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Derek Best has contributed to several publications, including Macleans Magazine Canada, and Omni Magazine, USA. He is has also produced many documentary films for Television. For many years, he has been interested in A Course in Miracles, a metaphysical thought system, and maintains the official website for that organization. "ACIM", he says "is central to my personal way of seeing the world." This site is strictly personal however. Derek has an eclectic range of interests, and writes about them here as the mood strikes him.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night - only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell.

Am I conflicted because my happy little cocoon owes its existence to might, muscle and cruise missiles? Does my bloodless, stressless, vegetarian, non-sectarian, humanitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, cavity-free, low-cholesterol life really represent reality, or is that only found in the land where ignorant armies clash by night? (see below). I ask myself just how superior do I feel; up to date on all the newest studies on what is good for me and what is bad for me, with all my books and thoughts and empty postures --- my life of sugar-free wannabe purity --- my struggles with the leading edge of nothing.

There is no truth to be found, vortexing down into the mobius interior of quantum physics. There is none to be found puffing a Cohiba in the park while discussing theology --- none to be found comparing the "great body of law" with that of living breathing organisms, and none to be found dreaming up more and more clever ways to send chatter around the globe.

"But it is only natural" the ego cries, to defend the obsession with solving the insoluble. Yes it is --- and there's the rub. Canute could not hold back the tides, nor any more can we, yet we rise in the mornings and lay down in the evenings only because we believe we progress toward the eventual inevitable conquest of that problem. Who dares speak out against hope and progress? Not once do we dare stop panting, pushing, hoping, believing, dreaming that entropy is a myth and all the golden edifices of today will not transform into the flattened ashes of tomorrow... Dreaming ... "keep the dream alive," they say, for without the dream what is there? Far be it from me to suggest the end of dreaming is the end of all time. That is not yet a welcome idea.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night
-- Matthew Arnold.

The ego is not yet ready to give up "the struggle for peace" in favor of peace itself.

Memorial Day Weekend, 2008.


Anonymous Rachel said...

The ego is not yet ready to give up "the struggle for peace" in favor of peace itself.
That's excellent! Did you write that Derek? That's the most profound thing I've read for a long time. How perfect and how true!

11:54 AM  
Anonymous dorothy said...

I will miss the weekly Questions and Answers. It was by far the best site on the web about ACIM. In my opinion you should continue your work with the Course, you are a blessing.

11:11 PM  


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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Clear mind and defective soup.

Lots of microscopic ducks in the park, swimming doggedly in single file behind their duck mothers. What to feed ducks? I've tried bread and they eat it, but I can't help thinking they'll get acne and get fat. I tried oatmeal but it just floats on the water for a while while they swim around in it and ignore it. Once I gave them half a pancake left over from breakfast and they really enjoyed that: syrup and all. SOmeone told me they like corn, so I bought a can of green giant and offered it to them. ... no interest ... When ducks don't like something they seem to have a sixth sense about it. They don't even try it. Not one little test nibble. They just know it's yukky and ignore it. It turns out, however, I was almost correct: they do like corn, but it has to be cracked corn. They go nuts over that. Put some in your hand and hold your hand out to them and they gobble it up out of your palm. That's a really odd feeling.

The mind is simplified in proportion to the visual cortex. This month I went to Florida for a few days to see a doctor and managed to fit in one day on the beach. Beaches are visually simple. They have broad simple planes and long straight lines. All the clutter and confusion of trees and buildings melts away, and so much of the static din of everyday life subsides with it. The mind can see further, straighter, deeper. How would it be, I wonder, to live on the inside of a perfectly white sphere, with even concealed lighting and no doors, windows, or furniture.

Note to Campbell's soup company: I have yet to buy a can of alphabet soup that allows me to spell my own name. There is always at least one letter missing! What did I ever do to you?


Blogger Lucy said...

Thanks so much for your work on the ACIM questions. I recently discovered the site and I'm working my way through all the questions. Your understanding of ACIM principles and your ability to communicate that understanding in your writing is exceptional. I wish you would publish it in a book.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Derek said...

Thanks Lucy but you must thank all the folks at FACIM for the quality of the answers. I'll pass on your kind comments.

3:20 AM  


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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Closing of ACIM site.

Just an informational post. Nothing inspired today...

We are bringing the ACIM questions and answers site to a close this summer. There will be no further additions, though it will stay available online as a reference source. I feel like I'm saying farewell to a comfortable old house in which I have many happy memories, but all in all I'll be glad to move on to new challenges. My personal thanks to all the thousands of people who have participated over the years with questions and comments that always provoked, always stimulated, and often moved me deeply. My thanks too, to the people at the Foundation for A Course In Miracles for allowing me to be a part of this six-year project. I have grown a lot because of it, and because of all of you.

Have been in a strange space the last few months ... frantically, constantly busy, sometimes working half the night: but despite being on that treadmill -- less and less interested in conventional goals and achievements. We published a question about that this week at http://www.facimoutreach.org/qa/questions/questions292.htm#Q1342. I cannot claim I am the "happy learner" but a kind of peace is settling over me. I don't know, maybe it's just fatigue. Maybe it's old age and life is just losing luster. One side effect has been - I have lost all interest in reading books or columns or blogs about The Course. Seems like I passed through a door somewhere a few months ago, which clicked shut and suddenly shut out a whole lot of noise. With the noise gone, I realise how much I don't need it.

