10 Questions Series: Gary & Cindy Renard

August 26, 2013 by Chris Grosso

Gary & Cindy Renard

 

NAME: Gary Renard & Cindy Lora-Renard

BIO: Gary Renard is the best-selling author of The Disappearance of the Universe and Your Immortal Reality. Gary has spoken in 41 states, 13 countries, and was the keynote speaker at the International A Course in Miracles Conferences in Salt Lake City and San Francisco. He is also the most recent recipient of the Infinity Foundation Spirit Award. The award is given to a person who has made a meaningful contribution to personal and spiritual growth. Past recipients include Dan Millman, Ram Dass, Gary Zukav, James Redfield and Neale Donald Walsch.

Cindy Lora-Renard is an innovative and extraordinary musical talent, and spiritual life coach, with a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.   In her music, she blends an eclectic mix of Visionary/New Age, Alternative Pop and meditative sounds with contemporary beats to create a unique style. Her sultry vocals, creative lyrics, and primal rhythms produce a state of mind which takes the listener to higher places where courage, wisdom, and passion can transform.  She has more recently been blending her music with the teachings of A Course In Miracles during workshops with her husband, Gary Renard. 

 

Q: Who and or what, do you attribute the person you are today to?

 

CLR: All of my life experience combined.  More specifically, my relationship with Spirit has been a major influence in who I am today, the guiding force in my life, helping me to understand who/what I am.  I can also appreciate the dualistic/Egoic nature of the world (not true reality) and all the experiences and relationships I’ve had within it as well, as it has helped me define who I am today by helping me to know who I am NOT;  that I am NOT of this world.  More recently, A Course In Miracles has been my Spiritual path, helping me to awaken to what is “Real” and “True” about my Self.

 

GR: The Holy Spirit (H.S.) H.S. can show up to you in many different ways- as an Angel, The Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Quadalupe, an Ascended Master, an idea, a Voice in your head, or an inspiration. The form doesn’t matter because it’s all really the Holy Spirit. The way A Course in Miracles puts it is, “His is the Voice for God and has therefore taken form. This form is not His reality.” So the form can be anything, but the reality behind the form, if it is coming from the right mind and not the wrong mind, is always Spirit.

 

Q: What are some of the musical albums or musicians/bands that have impacted your life and in what way?

 

CLR: “The Mask And Mirror” – Loreena McKennit – This artist is a visionary whose music and lyrics inspired me to be a better musician.  This album was introduced to me at a time in my life when I was searching for what kind of artist I wanted to be, and also just searching for who I was in general.  I didn’t have a clue.  This album shaped who I am as an artist today by introducing me to the Celtic style.  Listening to her music is like having a direct channel to God…it evokes the Love that is present within me.  “Only Time” –  Enya – Another visionary whose music seems to also connect me to the Divine presence.  This album helped me to center myself during challenging times.  I would listen to it for inspiration (still do) and to remind me that there is so much more going on that what our physical eyes see.  “Arrival” – Abba – My father used to play this album while I was growing up, and listening to it and singing along to all the songs when I was young had a huge influence in my wanting to become a singer.  I would lie down on the floor with my head between the speakers and just sing my heart out!  I felt inspired by their songs and the album just spoke to me.  Kenny Rogers – “Greatest Hits” album – This album also had a huge influence on my growing up, helping me with my self-expression.  I would act out the songs in my basement, pretending to have love affairs and all sorts of exciting life experiences.  It really helped to bring out my more creative and artistic nature very naturally.  This album still has an impact on me today because it brings back the memories of myself when I was unguarded and totally free to express myself.  “Celtic Woman” – Celtic Woman – and also “The Lord of the Dance” – Michael Flatley – (A tie!)  These albums were influential in that they helped me realize just how much I really do love Celtic music.  The first time I heard “The Lord of the Dance” it was as if a light turned on in my Mind and I just knew that something special had just happened to me.  It seemed to ignite ancient memories of dancing and singing in the temples of Egypt 2000 years ago.   Celtic Woman helped me to exercise my voice, and bring out the depth and richness of my own voice in ways I never could have imagined; similar to the way Loreena McKennit’s album “The Mask and Mirror” did for me.  Also, both these albums came into my life during key moments when change was just around the corner.  They inspired me to stay happy and positive during the challenging moments which change can bring.

