Monday, October 25, 2010

Author Interview with Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri - Part 1

Today we're talking with Dr. Mushtaq H. Jaafri, author of The Original Sin: Correcting the Perception of the Separation from God.

FQ: A Course in Miracles has been around for many years spreading its message. Can you tell us when you first became familiar with the Course?
 
I’ve been familiar with A Course in Miracles for many years, but I became a full time
student of the Course in the summer of 2009. For many years I thought that A Course in Miracles was a Bible-based study and you have to be a devoted Christian to study the Course. And, that actually became a stumbling block for me.

The A Course in Miracles is not just another religion or a dogma. It’s a path to healing our lives right here right now but, in order to heal we must first understand the transformative methods of healing the mind from its perception of separation from God and accepting the Atonement for himself or herself.

I felt that telling the true meaning of the story of Adam and Eve, (in my own words) and the role of the serpent will help us realize that a sense of separation from God is really the only ‘lack’ we need to correct.

Understanding the relationship of the three thought systems, and applying the right-minded thought system restores the mind to its true position as the learner. The miracle is the mean. Atonement is the principle and healing is the result.

Finally, let me confess that, through a vision of lighthouse shinning its brilliant white light into a sea near by, I was drawn to the Foundation for A Course in Miracles in Temecula, California. I met Dr. Kenneth Wapnick during one of his live seminars at the Foundation for ACIM.
I found Dr. Wapnick to be one of the most non-judgmental persons I have ever known. When I told him about my vision of the lighthouse shinning its light, he said that it was the logo of the Foundation’s quarterly newsletter.

ACIM teaches that when two minds join together for the same cause, it becomes the Will of God. I sometimes, indulge in my imagination to see what kind of a place this world would be if everyone understood the three thought systems and tried to recognize when their minds were blank, or have a mind without any thoughts.

 I spent 30+ years trying to control my own mind by controlling my thinking. That’s what I stumbled upon the concept of having a blank mind.

ACIM says: “Beneath your words are written the words of God. When your words have been erased, you will see His. That is the ultimate purpose of these exercises.”

FQ: You have apparently looked toward Dr. Kenneth Wapnick for some guidance in your work. How has he helped you in your journey toward inner peace? What kind of guidance did he offer up to you?

This is an excellent question so I will try to answer to the best of my recollection.
Most of my life, I’ve always sensed myself as if there is a part of me that is non-physical and longs to communicate with me. It wasn’t until I became a full-time devoted student of A Course in Miracles that I began to realize that non-physical part of me is the Holy Spirit (The Inner Being) that dwells inside each one of us.

I knew for sure that this Inner Being (Holy Spirit) within me isn’t an idea, an abstract force, or a principle, but it is a real person that dwells within us and Loves us and wants to help us.
When I shared my inner feelings with Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, he totally sympathized with me as if he too could recognize, relate, assimilate and apply whatever I was saying to  him. I felt very comfortable with him as if he was my teacher and mentor and I was his pupil and student.
I started to communicate with him through correspondence. He usually answered all my  letters the very next day. This went on for one full year. He always encouraged me to keep smiling and don’t ever  give up on my dream of sharing your thoughts about the Course and journey with A Course in Miracles.

I told him about my desire to publish a book about my thoughts on ACIM and my journey with it. He wholeheartedly agreed with me and even agreed to read the manuscripts for the content only. He offered guidance in reviewing the cover designs.

And, my own journey with A Course in Miracles started. The glorious journey took over one year of 24/7 studies. I struggled with the Course for about a year when I started. Perhaps for the reason the my ‘ego’ was always in my way telling me that I was nobody and no one would ever review  my book.

Once I asked the Holy Spirit (My Inner Guide) for help, and decided to apply the right-minded thought system and avoiding the wrong-minded thought system that is when I completed the book “in just two weeks” I called this a miracle.

I believe that Dr. Kenneth Wapnick had a profound impact on my mind during my journey toward inner peace. While visiting Dr. Wapnick in his live seminar in Temecula, CA. I purchased his CD titled: I want the peace of God. It was a candid discussion of A Course in Miracles -Workbook for Students – Lesson 185). Here’s direct quote:

No one who truly seeks the peace of God can fail to find it. Far he merely asks
 that he deceive himself no longer by denying to himself what is God’s Will.
The peace of God is yours.”

FQ: Many people will be a bit confused when they first read about the metaphysical concept of ‘no-mind’ and the presence of God. It is not an easy concept to grasp nor implement. Can you tell us a bit about this concept and how you felt when you first recognized you were able to shift from worldly thoughts to having a blank mind?

You are absolutely right that the metaphysical concept of ‘no-mind’ and the presence of God is a bit confusing. I also, do wholeheartedly agree with you that it is not an easy concept to grasp nor implement.

Speaking for myself, I struggled with them for many years before I could totally comprehend the ‘no-mind’ and the presence of God concepts to my own satisfaction. The funny thing is that both of these metaphysical concepts are deceptively simple, but at the same time intensely completed. They are simple but, not easy to implement.

It all started back in the fall of 1976, when I suddenly stumbled upon a ‘secret’ that I could control my own mind simply by controlling my own thinking. As you may have noticed that there is always an internal dialogue or ‘self-talk’, if you will, that going on 24/7 in your own.
You have absolutely no control what-so-ever over this mind-chatter that goes on every day, 7 days a week , 365 days a year after year until you die. You cannot stop this self-talk of the mind no matter how hard you try. Why? Well, for one thing the mind is engineered to work all the time.

