There is a line in A Course in Miracles that leaped out at me the first time I read it. Jesus is talking about wading through the clouds that obscure the Kingdom of Heaven and he says that, if we want, we can imagine ourselves actually holding his hand while we walk forward. It is, he assures us, “no idle fantasy.”
There is a fascinating tension in the Course when it comes the Mind of Christ. On the one hand, it is as if the historical Jesus is right there, literally capable of physically making contact with us. Gary Renard, in the Disappearance of the Universe, talks at one point of feeling an actual hand on his shoulder in reassurance.
On the other hand, the metaphysics of ACIM often imply that Jesus is not a man in any way but simply one part of the Mind that we all share with God. He’s as much an illusion as that fire hydrant I can see out the window.
Myself, I bounce back and forth between the two extremes. When I write about prayer, I often note that I sometimes have to keep it very simple, almost to the point of being childlike. I talk to Jesus as one would talk to an older brother across the room. Those are not ineffective prayers for me. Not at all.
Yet there are also times when I perceive the world not as a melange of objects and identities but as one shimmering thing – it is, to paraphrase Saint Paul, like putting on Mind of Christ. There is a sense of one Christ mind of which we are all a part.
And those are not ineffective moments or prayers either.
I think that we have to assume that Jesus is available in whatever form and in whatever way we’ll have him. He’s not picky – he’ll get us any way he can. If we’re looking for flesh and blood (like some of the apostles were in the upper room) then okay. He’ll deliver. If we’re ready to do a more cosmic Christ consciousness, then that’s what we’ll get.
But all of it – all of it – is still just an illusion. So long as our perception is of Jesus out there somewhere – a crucified criminal bent on our salvation, a loving older brother symbolizing some post-modern enlightenment ideal – then we are still in the separation. It might not feel like it. It might not look like it, but it’s true. Christ mind is not separate from us. It’s not something to which we aspire, or a condition which we learn. It is us. It is all of us. It always was.
Sorting through these kinds of details can be stressful. They certainly lend one to assuming that there are levels of students – the good ones, the smart ones, the diligent ones. Whatever. Don’t get caught up in that. Don’t worry about it. Encounter Jesus – adopt the Mind of Christ – in any way that works for you. Each shared moment in that space will deliver light years down the road toward awakening. Don’t judge it. Give it to Jesus – however you see him – and let him sweat the details. That’s what he’s there for. That’s what he’s good at.