In the last few days my friend Annelies Ekeler wrote a beautiful tribute to Ken Wapnick, who died recently, based on a post on her blog (in Dutch) titled The Gate of Unbelief (De Poort van 'ongeloof' in Dutch). In her blog post she makes the point that the ego's obstacles--the obstacles to Peace, as the Course calls them--eventually all become open gates we can pass through if we just give our emotions to the Holy Spirit, which is the essence of forgiveness. This is always grounded in the realization that we are never upset at a fact or a thing, but at our interpretation of it, which is indicative that we have put the ego in the driver's seat (again), and now we can make another choice.
Perhaps it will be helpful to remember that no one can be angry at a fact. It is always an interpretation that gives rise to negative emotions, regardless of their seeming justification by what [appears] as facts. Regardless, too, of the intensity of the anger that is aroused. It may be merely slight irritation, perhaps too mild to be even clearly recognized. Or it may also take the form of intense rage, accompanied by thoughts of violence, fantasied or apparently acted out. It does not matter. All of these reactions are the same. They obscure the truth, and this can never be a matter of degree. Either truth is apparent, or it is not. It cannot be partially recognized. Who is unaware of truth must look upon illusions. (ACIM:M-17.4)And then it all came together, and I began listening to some of my favorite versions of "Twelve Gates to the City," here are some of them:
- by the Reverend Gary Davis, an old blues traditional
- by Pete Seeger, to document the transition in to folk
- by Bob Dylan, in a very recent performance
- by the Davis Sisters, a modern gospel version
- by Dave van Ronk, like Pete Seeger, but more bluesy