in which we bloomed? Situations change, the emotional and spiritual weather within us changes, we will not be the same person tomorrow that we are today and so we need to go ever more deep, more profound in the hour seeking in the watery flowing energy of the consciousness of love.

So instead of trying to figure out why you act that way and letting that be the limit of your using of that catalyst, take yourself into a meditative place where you are not judging, where you are not even thinking, you are simply sitting with yourself and noticing yourself, accepting yourself, loving yourself and being unafraid—being without fear.

The person that can do that begins to create his own reality and the more a person can do that the more of the reality the person can create as opposed to “react” to. I’m glad you’ve started to interrupt the program of getting mad. “Counting to ten” is a cliché. On the other hand, clichés usually exist because they’re true.

So I do encourage you not to judge yourself and to accept the fact that you are doing the best you can and to bend yourself to that effort but without judgment, without any attachment to the outcome—happiness, if it’s good; dislike of yourself if you, in your opinion, haven’t done any good.

We really don’t cast our bread to various people, we cast it on the waters and it is no longer ours. It is out in the ocean of life and what comes back to us will probably not come back to us from the source to which we intended that bread, the bread of heaven that comes to all from all in the name of the Creator.

So whenever you are of service, you will undoubtedly experience the service returned 100 fold, but it well may not be in the context of the specific service that you have offered to a specific relationship, person or group. Things are a lot less solid than they seem. The illusion makes things seem definite but in reality the boundaries between things in life are only valid when seen within the density which separates one field of consciousness from another.

The consciousness actually is a consciousness we all share. However, we are each working on that consciousness which is the same in a unique way. Consequently, our lessons will be different from other people’s, our realizations will be different and so forth.

I’m sure that this isn’t really news to you but I would like to affirm that everybody on the face of the earth, as far as I know—with the possible exception of Mother Theresa. And I’ll bet you large odds that if you asked mother Theresa how she was doing she would say, “Terribly—I just cannot get over this humanity. I am the least of all Christians. I’m a jerk.” (Though probably not in those terms.) As I have more and more gotten into depth into the study that I have chosen as my service, the more I have discovered the depth of my humanity, and yet that is a good thing, because in seeing my many failures, I see also the arising in my soul of true compassion and charity.

If I can forgive myself, I can forgive the world. If I forgive the world, I cannot necessarily forgive myself. So, as I said before to you, I’m sure it’s always very wise to forgive yourself first so that you can love your neighbor as you love yourself—freely and without judgment and without stint and with no expectation of any reward, whatsoever. The love itself is the reward.

I congratulate you on the work you are doing and I simply ask that you not give yourself a hard time. Don’t be mad at yourself because you are human. It’s just one of those things. We couldn’t be having this experience unless we were carrying around a heavy chemical body which has instincts which are sometimes those of the wild animal which are tamed only by conscious thought. I’m not speaking only of sexual instincts which may ask one to move beyond monogamy at certain points. That’s easily enough resisted—that’s very easy to spot. There are much more subtle ways that the personality on the instinctual level can befuddle an intelligent and appropriate so-called “right action” and cause it to be a mess, just basically a mess.

So if you call yourself selfish or stubborn, then you are calling yourself human and that humanity is as much mine as it is yours, it is not a possession, it is a quality. We partake in universal qualities. We learn faster, the more that we realize we are experiencing not our selfishness, not our stubbornness, not our ignorance, not our error, but simply selfishness, stubbornness, error, whatever. It isn’t personal, it isn’t ours. They are like guests that come to our house. We are as hospitable to them as possible, just as we are to any perceived presence. We don’t have to like it but there are rules of hospitality that are there for a reason, the reason being that there are those very uncomfortable times when you truly do feel iniquitous in the extreme, that bear the greatest fruit in making us ever more compassionate and loving and able to be charitable to all others.

