I knelt on the floor and shot Kayleigh’s well-worn cloth piggy down the long hall. “Strike one,” I said.

Instead of fetching, my little dog merely blinked. Then she turned her back on me and pretended to scratch her belly.

“We’re burning daylight here,” I told her, glancing at my watch. I wagered I had exactly 10 minutes to play with the dog like the good pet Mama I strive to be before heading back to my computer.

“Speak for yourself, Mama,” I answered for Kayleigh as I often do, perfectly mimicking the little falsetto voice with which she converses with me in my imagination.

I rose, rummaged in her toy box for a more alluring trinket, knelt once more, and hurled the baby blue chick that emitted an irritating peeping noise down the hall. Kayleigh watched it thwack against the hard-wood floor with a shrill hiccup. Then she lay back down with a yawn, stretched out on her side like the world’s tiniest horse in a puddle of sunlight, and closed her confounding little eyes.

Jesus, I thought, exasperated; even dogs have authority problems. I had been contemplating that very topic discussed in Chapter 3 of A Course in Miracles and apparently running rampant in the objects of my projection for more than a week.

“The issue of authority is really a question of authorship. When you have an authority problem, it is always because you believe you are the author of yourself and project your delusion onto others. You then perceive the situation as one in which others are literally fighting you for your authorship.”

Just like they think God is. I had practically memorized those words and yet, although frequently and earnestly asking for help from my right mind to see my dog, my daughter, and my husband’s refusal to in any way, shape, or form comply with the simplest and most sincere of my requests to deliver on their meager family responsibilities differently I remained annoyed by their lack of cooperation. Ironically, in another facet of my curriculum, multiple organizations with which I am affiliated vied for my attention, upping the ante in their requests for more of my “voluntary” participation even though I thought I had firmly stated my inability to increase my involvement given my current over-flowing plate.

I squeezed my eyes shut in frustration, mentally rehearsing yet another conversation with one of these apparent adversaries seemingly hell-bent on thwarting me. It was time to head back to the proverbial classroom and present my findings to Jesus. I wanted to get him to look at the authority problem run amuck in all these nut cases out there and help me forgive them. I had even designed a special pair of glasses to enable him to discern the bittersweet poignancy of the human condition which—with all due respect—totally seems to elude that man. They were pink, oversized, and studded with little plastic smiley faces.

“What’s up with these?” Jesus asked.

“Magic,” I said.

He looked puzzled.

“You know, to help you see my 3-D world. You don’t usually see it; I know you don’t. I can tell by that goofy look you get on your face. Admit it; you’re extremely far-sighted.”

“You think?” He put on the glasses and squeezed into the desk beside mine.

I flipped off the lights, raised the remote, and hit play on the DVD player. “Exhibit A,” I said, as the machine whirred to life, featuring a scene of me walking Kayleigh yesterday around our neighborhood. “There,” I said, backing up. “Did you see that?”

Jesus tilted his head.

On the screen, I stood at a corner with Kayleigh, ordering her to stay as she yanked on the leash and spun in frantic circles. “Sit,” I commanded, but she stood her ground, peering up at a squirrel scaling a flowering pear tree, its buds raised in tiny fists. “No respect whatsoever,” I said, hitting play once more as the film advanced to the next scene.

I stabbed the screen with my little pointer. “Just look at that right there–can you even see the floor in that room?”

Jesus adjusted his glasses.

“Thumbing her nose at me is what she’s really doing. And here; allow me to zoom in on that volley of emails right there.” I enlarged them and adjusted the focus. “Demand, demand, demand, demand, demand—silent recrimination–demand,” I summarized. “It’s like they want to consume me, you know? Suck every little drop of life blood and sweat out of me.”

“So let me get this straight,” Jesus said. “Your dog, your daughter, and your husband blow off your requests while the rest of them won’t stop badgering you?”

“You are a quick study.”

“Do you think you might be being a tad dramatic?”

I gave him the look.

He covered his mouth and pretended to cough.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said. “You actually want me to believe it’s all just a symptom of their authority problem.”

“Their authority problem?” he said.

“Exactly. The way she just has to have it all her way all the time. OK, so that’s what egos do–especially, young ones. Annoying as it is, I suppose I get that. But what’s his excuse? I mean, he still perceives every little request no matter how sweetly delivered as a threat to his precious autonomy. And that group right there?” I tapped each one of them upside the head with my pointer.

“Demand, demand, demand,” Jesus said.

“Those glasses really are helping,” I said.

“So this whole authority problem they all have; refresh my memory on that?”

I hit the pause button. “Everyone out there has it,” I said. “They think they invented themselves.”


How many times did I have to go over this with him? I mean, he might as well have written the book. It was a trick, of course; I knew that by now; just another thinly veiled pop quiz. I was so going to ace this class. “OK,” I said, “at some point–and please do not even think about asking me why–the one Son of God wondered what it would be like to strike off on his own and forgot to laugh at the tiny mad idea of it. Suddenly, he perceived himself cast out of Heaven and no longer included in the one loving fold. Overwhelmed with guilt and fearful of God’s retribution the one mind seemed to split into the ego—the part of the mind that believed in and cherished the idea of separate identities—and the Holy Spirit—the part of the mind that remembered it never happened.”


“Funny. Anyway, curious to experience specialness while avoiding reprisal the now little “s” son of God followed the ego into an entire projected universe of form to hide out in. The one mind seemed to splinter into a gazillion fragmented forms, assumed bodies, and then started competing for its very survival. Oh, and all the seeming separated ones fell asleep so they would never remember they even had a mind outside the body to which they could return and choose again for truth.”

“Yikes,” Jesus said.

I nodded. “See, now they believe they exist at God’s expense and want to continue doing so. They believe they have to constantly defend themselves to prove their individuality even though they secretly know on some level that it’s all based on a lie. That eternally alive God could not cease to exist, which means that the selves they think they are really don’t since they are still a part of God. See, they think their self-worth comes from being better than others, being independent from others, proving they can manipulate others into doing what they want, and resisting allowing others to manipulate them all the while forgetting their self-worth still comes from God.”

“They really do sound like nut cases.”


He took off his glasses, carefully blew on each lens, and cleaned them off with a sleeve of whatever you call that drapey getup he wears. He did not put them back on. “I know what you’re thinking,” he said, after a while.

I thought a moment. “And tell me again what their behavior has to do with me?”

“Bingo.” He smiled.

I glanced back up at the screen but the images were gone. The DVD player, too, had miraculously vanished. The lights were back on. “I know what you’re thinking,” I said.

“Class dismissed?” Jesus said. “I mean, for now, anyway.”

“Hey.” I smiled back. You just had to love that guy. “Those glasses didn’t really take, did they?” I said.

“Not so much.” He put them back on. “They are rather fetching, though.”

“Yeah,” I said. “They really do make your eyes pop.”

“Father, Christ’s vision is the way to You. What He beholds invites Your memory to be restored to me. And this I choose, to be what I would look upon today.”

-A Course in Miracles, workbook lesson 271

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dugan is an ACIM student and teacher blogging weekly about practicing its extraordinary forgiveness in ordinary life and answering questions at www.foraysinforgiveness.com. She is featured in the documentary A Course in Miracles; The Movie along with renowned Course scholar, teacher, and author Kenneth Wapnick, PhD, best-selling Course author and speaker Gary Renard, and other ACIM teachers and authors. A collection of her personal essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, is now available at http://www.amazon.com/Extraordinary-Ordinary-Forgiveness-Susan-Dugan/dp/...