It seems a point comes when we begin to feel out-of-sorts, or perhaps we sense there is some way of living and experiencing life that is more vivid and alive than what we are presently experiencing, and we turn to spirituality, broadly defined, to provide the solution, the improved experience.
We become seekers in other words. We have projected a problem – our guilt, our ontological fear, what-have-you – and with it we project a solution which we have to find. Any time we project a problem, we ipso facto project a solution as well. And then off we go in search of it, dragging our lovers and therapists and gurus and yoga teachers and personal spiritual libraries with us. I have been quite dramatic about this over the years. In some ways, I still am.
At some point in that seeking process, we might run into nonduality which, in terms of advaita, means ‘one-without-a-second.’ A Course in Miracles is a contemporary Christian example of nonduality. It is a clearly dual course that points toward the ‘one-without-a-second,’ which it refers to as God.
Any ‘path’ or ‘teacher’ or ‘method’ that purports to be nondual, will have its main focus a direct investigation into the separate self – the ‘I’ – from which our woes appear to rise and for whom they present such an apparent problem.
In the ultimate sense, all of these paths and teachers and methods are the One pointing to itself, but in the particular sense, some will be more attractive or resonant or helpful than others. There is nothing wrong with us. If ACIM is for you, you will know or suspect this, and things will evolve accordingly. And if it’s not, you’ll know that, too, and be able to move along to what is more helpful.
For me, A Course in Miracles was like staying at a hotel for a summer. You come at the beginning of June and – through the people you meet, the activities you do, and so forth – you leave in September a changed person. The teacher I took for the course was Tara Singh, who was deceased, and who I experienced mainly through his writing, though a little bit through recordings. I also studied Ken Wapnick’s writing, and corresponded briefly with him a year or so before he died.
As part of my study of A Course in Miracles I also read David Bohm on the subject of dialogue. Bohm’s little book “On Dialogue” was instrumental for me. It shifted my thinking away from the poetic and theological language of A Course in Miracles, and allowed me to begin to consider ‘awakening’ – whatever that was – as being something straightforward, simple and accessible. I don’t know why that was so; nobody else seems to experience Bohmian dialogue that way.
In many ways, I am not a traditional student or teacher of the course. Plenty of people – including some very intelligent and experienced students of the course – think I’m fishing in the wrong river with the right bait (or the right river with the wrong bait). That’s okay. I’m not trying to step on toes here, so much as be honest and clear about my own experience. If it works, it works, and if doesn’t, well, you’ll know. No hard feelings either way.
Perhaps you know the old Zen story. A novice monk asks his teacher to show him the moon. The teacher points to the moon floating in the sky like a jewel. The novice looks at the teacher’s finger and breathes, “the moon is so lovely.”
For me, the course was the finger. When I had gazed at that to which it pointed, there was no longer any need for it. This does not mean I am not grateful and humble and curious about it. It does mean, however, that I no longer feel compelled to objectify the course: it is not a scripture, not a religion, and not a set of laws. I do not defend it. I simply talk about how it helped me, what I learned while studying it, what happened as I brought into application, and what life is like now. If that is helpful to you, then great. If not, that’s okay, too.
I would be remiss if I did not thank you for visiting: thank you.