 

GR: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by The Beatles. It made me realize music, art and personalities were expanding, and so could I. The early Bob Newhart comedy albums. My father would play them when I was 8 -9 years old and I believe I picked up my comedy timing from them. Bob was a good guy too. My wife Cindy met him once. All Summer Long, by The Beach Boys. They were quintessential America Band and made me love harmony forever. The Doors. Songs like The End (which was used at the beginning of the movie, “Apocalypse Now”) simply blew my mind. Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. He’s the ultimate poet / songwriter and made me realize that genius comes in many packages.

 

Q: What is one of the most shocking experiences you’ve ever had?

 

CLR: When Spirit confirmed that I was married to Steven Spielberg in a former lifetime, and that my former husband was my son in that lifetime.  We were part of the Lincoln family.  For some reason, that just really shocked me.  Then, when I pondered it for a while, it made sense given my life experiences up to that point.

 

GR: Seeing a young man stabbed and bleeding to death at a shopping mall in Maine in 1995. I had the distinct experience that it wasn’t him; that what we really are cannot be contained by a body.

 

Q: What is one of the most beautiful experiences you’ve ever had?

 

CLR: Marrying my current husband, Gary Renard.  We each sang a “surprise” song to each other during the ceremony, and when it came time to sing my song, I was so emotional I could barely get the words out.  He just gazed into my eyes, holding both my hands in his, and holding the space for me with such love and understanding.  It was like looking into the eyes of the Holy Spirit. So beautiful, I’ll never forget itJ

 

GR: The experience of what A Course in Miracles would call “Revelation.” This is when you actually experience your perfect oneness with God. It may only last for a second at first, but it’s so much more real than the universe of time and space that you know it has to be reality. Once you experience that, you never go back. You realize it blows away anything this world has to offer!

 

Q: What is one of the most defining moments in your life and why?

 

CLR: Making the decision to go to college.  After high school, I wanted to pursue music/singing, so I took a couple years off and didn’t know if I would go back to school.  I also got caught up with some people who had a “negative” influence on me and although I learned some lessons during that time, it was a difficult time for me in my late teens.  I drank quite often and was unhappy with myself.  The moment I made the decision to take one class in Psychology, it changed my life forever.  It “saved” me in some ways from going down a more negative path, helping me to focus on something positive.  That one class led me to take lots of music courses which would later help my musicianship, but ultimately led me to get a B.A. in Psychology and more recently a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology, which was in total alignment with my Spiritual path up to that point. I now combine two of my greatest joys in life into a special form of therapy, using Music and Spiritual Psychology to help others along their Spiritual journey.

 

GR: The first and subsequent appearances of my Ascended Master Teachers, Arten and Pursah. By the end of the second visit, they had introduced me to the Course, and I’ve never been the same.

 

Q: What do you believe are the benefit, if any, vs. the dangers of mind-altering drugs?

 

CLR: I don’t believe there are many benefits of illicit drug use, as it seems to lead mostly to destruction in some way, but I do think that there are certain kinds of drugs used for medicinal purposes that may be helpful if a person is taking them from a “right-minded” perspective, with the intention of using them to assist in healing in some way.  It is an individual choice.  If drugs are abused, and taken from an Ego perspective of “needing to escape, or just getting a habitual high” they can be very dangerous, addictive, and of course life-threatening.  Something for the drug seeker to keep in Mind would be that the Mind projects the body, and is its director, and drugs are taken, typically, to produce some kind of effect.  It may be wise to work on healing what is in the Mind first, and recognizing thought patterns or limited beliefs about oneself that keep the focus on the body, the effect.  It is what’s in the Mind that matters.

 

GR: I see no benefit to mind altering drug use. I know some people use hallucinogens to “expand their mind” but you could get the same results with natural methods and you don’t have all of the potential downside. Forget about drugs. They’re for suckers.

 

Q: What are some films you’ll never forget seeing for the first time and why?

 

