A Course in Miracles Lesson 97

I am spirit.

I know many students of A Course in Miracles who find this lesson – and its simple but profound declaration – to be their favorite. Indeed, it is a powerful lesson. Where sometimes we are trying to work through complicated metaphysics, or really engaging our thoughts and images, with this we are simply stating a home truth about what we are. This whole sequence of lessons has been about getting clear and comfortable – confident even – with what we are. And now we can say it. We are spirit.

This is a positive declaration. Yet it negates a great deal. If we are spirit, then we are not body. The lesson is clear – we aren’t trying to combine opposites or merge various competing identities. We are purely spirit. The rest is illusion. Can we accept that? Can we at least try?

When we say that we are spirit – and implicitly state that we are not bodies – then we are also bidding farewell to the various conflicts and problems that face the body in the world. Whether it is the material scarcity that we believe we suffer from, or physical ailments up to and including death, or just a crappy day at work, they are gone. We are spirit. This world in which we move is a dream.

Again, that can be a big pill to swallow. But we are not really being called to do it alone. The five minutes per hour which are devoted to this lesson are effectively a gift to the Holy Spirit. It is like giving permission to our right mind – that part of us that knows it is healed and that nothing is broken – to simply run the show for a little while. And the effects of that are grand indeed. We are going to feel blessed and peaceful, but we are not the only ones.

The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and he will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome (W-pI.97.5:1-2).

So another implication of this affirmative statement of self identity is that it blesses the world. We are connected and our healing is never for ourselves alone but for the whole world. This is a powerful idea central to the course, and it is bright relief in this lesson.

One other thought that jumps out at me here. The lesson suggests that just a few minutes of sincere practice of this lesson can save a thousand years or more of study and practice. A thousand years! It’s worth staying with that for a moment. The span of time contemplated by the course – for our healing, our awakening, and the release of the world – is immense. It’s not about getting salvation wrapped up before dinner, you know? We are playing a long game here. Sometimes it is good to take the long view and to appreciate just how vast the plan of atonement really is.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Laurie Blackburn October 30, 2013, 6:00 pm

    I just want to take a moment to thank you for your postings. I look to them daily in my study of the course, finding clarity on some days and broadening my limited understanding on others. At this point in my journey I’m feeling frustrated, discouraged and disinterested- I don’t know what it is. I have read the Course text and am halfway through Disappearance of the Universe. I’m beginning to find it all a little unbelievable – and even if it is true, a little sad. Some of my greatest spiritual moments have been looking at the sky, or nature, or my daughters – and the thought of believing those are all illusions is a bit disheartening. I’m finding my dedication and commitment waning as the days go on. I just received your email about commitment and it couldn’t be more appropriate for where I’m at. That coupled with this reminder that this isn’t an overnight thing really helps – at least it allows me to forgive myself.

    • Sean Reagan November 2, 2013, 10:32 am

      Hi Laurie,

      Thank you for the kind words – I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you. I am juggling too many things in the world of form!

      I hope you will forgive a long reply to your comment. On many levels, what you are sharing resonates for me and feels important.

      I was a very enthusiastic student early on in my study. I’ve written about this – I wanted to be the smartest, savviest, most spiritual, poetic (and humble) student on the planet. I used to say things like, “oh, don’t worry that we’re going to miss a mortgage payment – the world isn’t real.” Or, “I know you say you have a cold but the body isn’t real – this is just your way of refusing love.”

      One day I realized that I was saying all that – and throwing it in people’s faces – because I didn’t believe it. I was faking it. And even after that, it took a long time for me to get comfortable saying “this doesn’t make sense to me. It’s too much like a new age fantasy.”

      What I am trying to say is, I admire your honesty: because that’s where we get the clarity and the ground from which to start learning for real.

      It may be that the course isn’t your path – if that’s the case, then good to learn it now and move on to what works. But it may also be that you are finally ready to open up to the Holy Spirit in a deep way. I truly believe that the faint shred of insight that I have into the course came when I finally admitted how broken I was, how confused I was, how greedy for praise and attention I was.

      I’m not saying you are having those exact issues – and I apologize if it sounds like I’m being critical. I’m actually telling you that I think you are in an incredible spiritual place – it feels like a crisis but it’s really an opportunity.

      I also want to validate your experience of seeing God or Love or Light in nature, your kids and so forth. Laurie – that is exactly my experience. I walk hours in the forest each morning (well, most mornings) and I do so because I see Christ in falling birch leaves and tracks of deer, hear Christ in the little brook and the chickadees and I absolutely – absolutely – experience the Love of Christ in the presence of my children and my wife.

      That is not a flaw! In fact, it is a gift. We all “see” and “hear” and “feel” Christ in special ways – that is what it means to be a body, that is how God reaches us here in the dream. Rather than run from those things because they aren’t real we embrace them because they contain the tiny light that will lead us all the way to Love Itself if we let it.

      I can see God in a flower because right now it is the safest way to perceive love. And it is enough – the Holy Spirit can work with that – and will work with that! And part of the way that work happens is that we embrace and accept love where we find it – playing music, walking int he forest, parenting, baking, meditating, fishing, whatever.

      Does that make sense? The Course always meets us where we are and that meeting is most fruitful when we are fully who and where we are. Don’t sweat that it’s all an illusion. Trust that you’ll be given clarity about that metaphysical truth when you need it. Focus on being the kindest and most loving person you can – give as much love as you can – and forgive yourself for not being perfect.

      Sometimes I step back from ACIM. Take a day off from the lessons, read another teacher who isn’t all ACIM-focused, or just put it all aside and do something else: go apple-picking, watch movies that make me laugh, bake bread for my family, visit a friend, whatever. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are infinitely patient.

      Anyway, thank you so much for reading & sharing. Again, I’m sorry for the long-windedness. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get back to me.

      Be well, Laurie!

      Love,
      Sean

  • Robin October 17, 2014, 12:49 pm

    I too am a struggling student and use your postings as another way of making sense of what I read. I think it is just fine to do so since I assume the Holy Spirit brought me here. Your response to Laurie’s concern about the confusion with ‘it is all an illusion’ was just what I needed to hear. Yesterday was a beautiful fall day here in Oregon. I was stunned by it…and then thought ‘it is just an illusion’ and then I was sad. Now I can look at all the wonderful parts of life…and say to the Holy Spirit ‘Thank you’.

    • Sean Reagan October 17, 2014, 4:46 pm

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you for sharing. I’m glad the post and comments were helpful. I do think that the way out of the illusion is to give close attention to it, which will often take the form of loving it. It is like ACIM says: “You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it” (T-13.VII.9:1). We are not in error when we are gently giving loving attention to our lives: children, dogs, sunsets, cheesecakes, mountain ranges, good books, back rubs, whatever. These are glimpses of Heaven in a form we can manage as we allow – slowly but surely – the blocks of love to be undone.

      Thank you again for writing – I appreciate your kindness very much.

      Love,
      Sean

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