Few concepts in A Course in Miracles are as practical and essential as that of the two teachers in our mind. One – what ACIM calls the ego – is a clueless hallucination (T-8.I.2:2). The other – the Holy Spirit – is the Voice for God, ending the separation through the plan of Atonement (C-6.1:4, 2:1).
We cannot learn from two teachers, both teaching opposite belief systems, simultaneously. The result of trying to do that is chaos and uncertainty. This is the experience most students of A Course in Miracles know: we hear the Holy Spirit sometimes, the ego most of the time, and we’re trying to pretend that a balance between the two equals Heaven.
It doesn’t: we have to choose. And when we choose wrongly – as we certainly will – we have to choose again. That’s what it means to study and practice A Course in Miracles.
How, then, do we make this choice?
We have to be clear on the consequences of accepting the ego as our teacher. We have to be willing to see the complete and utter mess the ego makes of life, and we have to we see the futility of it ever changing. The ego does not improve or get better or agree to heed the Holy Spirit. It wants you dead and is trying to kill you as surreptitiously as possible.
So long as we believe that we can somehow negotiate with the ego, we’re not ready to listen to the Holy Spirit. There is no middle ground.
Thus, we have to pay attention to our lives. How do you feel? Right now, in this moment, as you read this post in whatever external circumstances you find yourself, how are you feeling? Don’t focus only on the surface level: I’m happy because I’m an ACIM student, and I’ve got a lovely cup of tea, and there’s a cat on my lap.
Go deeper. If you are in the world – and if you are reading this, you are in it, as I am in it writing – then you are wracked by fear and guilt and sooner or later they are going to make a hash of your life. The cat is going to die, the tea is going to spill, and A Course in Miracles is going to let you down.
Our feelings are a useful barometer, helping us discern what teacher we are listening to.
Your mind and mine can unite in shining your ego away, releasing the strength of God into everything you think and do . . . Watch your mind carefully for any beliefs that hinder its accomplishment, and step away from them. Judge how well you have done this by your own feelings . . . (T-4.IV.8:3, 5-6)
If you are unhappy – if you are burdened by guilt and fear at any level – rest assured that you are in the ego’s classroom, diligently partaking of its lessons.
When we are pleased with how successful we are, or how much spiritual progress we’ve made, or how logical or beautiful our writing is . . . When we are angry at so-and-so for not behaving according to expectations, or at God for allowing floods here and shootings there, or at ourselves for failing to keep promises . . .
Each of those examples – and the thousands like them we all know by heart – are simply the emotional signals that we’re going the wrong way. They are not unlike blips on the radar telling us there is an obstruction ahead. We can heed them. We can turn around. We can listen to another teacher.
If you want understanding and enlightenment you will learn it, because your decision to learn it is the decision to listen to the Teacher Who knows of light, and can therefore teach it to you. There is no limit on your learning because there is no limit on your mind (T-8.III.1:4-5).
The result of taking our place in the Holy Spirit’s classroom is happiness and peace. They are available to us at the drop of a hat. It’s not like traveling and it’s not like we have to take an entrance exam. The Holy Spirit is in your mind right now and will gladly teach you immediately. Your willingness to consider the truth of that sentence is its truth.
So our liberation is always at hand, simply by virtue of what we are in truth.
Tara Singh once wrote (in A Gift for All Mankind) that the course relates us with our eternity.
The Course doesn’t teach or preach because stands on the premise that you are already perfect. Don’t you have difficult believing this? You have already concluded otherwise about yourself. A Course in Miracles questions the conclusions, assumptions and opinions in which you are caught. What could free you from your concepts and beliefs bu the Action of Love? If you are already perfect, then all you need to know is who you are (47).
And Jesus is very clear in the text that we are entitled to the same glory to which God is entitled. “Ask for light and learn that you are light” (T-8.III.1:3).
All we really need to do is listen to the Teacher who knows we are light, and whose teaching is the very “Action of Love.” The Holy Spirit’s voice is quiet and still but impossible to ignore. You already know how to open yourself to it: why not follow it home?