I very much enjoyed your realization that in the tiny things of life there is so much; I have always found that to be so true. You said, “It is really amazing to me to see these small and subtle signs, I hear them in music, on the radio, in other people’s conversations, just about everywhere. That is an extremely valid and important realization and I ask you to value it highly. The world as we know it is a school room and there isn’t anything useless in it so we are very rich in the tools we have with which to learn the lessons of love.

Yes, very often they are small and subtle, but we as seekers have the capacity of being increasingly subtle and increasingly discriminatory and increasingly unafraid to embrace our vulnerability, our seeming failures, our nakedness before sanctity and be unashamed and free in the knowledge that whatever we may seem to ourselves, the Creator loved us and thought we were perfect just as we were and will always think that we are perfect because that is the nature of love in its true form.

I’m glad you’re not putting me on a pedestal. I hate to fall off those doggone things. I very much understand what you are saying about listening and then discriminating, that’s very comforting to me that you do that.

As to my giving you hope, I would like to give you something to think about here. You see me as an objective other self who is giving you hope. In reality, I’m a part of yourself that appears to be separate from you and the rest of humanity and I’m offering to you a catalyst which actually has absolutely no affect except the effect that you choose for it to have on you.

So if you think that my words give you hope, I believe that you’re thinking slightly incorrectly, in that my words may be catalyst to awaken your own faculty of hope. My single mindedness in witnessing to the light and to the love of the one infinite Creator may seem to you to be an inspiration to you but in reality it is a catalyst which you may choose to use to see that in yourself.

So the hope, the faith, the love, these things are not from me to you, I cannot do your work for you. They are yours. I’m just a catalyst in your life and I’m really glad to be such—I’m very hopeful always at helping people, but I don’t knock myself around if I haven’t been of hope to people which sometimes does happen, not often. I don’t get a lot of mail saying, “Boy, were you way off.” People don’t usually do that. But every once in a while I’ll run into someone who has a real problem with me and that’s not my problem, that’s a problem outside myself that belongs to someone else and I have no intention of claiming it any more than I have any intention of claiming any credit for acting as a servant of love.

So the “credit card of hope” that you talk about is something awakened within yourself. You pay your own bills, you truly do. I’m just around to sort of emphasize, or sort of point out this or that that may be something to think about that will give you more tools and resources with which to live the kind of a life that you want to live more and more, and I stress more and more because there is nothing at all permanent or eternal about what we are doing in this illusion except insofar as our single-minded attention is placed on praise and prayer and thanksgiving and service.

These biases will continue. The personality the intellect, the various talents and gifts—all these things are part of the illusion.

And finally, I very much thought that the story about the watch was anything but dry and dull, I don’t think so. I think that the image of the watch … I’ve seen that several times in spiritually oriented literature and have heard it talked about actually. The chapter in Corinthians—I think it’s Chapter 13 in 1 Corinthians, is specifically about doing all things that you could possibly do, but if you don’t have love then you don’t have anything, so basically, that’s what you’re feeling at this point.

If I am taking the place of a watchmaker, and saying, “Well, I’ll be glad to help you to learn to tell time,” that doesn’t mean that you can tell time the same way that I tell time in a linear fashion. The creation is not linear; the creation is infinite so that each person’s spiritual time telling is unique to that person. I can’t tell you exactly how to tell time on your watch. All I can do is share from my timekeeping experiences. I hope that makes sense.

At any rate I enjoyed the symbology of the hands of the watch being love and faith. That ends the letter.

Now what would you want to know about? Well, we’re off vacation now and we’re back to work. It was basically Jim’s vacation, not mine, because I’m on permanent vacation. I do what I can, but if I need to watch television during the day because I don’t feel particularly well, then I do that and I don’t feel at all guilty about it because that’s what’s happening, that’s what’s happening in my life just then. And I’m having less and less trouble accepting that.