CLR: “The Sound of Music” is one of my all time favorite films.  I first saw it when I was a little girl, and the music and story were so powerful to me.  I resonated with the ability of music to change one’s life for the better and to inspire communication and connectedness like nothing else can.  It brought out my own ability to heal through the use of music.  “E.T., The Extra-terrestrial” was another favorite growing up.  The first time I saw it, I was really taken by the fact that for once the aliens weren’t out to get something from the people. It was a beautiful story of connection between two species, where all judgment was set aside, and really showed that the underlying theme of all relations is love.  For me, Spielberg brought home the idea that relations with beings from outer space is not just fantasy. I became more open-minded and inquisitive about E.T.’s after seeing this movie.  “The Holiday” left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling after seeing it for the first time.  The relationships in the film are very “real” and genuine and so beautiful.  Every time I see it I feel like I’m connected with Spirit, it lifts me up, and therefore I consider it to be a favorite.   “Ben Hur” left an imprint in my Mind mainly because of one of the only scenes which featured Jesus.  Director, William Wyler, really depicted the powerful healing presence of Jesus in this film, not even having to show his face.  That is pretty remarkable.  It reminded me that underlying all the seeming “evil” forces is the great unseen force of LOVE, which transcends everything else, rendering it all meaningless.  “Forrest Gump” had an immediate impact on me because the main character, Forrest, exuded such fearlessness in everything he set out to do.  No matter what appeared to happen, he just kept going and stayed in the present, dealing with things in the moment they happened. What a great lesson and inspiration.  It also reminded me that when the Mind is focused, amazing things can occur.

 

GR: 1) Ben Hur, which is still tied with Titanic for the most Oscars ever (11). I had a powerful presentation of Jesus without them ever showing his face! 2) Titanic. My wife and I saw it 5 times. I still watch it sometimes. It’s one of the best ever. 3) Cabaret. It’s one of the best musicals ever, and a great film too winning 8 Oscars. I’ve never seen such great filmmaking of a story combined with such great songs. Kudos to the late Bob Fosse. 4) Jesus of Nazareth. Not a movie but a miniseries, but like a movie. Robert Powell played the best Jesus ever. He nailed the attitude. The story is standard New Testament, but still very well done by director Franco Zeffarelli. Rent it. 5) Bruce Almighty. I love comedies, Jim Carrey, and irony. This one has it all.

 

Q: Does God exist and if so, in what capacity? If not, why not?

 

CLR: I, personally, believe that God exists and is alive in all of us in the Oneness of perfection.  There is nothing but God, and anything else that appears to be here is an illusion.  A Course In Miracles states that “God Is” and we cease to speak.

 

GR: Yes, God exists, but not as a shape, or form. It exists as a perfect abstraction which cannot be put into words but can be experienced by us, even while we appear to be here walking around in bodies, which is an illusion. You could think of God as being synonymous with Heaven. According to the Course, Heaven is …”the awareness of perfect oneness, and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing else outside of this oneness, nothing else within.” It is shiftless and changeless; a constant, the absolute truth, forever immortal and invulnerable. This is our true home that we will all return too.

 

Q: What do you think your greatest contribution to humanity is?

 

CLR: Seeing all my brothers and sisters with love everyday and just Being Love, and Being Kind.  Part of my contribution in sharing my love is through producing music to uplift and inspire, as well as counsel others in the area of Spirituality, helping others recognize their innocent nature as Spirit.

 

GR: Getting people more in touch with the Holy Spirit, which in turn leads to peace. Peace must be attained in the mind first, before it can show up in the world. That’s because, as the Course describes it, what we are seeing is “an outer picture of an inward condition.” If there is conflict in the mind there will be conflict in the world, but if there is peace in the mind then it must follow that there will be peace in the world. That’s why my teachers in The Disappearance of the Universe said, “The people of the world will never live in peace until the people of the world have inner peace.”

 

Q: What does the human experience mean to you?

 

CLR: I use the human experience to be a communication channel for the Holy Spirit to come through me to the best of my ability every day.  Ultimately, I use the human experience to learn my lessons of Forgiveness, which is leading back to an awareness of my true home with God.

 

GR: The human experience is a false experience. As Einstein put it, it’s like “an optical delusion of consciousness.” The body is the idea of separation given form, but our true nature is immortal spirit. Just as a caterpillar transforms into a higher life form, a butterfly, so shall we as humans transform into a higher life form, spirit, which is our reality. I’ll look forward to joining you there!

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Chris Grosso is a public speaker, writer, recovering addict, spiritual director, and author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality (Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster) and Everything Mind: What I've Learned About Hard Knocks, Spiritual Awakening and the Mind-Blowing Truth of it All (Sounds True). He writes for ORIGIN Magazine, Huffington Post, and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, and has spoken and performed at Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conference, Sedona World Wisdom Days, Kripalu, Celebrate Your Life and more. Chris is passionate about his work with people who are in the process of healing or struggling with addictions of all kinds. He speaks and leads groups in detoxes, yoga studios, rehabs, youth centers, 12-step meetings, hospitals, conferences, and festivals worldwide. He is a member of the advisory board for Drugs over Dinner.