Just like the human body needs food to survive, the very same way the human mind needs food for its survival also. And guess, what is the food that the mind feeds upon? The food that the human mind needs to survive is none other that our own thoughts.

Just think of it! The human mind feeds only upon our own thoughts. And, its not very fussy either, It will feed upon your good thoughts as well as bad thoughts But, it must feed upon your thoughts.

So, all I had to do was to control my mind by controlling my own thinking. I became so intrigued with the simplicity of the ‘mind-operation; that I decided to devote 30+ years trying to implement this ‘secret’ in my daily life. Then, in 1982 his extensive, real-life and practical experience became a part of doctoral degree thesis at the University of Metaphysic in Los Angeles, California.

In a psychic nut shell, the ‘no-mind’ concept simply means that the moment you start to observe internal dialogue or the self-talk of the mind, you’ll notice that all mind-activity will suddenly begin to subside and eventually stop.

Metaphysically speaking it’s called a mind without any thoughts. In the East, it is referred to as a ‘no-mind’ because there is no mind-activity as if the mind is idle or dead. Eventually the mind-chatter, we call ‘thinking’ returns and the mind is in control again.

Another interesting thing about the mind-operation I learned was that about 80 -90 percent of this mind-chatter is usually not only useless and repetitive, but most importantly this self-talk of the mind is either about something in the past or an anticipation in the future but, never about the present moment.

Spiritually speaking, when the mind is dwelling in the past or future, we can say that for all practical purposes, the mind is not thinking of anything useful to us in the present moment. So that is when I coined the term having a blank mind.

The moment you recognize that you are able to shift from worldly thoughts to having a blank mind, it’s a feeling you never get tired of. It is our God-given right and privilege to take full and complete possession of our own minds. The mind was given to us to use and not to other way around. It can only be experienced that’s why it hard to prove anything.

One of the biggest rewards of having a mind without thoughts at all times is that suddenly you begin to use the right-minded thought system, and begin to accept the Atonement for yourself and heal the mind from its perception of separation from God which is the only
‘lack’ we really need to correct.

The moment the mind is under your full control and not thinking of the past or in the anticipation of the future that is when you start to dwell more and more in the present moment where God is, and in time, you begin to communicate with Him through the Holy Spirit. No one can prove this because you have to experience it for yourself.

In all fairness, let me confess that not until I became a devoted full-time student of A Course in Miracles that I truly understood the concepts of ‘no-mind’ and the presence of God. Frankly, nothing has influenced my own life more than practicing the 365 idea of the workbook for students section of A Course in Miracles.

Finally, let me say this, your determination to shift from the wrong-minded to right-minded thought system will allow you to look at the spiritual side of yourself. You will be able to see through your physical body your own spiritual individuality.

If someone had told me that someday, I will be an author one of the most intensely complex teachings that would be no more possible for me than my going to the moon. But, you have reviewed the content of my book and I believe that you agree with me that the content came from a Higher Source and not from my own intelligence.

I am sure that at times you must have felt that you were reading from another book and when you finally finished reading (and think) you realized that how these two books weave themselves into one book.

As you know, this book is not an easy book to read and you yourself were only able to read a few pages at a time as you had to stop and think about the material. This was quite intentional because book urges you to ‘stop and think’. The book is trying to force you to experience for yourself the concepts of ‘no-mind’ and the presence of God.

FQ: You state that “in essence, the separation never occurred because we have links that can unite us with God and takes us home where our true reality (spirit) dwells.” Your book teaches us how to stay in the right-mind, but what challenges have you faced in trying to do this yourself?

I am glad that you asked this question. It shows that you read every page of this book thoroughly. Proper understanding of the answer to this one question is the main key to correcting the perception of separation from God. It also teaches how to stay in the right-minded thought system at will by avoiding the wrong-mined thought system.

On page 20 of my book I endeavor to explain that in essence, the separation never occurred because the moment the separation seemed to occur God placed an Inner Being or the Holy Spirit in us, which undid the separation.

If you remember nothing else, just remember this. The key idea in this Course is that the separation never occurred because we have links that can unite us with God and takes us home where our true reality (spirit) dwells.

By links I mean the Holy Spirit and the acceptance of the Atonement and of course by staying in the right-minded system and avoiding the wrong-minded thought system at all times and at all costs are all links that ca unite us with God and takes us home where our true reality (spirit) dwells.

The way I use the word ‘home’ here, simply refers to the space between the two levels of the mind. In the East it is called the gap of ‘no-mind’ (mind without thoughts). This is our true home where our true reality (Spirit) dwells. I call the space having a blank mind. To the degree you are able to have a blank mind is the degree you are experience the peace of God. This is in essence, the aim of my living here, the end I seek. My purpose in life.

Speaking for myself, I was willing to sacrifice anything and everything including my possessions and even life itself but, not my God-given right and the privilege to ‘choose’ to stay in my right mind. That’s how determined I was to never give up my right.

That’s how determined I was to never ever let go of power to control my own mind by simply controlling my own thinking. It’s a feeling you never get tired of. You feel one with nature, all things living and the whole universe. But, you know what? The funny thing is that you can not prove this by any tangible way but this ‘state-of-mind’ has to be experienced first hand by yourself.

A Course in Miracles teaches that only through a revelatory experience can we comprehend the truth about the split mind’s perception of separation from God and the Holy Spirit’s plan of Atonement to undo this error.

Let me be perfectly honest with you and tell you that it is not easy to stay in the right-mind at all times. We live in a very negative world. Everyone will try to pull you down to their levels. My own biggest challenge was learning to forgive in all situations.