A Course in Miracles Lesson 76

I am under no laws but God’s.

Every once in a while an ACIM lesson sort of throws down on you and demands that you profess what you believe. It’s like that old Bob Dylan song “Precious Angel” from the beginning of his Christian phase. “You either got faith or you got unbelief and there ain’t no neutral ground.” For me, this is such a lesson.

Why? Because it brooks no middle ground. It eschews the gray areas. The laws the world and my body follow – laws of politics, medicine, nutrition, psychology, economics, education, gender, whatever – are lies made to beget and sustain the illusion that I am separate from my brothers and sisters. The only law that counts is God’s law. Everything in which I believe, all the rules and laws and codes on which my world and my self rest are false. They underpin nothing. The world is not real.

Sometimes the lessons are soft and gentle. You can wriggle around in them a little, get the meaning to soften. You can make it so you’re here in the world aspiring to Heaven. You can pretend that you can have your spiritual cake and eat it, too. And then you can spend a long time in that space. Lifetimes, I think.

The problem is, it doesn’t work. You reach this point – I reached a point – where you can’t hold firm in the so-called middle ground. Dylan was right. Either you believe or you don’t. Either you’re committed or you’re not. That’s all we have control over, our decision to commit. We can put it off a long time. But sooner or later we hit the wall. The old lies don’t work. The illusion won’t hold. And we turn inside and this is what we learn: there are no laws but God’s.

Can we deal with that? If it’s true, there’s nothing to deal with, right? I’m okay with accepting the old ways don’t work. You can have the world. I’m done with it. I’m ready to be done with it. But what comes next? What am I if the only law that’s relevant is God’s law? I am reminded of a phrase from the very last chapter of the text:

I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself. Yet in this learning is salvation born (T-31.V.17:7-8).

So this lesson is a chance to go deep within and admit that we are lost. We can face the surrender of the entire world – everything we think we know, everything that we believe – and accept that we have no clue what comes next. That is good space. It’s God space! Sometimes I have to admit that I don’t know what salvation will look like or what it will feel like. I get clues. I get flashes and glimpses. But that state of constant joy? It’s still off in the distance, still a dream. Yet a crumbling precedes it – a willingness to allow the self we have constructed to be dissembled through our letting go. From the wreckage we can begin to take tentative steps. The first few are the hardest. But each brings a critical shift. Each pries our eyes open that much more. Truly the light has come.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kathy Rovere March 10, 2013, 3:13 pm

    Sean,
    I belong to an ACIM group and last week we discussed Lesson 76. I have been at sea with this lesson and not ready to move on to the next. How literal is this message? In group, we were allowing that “wiggle room”, but I felt an unease. In that wonderful flow of the universe I found your words. Thank you!

    • Sean Reagan March 11, 2013, 7:12 am

      Thanks, Kathy! I’m glad it was helpful.

      I hear you . . . of course we all respond to the Course differently, but I do feel that this lesson does not encourage “wiggle room.” In a way that is very hard for the egoic self to manage, the Course is always telling us there is no middle ground. You’ve got to go all the way or you’re not going at all. And we all want that little out – that little space to change our mind! I know I do. But then the Course reminds me a) salvation doesn’t work by degrees and b) that’s okay because all I really want is salvation. So leaping in whole hog is a good thing.

      Thanks again, Kathy!

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