Guilty Until Proven Innocent

-1Like many of us I have always viewed snakes as creepy at best and very scary most of the time. I realize that many snakes are harmless yet they suffer from the bad press of their poisonous brethren. I was told if you cannot identify poisonous snakes then it’s better to stay clear of all snakes. I definitely believe snakes are guilty until proven innocent. Of course, I realize that is what I believe about myself and as a consequence what I believe about others.


John Mark Stroud ( asked me during a visit to Asheville, NC why I did not believe in my own innocence. I really did not have an answer. So I’ve been asking my Holy Self ever since my return from the Take Me to Truth ( retreat in Israel to reveal my innocence. My Holy Self has been very creative in doing this mostly through dreams, walking my labyrinth and just a gradual awareness as I live each day. I feel my perception gently changing to allow all that exists in this dream of separation to be sinless, guiltless and innocent. Recently this awareness has been transformed through the appearance of three real life symbols: snakes, a five-year-old girl, and a fire.


I’ll start first with the story of the fire.   I live in northern New Mexico where the largest threat in our drought filled summers are wilderness/forest fires. Last week there was a wilderness fire about 25 miles west of where I live on a remote mesa top. We could clearly see where it was burning by the continual rolling clouds of billowing smoke. It was rapidly devouring over 400 acres of forest and depending on the wind, the smoke was heavy at times over our house.


I woke one night breathing dense smoke. I immediately closed all the windows and as I tried to go back to sleep, I became anxious and reviewed in my mind what we would take with us if we had to be evacuated. I asked my Holy Self for some help and as I drifted to sleep this thought arose, “in my innocence my safety lies.” The next morning, the fire appeared to be much smaller and in a few days with the aid of some much needed rain showers, it ended.


So the thought, “in my innocence my safety lies” stays with me. I realize it is a variation of the Course in Miracles workbook lesson 153, “In my defenselessness my safety lies.” We defend against God all the time with worries, concerns, judgments, illness, and guilt, as versions of our fear of God’s love, our continual argument that we are right and God is wrong. And our defenses keep us believing in this dream of separation. How can we possibly be innocent of all the horrors of this world? Until I truly no longer choose to believe in the perception of being separate from God, then I think there is stuff in this world that can harm me.


As a result, I continue to teeter between believing the teaching, “in my innocence my safety lies” and thinking until I wake from the dream of separation, my house could burn and if I step on a rattlesnake, I’ll get bit. Stepping on a rattlesnake seems a real possibility. They are prevalent in New Mexico and I do a lot of hiking. Rattlesnakes are actually very shy and despite their reputation fueled by Hollywood, they do not actively seek out human beings to bite.


During one hike, while deep in thought, I was startled into awareness by a hiss and rattle and I spied a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike if I came any closer. Naturally, I ran in the opposite direction at light speed. Once my heart rate returned to normal, I thought, well thank you snake for warning me you were there and not to approach. While the fear of snakes seemed to be reinforced, I had a vague awareness that this was a lesson that I am safe and protected always.


The next time I encountered a rattlesnake on one of my hikes was two days after my return from the retreat in Israel. I was still in a place of high spiritual awareness and peace.   And as before, I was deep in thought and did not notice the snake. Only this time there was no warning hiss and rattle. The first I was aware of the rattlesnake was when I was about to step on its head. I managed to step over it and after walking a ways away I turned around to look. The rattlesnake was totally stretched out in the sun. At first I thought it had to be dead or I would have been bitten and then I noticed its tongue flicking in and out. And this is when I latched onto my fear thoughts about snakes, taking me totally out of peace, not acknowledging that I had been totally safe. Later, I realized I just received another lesson on “in my innocence my safety lies.”


These lessons continue. Recently at a neighborhood barbecue we were graced by the presence of a very large bull snake and an overly precocious, charming five-year-old girl, I’ll call Anna. The bull snake has been living at the neighbor’s house for several months eating mice and single mindedly trying to reach some birds nesting in the ceiling of the front portal (porch). I’ve seen the snake before with my usual wariness and feeling of creepiness. Only this time with the help of Anna, I was transformed.


Anna arrived at the neighborhood get-together in a fancy long dress and a crown on her head made by her older brother. She glowed with happiness and joy. Anna was in total delight with the snake, absolutely entranced. She spent most of her time on the front portal with her brother, her Dad and the snake. Periodically she would come around to the back portal and announce that the snake was coming to visit us, each time with more and more delight and anticipation. She would say, “the snake is coming, the snake is coming” and then she would run away to watch its progress. With her total delight and faith, I knew the snake would soon appear and it did stick its head around the corner of the house only to be shooed away by the owner.


Eventually we crowded around and watched the snake wind itself around a post and some wires, trying to reach the birds. I had to admire its persistence. The snake did not mind if we touched it. It was the friendliest snake I have ever met. So eventually I decided I needed to take its picture draped in the red chair. And suddenly while I was doing this, I felt absolute love for the snake, which then extended to all of us loving the snake along with Anna. And I felt our innocence. “Be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus said. Like Anna, be innocently joyful, in love with all of life, including a bull snake.


I think we take this process of coming home to our true inheritance way too seriously, I know I do. And I very much appreciate my Holy Self using snakes and children to reveal my innocence so I can see it in others. Animal spirit guides and children have always been the most effective means for teaching when I have been stubbornly resisting the truth. According to the wisdom of Native Americans, animals can be spirit guides, and the power of snake medicine is one of creation, birth, renewal and transmutation. In the book Medicine Cards by Jamie Sands and David Carson they write, “When this Snake energy reaches the spiritual plane, it becomes wisdom, understanding, wholeness, and connection to the Great Spirit.” OK, I thought, that’s what happened to me in my instant of joining with the bull snake.


When I review this story of Sally, I realize I have always been safe and all those close to me have always been safe. Even through times of pain, suffering, physical injuries, loss, death, illness, worry and fear; I have always been safe; we have always been safe. Even if my house actually burned or if a snake bites me, I am totally safe. It’s a variation on the theme, there are no accidents and everything is always perfect. It does not matter what happens, I’m just making it up and I am creating this lifetime to remember the truth of my oneness with God and to return Home. I allow all to occur in this dream of separation because all of it serves the Atonement. And I can’t say why snakes and Anna created this shift to deeper awareness, but its there, I am there.


So I may still teeter from believing in my innocence at times, but the pendulum has shifted from believing guilty until proven innocent first, to my innocence is all I ever have been. And in my guiltlessness, I created and then decided to believe in this rather amazing, complicated dream of separation from God just for the experience of waking up. It’s all rather miraculous.


You can contact me about mentoring through this web site or through Take Me to Truth (TMTT).  All fees for mentoring through TMTT are donated to TMTT.

Categories A Course in Miracles | Tags: | Posted on July 13, 2014

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