Went to see the new Narnia movie tonight. Fairly boring. Too long, too loud, too pointless. Too much CGI. I felt as if I were being assaulted by the music which clamored from start to finish, trying to tell me how to feel about every detail. The kids (in the movie) were fairly ineffective as heroes. Too bland, too British. They were like "the Railway Children." I do see they've re-issued "Last Year At Marienbad" up in Chicago. I'm hoping it will come to other cities. If you haven't seen this 1961 French classic, please do, if you get a chance.

Charlton Heston died ... when I was a boy I saw Ben Hur about 20 times and it was probably responsible for making me want to go into Film and TV work (which I did.) Now 50 years later I saw an interview with Gore Vidal about writing the script, and he was saying the only way to make the dialog scenes between Heston and Boyd (Ben Hur and Messala) anything but wooden and dull, was to postulate a homosexual relationship between them as boys. That's why Messala feels so spurned, and turns on his boyhood best friend. he is a jilted lover. They told Steven Boyd about this but they didn't tell Charlton Heston. Heston just "acts" and grimaces his way through it. Wow! Life has strange rivers.

I sent off to Hong Kong for a DVD of Ben Hur with Chinese subtitles, so my wife can understand the plot, but I can't sit through it any more. To me it is wooden even with the interesting new sexual undertones.

I miss London, you know? I had a flight booked there last month but I had to cancel it because I was just too busy with medical stuff. Maybe next year.

It turns out my nurse who spends one week a month with me giving me treatments has a husband who has a house down in Florida that sits empty most of the year. Occasionally he'll go down there for a week. But here's the odd thing -- she told me the property taxes are $14,000 per year. The house is in Volusia county which I know has a pretty average tax rate, so that must be at least a million dollar home. Just sitting empty! Why does that bother me?


Anonymous marian said...

Sorry to hear about the Q and A closing down--although I have to admit the questions have been fairly repetitive for a while now. What always inspired me was the kindness and care that went into the answers.

Sounds like you are shifting your focus in some positive ways, no? I liked your newsy post. Although I cannot comprehend sitting through Ben Hur even once, although I believe I did, as a girl. Definitely a boy's movie.

will you keep your blog, do you think?

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about ACIM blogs and sites... I've drifted away from them as well (sadly, not because I don't need them)... but the one I always read and get the most value from is the FACIM Q&A site... I can't tell you how sorry I am that it is closing down... it is very well done and I am always amazed at its content and, as Marian said, the kindness and compassion that shines through... sad news indeed... thank you for your years of great work on that site.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just recently found the Q&A site. I love it! Thanks so much for helping to create it, and for leaving it up. Two questions: Any idea how long it will stay? Who actually answered the questions?
Thanks again and all the best to you.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your website has been the highlight of my week, and a great joy. I am so sorry it will be ending. I wish you all the best with whatever you do next.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm stunned. I had been reading your Q and A for over a year. My primary purpose was that I was looking for ACIM success stories.

I have been practicing New Age/Eastern religions/spiritualities on and off for 25 years. ACIM was my most-current Path. It definitely brought me back on track. But the second time I went through the workbook and read lesson 189.7.5 "Forget this world, forget this course and come with wholly empty hands unto your God.", I knew I was done.

In my worldview all spiritual movements like ACIM are not paths, but maps to the path. Once the map gets you to the path, you can put the map aside and enjoy the journey, guided from Within.

I found my ACIM success story--you!

Godspeed on your Journey,
Vic Smyth

2:22 PM  
Blogger Derek said...


"The map is not the territory."
-- Alfred Korzybski.


3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear people,
I am a 20 year student of the Course. I've completed the Workbook Lessons at least 14 times.
During the very years Helen was 'scribing' the material; I daily sojourned in Central Park, across from her flat (as it events), and had the very strong inclination that a book was about to manifest which would "explain why the world is the way it is, and why people behave the way they do."
I'm now reading Ken's "Love Does Not Condemn" the 2nd time. I read it 20 years ago and it has 'informed' my perceptions these two decades. Perhaps I review it, this time, at greater depth.
I'm 61 years of age. This finds me at point of clambering out of the worst several years of my life; including such reverse of fortune as to leave me homeless for 2 years, 'til a year ago.
Having achieved a small windfall, I've a few dollars to invest in Course-study materials.
I was wondering what might Ken's recommendations for an advanced-student, and one who is on the heal from recent wounding, who can expend but $40-60, might be?
Thank you,

Jim Kendall ~ Jim.Arjuna@gmail.com ~ 1111 Fourth St. - #4, San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 525-1585

9:55 AM  
Blogger Manu said...

I found the Q&A site a few months ago.I am so glad I was led to it as it answers every question I've had and in a wonderfully complete way.
Believe it or not, but now whenever I'm feeling not centered, I click on a question almost at random and reading the answer helps tremendously. I tend to refer to it more than the Course itself!

Thank you Derek, you have simplified understanding and practising its thought system so much.
Manu Anand

12:33 PM  


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