I rest in God.
I sometimes say A Course in Miracles has a stereophonic quality: it works a couple of channels (or levels, if you prefer) the better to enchance its message. What I mean by this is that the “you” to which the course addresses itself is both the split-off fragment of Christ Mind remembering itself and the egoic self that thinks it’s living in a cruel world.
Thus, while the course “remains in the egoic framework” (C-in.3:1) it also readily transcends that framework in the direction of Spirit. In a sense, one could say that the course represents the expression of Helen Schucman’s right or healed mind and thus speaks to us at that level as well. The Holy Spirit always recongizes itself.
This stereophonic phenomenon is quite apparent (to me anyway) in lesson 109: I rest in God. We can see it by asking a simple question: who is resting in God? Who is this self and, as importantly, from what is it taking refuge?
For the lesson is very much one of respite: of finding and making use of some space in which to relax and breathe and remember the sure end to our (apparently) long and difficult sojourn.
This is a day of peace. You rest in God, and while the world is torn by winds of hate your rest remains completely undisturbed. Yours is the rest of Truth. Appearances cannot intrude on you (W-pI.109.4:1-4).
The self the lesson addresses is simultaneously the God-created Self outside of time and space (what we might call Christ Mind and what other traditions call atman or buddha) and the egoic self that is capable of being shaken by the world’s appearances (W-pI.109.1:1). We can read it at either level and not be mistaken – or, to put it positively, we can read it helpfully at either level.
This is the essence of why I so often say that A Course in Miracles meets us where we are. If we need to be assured that it’s okay we can’t make a mortgage payment or that somebody we love is dying of cancer or that the wrong political party is in power, then the course will be there with us. If we want to believe that the historical Jesus is metaphysically present – literally offering us his hand – then that is what we will get (W-pI.70.9:4).
At the same time, if we want to approach God more abstractly – beyond symbols, beyond language, where space and time and self begin to blur and dissolve – then that, too, will be given.
In a sense, the course can do this – meet us where we are – because it knows what we have forgotten: it is not possible to be separate from God. It is only possible to believe that we are separate from God. Thus, what we are in truth is always united with God regardless of whether we are aware of that union or spiritually slumming in fragmentation and forgetfulness.
You can never be deprived of your perfect holiness because its Source goes with you wherever you go. You can never suffer because the Source of all joy goes with you wherever you go (W-pI.41.4:1-2).
Nor do I think it matters in the end at which level we meet the course. Neither level is more right or more valuable or more helpful than the other. Indeed, that is why the course can be stereophonic: what is true at one level readily transfers to the other. It cannot be said enough but we are ideas in the Mind of God and “ideas leave not their source” (T-26.VII.4:7). In a way, wherever we meet the course is where we are supposed to meet it, because it is there at that moment that we can best approach and accept the memory of God.
So Lesson 109 is a sweet reminder that we are right where we are meant to be and we are not alone there. More than anything, this reassurance can help us settle into the depths of our practice. We are allowed to rest in God! How beautiful and comforting to know this, and how nurturing and supportive to accept it as the single fact of our existence. We rest in God: and we are home.