Life goes on, not like a river flowing between two points, bent on the penultimate sea, but more like a flower which emerges from the earth and grows and blossoms, and holds its blossom a while before withering and falling back to earth to disintegrate into loam from which – soon enough – sprouts another flower.
It is the process that matters: the movement of Life – not the particular container in which the movement is temporally observable and measurable. Awareness of it is key to joy.
A Course in Miracles suggests that we give ourselves to a teacher who is internal (T-7.VII.7:2). The whole of its instruction is given to facilitating this critical relationship; though it alludes to what follows, it is not especially instructive about what follows (e.g., preface, T-in.1:6) . When we finish the course we are consistently in the presence of our teacher, whose guidance continues. So long as we have not attained that the conviction of that relationship, it remains imperative to continue our focus on learning through A Course in Miracles.
Yet when we reach that Teacher, it is altogether possible – perhaps likely – that we will be directed gently away from the course. We do not cherish the envelope but the letter that reached us through it. This is natural and healthy and necessary. Who worships the envelope may miss its contents entirely.
We do not cherish the envelope but the letter that reached us through it.
Our Teacher is internal and abstract: a presence in mind. But that is not to say it goes without manifestation. One can infer from A Course in Miracles that God is not in the world; this is true of the world we perceive through the egoic lens. It is less true of the world our Teacher shows us. Indeed, it may be the salient quality of that world.
Earlier the kids and I wandered up Sam Hill Road, past the snowy expanse of Watts Brook, past the old cemetery in which I have helped dig graves, past pastures two centuries old now shadowed by the realtor’s for sale sign. Snow melt ran alongside the hardtop, catching up silt and mica which in turn caught the bright rays of sun and sparkled brighter than stars.
“It is gold,” I said. “For thirty springs it has been silver and now it is gold.”
And we studied it to be sure. Cool March winds blew down our necks, dilapidated pickups roared by between sap runs. And we agreed: it was gold. It was not silver. It lifted us to the top of the hill and all the way back; it lifts us still.
Attention given to the smallest details yields a gentle peace and serious joy about which I am wary to write, knowing well how it resists the containment of language. And yet Heaven is here, if we will only see it, and seeing it neither seek change or steal or commodify it.
Emily Dickinson knew:
Who has not found the Heaven – below –
Will fail of it above –
For Angels rent the House next our’s,
Wherever we remove – (1609)
How grateful I am for this body, sacred as a bluet, a holy prism through which awareness of Love passes, revealing cold starlight, snow-encrusted rivers, streams of roadside mica, and the harsh cry of crows. Who insists on the body’s unreality has yet to meet the Teacher whose quiet instruction allows it to become an essential mode of Heaven.
The Tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower –
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o’er – (1565)
Perceive the Given now: allow its manifestation now. It is Life itself – forever folding and unfolding, endless and pathless, bound to no form and to all forms, unhindered – unaffected – by death. All this our Teacher offers us, not in the pages of a book, but in the field of our awareness, which is our attention given to her to use as she sees fit. For when we are with her, said Dickinson, it is
A warmth as near as if the Sun
Were shining in your Hand. (1597)