I have been reflecting a great deal lately about language – what words can do, what they cannot do. I am a writer by both nature and trade and, for better worse, am deeply invested in the power of language, such as it is.
As a student of A Course in Miracles, I feel frustrated with the limitations of words. In fact, it is clear that on some level they are agents of separation. Words specify and thus impair generalization. What is X cannot be Y and it certainly cannot be a unified alphabet.
Yet we are here to communicate, by whatever means necessary. We have a function, a role to play in the atonement – ending our separation from God – and it is unique to us inside the illusory world in which we believe we live.
It is possible to make both too much of this fact and too little.
We make too much of it when we “invest” in the world. That is, when we start to compare our gifts or skills to other people in an effort to judge one better or worse. This person is a more successful writer by virtue of sales. That person is a better ACIM teacher because they have more speaking gigs.
Suddenly, we are less focused on our contributions to Jesus’ mission to heal us all and remind us we are already at home in Heaven than we are in vain compare and contrast exercises.
In other words, I cannot simultaneously hear the Holy Spirit’s call to heal and the ego’s call to destroy.
We make too little of our special function when we start to block it. Is that the ego I hear or the Holy Spirit? If I follow that suggestion, how will I be able to keep a roof over my family’s head? We let doubt in – quite often in the guise of (apparently) reasonable questions. So long as I’m allowing the ego to henpeck my function to death, then I’m not going to fulfill my function.
I can’t stand by idly while the ego performs its execution by degrees.
For me, answering the call to write without judgment is healing. And it’s hard. It’s hard because writing itself is challenging, but it’s also hard because my ego has gotten very subtle and seductive in its efforts to keep me silent. This almost always takes two forms: the desire to steer clear of the perils and pitfalls of spiritual pride, and a belief that by avoiding right work I remain poor as the world defines it and thus have an honorable badge attesting to my devotion to Jesus.
There is some value in both of these ideas, but my investment in them is unhealthy. I use them to stop (or impede) the work I am called to do. They are the raucous jeers I listen to in lieu of the Holy Spirit’s gentle song of guidance.
As I have pursued this blog – and related writing projects – I am always given opportunities to see how the ego messes with me. How it sets up traps, promotes circular reasoning, brays and prattles to keep me frozen, submissive, fearful, uncertain.
Yet I am also able to witness the Holy Spirit’s capacity for inducing miracles with just a shred of willingness on my end. New friends show up. People ask questions that I need answered myself. Wisdom flows over the transom and I drink it like a penitent too long in the desert.
On Level One, there is one child of God and it’s us – all of us, without exception or qualification. Thus, what happens on Level Two – where this blog is, where I am, and where you are reading it – is an illusion. We cannot really make any changes on Level Two because it’s akin to drawing pictures in a pool of water.
We have to change our mind on Level One.
Yet – somewhat paradoxically – the only real way to do that is to interact with the images and ideas that we encounter on Level Two. We have to forgive them – the mouth-watering cheesecake, the boss who fires us, the illness that wracks us or our loved ones. It’s all grist for the mill of forgiveness.
The course teaches us that our special function is “the special form in which the fact that God is not insane appears most sensible and meaningful to you. The content is the same. The form is suited to your special needs . . .”
So it’s okay to be who you are – who you believe you be, the very best that you believe you can be. Be a healer or a teacher. Be a successful business leader. It’s all the same because it’s all part of the one dream we’re having – the dream of separation. Yet by forgiving those dream elements in front of us – by giving them over to the Holy Spirit, by choosing to look at them with Jesus instead of the ego – we empower those Holy Teachers to undo illusions for us.
What is undone on Level Two is undone for all of us. You are not called to heal the dream for you alone – but for me, too. For all of us.
And the more we do it, the easier – the more natural – forgiveness becomes. And that in turn opens up new playing fields in which forgiveness opportunities abound. We are sleepers chained to an unhappy dream, bound to a nightmare of our own making. But our special function – that still voice inside that whispers go here, do that, say this, write that – is the opening through which healing flows.
Pry that opening wider with forgiveness – engage the dream with the willingness to have it undone for you. Then it will be undone for all of us, brothers and sisters. Heaven itself asks for nothing less.