It is not that easy in a work ethic society to begin to value yourself as a being, especially when the society is so skewed towards seeing what you have done. I was struck—somebody must have put my name in “Who’s Who,” so they sent me this big long form. It looked pretty legitimate (you can tell it’s legit when they don’t ask you for money), but I was struck by how many of the questions had to do with the offices that you had held, what civic responsibilities that you had undertaken and other surface aspects of a life, which really would not tell people much except that you’ve been busy.

It wouldn’t tell people what kind of an attitude that you had about what you were doing, whether you were filled with love or with duty, anything like that. I felt to myself how very work ethic oriented we really are in this culture. I know from personal experience that when I ceased being able to do things I ran into some of the biggest catalyst of my life which I am still working through, and that is to value my own self as a person who is basically “being” rather than “doing” at this point in my life.

My lessons are in a very small universe bounded by the corners of a very comfortable but not particularly palatial hospital bed. I call it a couch. But whatever one’s lessons are, I think one gets what one needs and the faith is in that, that we don’t have to reach, we simply have to desire to be the best that we can and to know the will of the Creator day by day and hour by hour and minute by minute. Insofar as we are mindful of that, our time expands and we are able to feel more relaxed and more spacious and more unstressed, more healed and more whole. So I hope you get some of that feeling as you go on.

I guess that’s about all for now. I just wanted to touch base with you and my own private little ethic is that one who writes a letter, deserves a letter and whatever I can share with you at this particular time, looking at your particular letter, is what I want to do. I hope that you will take it in the spirit in which it’s offered. I do not intend in any way to suggest that I know more than anyone else or anything like that, but I do feel that desire to respond, to keep a connection of a spiritual nature going so there is that feeling of comradeship.

I think comrades along the way in the spiritual life are very valued, more especially probably in the abstract. In other words, my correspondences with people seem to help people at least as much as if they come and visit me. That’s just a personal bias, but I feel that that’s true.

So carry on, old chap, be easy on yourself and just remember not to judge yourself but to forgive yourself and start again. St. Paul said, “I die daily.” I think that means that humanness in its personal form needs to give way more and more to a spiritual point of view which is less personal, less egotistical, less manipulatory, less controlling, so that in the end we’re not moving from our feeling of fear, a feeling that we need to control our environment so that we’ll be safe, but that we’re rather moving towards the perception of an environment that has love and distortions of love in it. And that’s all so that we can respond to any situation in as loving a manner as we are capable of at that point in time.

I guess that’s about it. Things are very peaceful here. Jim is working on his rock garden out front and it’s beginning to look like Wuthering Heights which is sort of the idea he had in mind. His folks have promised to help him buy the plantings for it which will be nice. He’s also built a brick walk which will go all the way around the back yard so that people can walk through his garden.

I had some fascinating correspondences beginning with some people in England and very interesting points of view that differ somewhat from mine due to these particular people having a more scientific background, whereas my background is totally devoid of formal scientific training. And I mean that seriously.

I was entered into college as a junior because of scoring highly on entrance tests so I didn’t have to take all the food groups of classes the way most people do—history, science, math, and so on before you declare your major. But since I was admitted as a junior, the very first semester I was taking graduate classes and having a ball, but I was indulgent, and I did not pursue those parts of my learning that had been so neglected even in prep school because I had a lot of talent for the humanities.

I also have a lot of latent talent I think for scientific thought—I’m an awfully good logician but it’s never really been brought out in me. Anyway, these people are fascinating because their points of view are challenging and I need to think about what they say, and of course, that’s always really a lot of fun.

I think what people miss when they say, “Gee, Carla, you’re so unselfish to spend all this time in correspondence with various other spiritual seekers.” It isn’t unselfish except insofar as I do it out of love. It is quite selfish in that I learn so much and that that is my interest in life chiefly to learn as much as I can about the truth insofar as we can say that a mystery has truth, and I think we can recognized truth in some non-intellectual way.

So I will bid you adieu until next time. God bless and I really hope your path is filled with light.

Cheerio,

Carla

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