When we undertake to be students of A Course in Miracles, we do not give up the world: we forgive it. The course is clear that denying our body and its experiences is a bad idea – indeed, it is through those experiences (and that communication mechanism) that we learn just how to be students (see T-2.IV.3.8-11). We are here to learn and the lessons are contained in our lives – the friends, the jobs, the joys, the hardships. All of it.
In that light, I don’t think it’s a mistake to say that when things are at their worst, we may be at our best as students. I remember reading somewhere (I think in Robert Bly somewhere) that the psychologist Carl Jung was always very bored by patients who were happy and well. But when they showed up with grief and horror then he was delighted. Now we are going to get some work done!
It is the same way with the course. Forgiveness is a way of seeing – seeing with Jesus or, if you prefer, the Holy Spirit. That’s all. We are seeing without judgment – we are not resenting our experience, not qualifying it, not labeling it and, above all, not trying to change it. We are simply seeing it and, in seeing it clearly, letting it go. Letting it go is probably not the best phrase – it is dissolved for us, often not totally, but at least a little. Whatever it is – jealousy, money fear, overeating, addiction to exercise – its hold is lessened a bit. When it comes back, its bite isn’t as strong.
Thus, there is no problem with food, shelter and A Course in Miracles. I remember when I first started somebody was griping about their lack of money – it wasn’t me, but it could have been. I do that a lot. And somebody with a little more experience responded, then go get a job. I was so upset with that! How unjust and unsympathetic! I wanted to stand up in defense of the person who’d raised the issue.
I have always wanted Jesus to ride in on a golden pony with a winning lottery ticket.
But you know, it’s not about that. Jesus doesn’t work that way. At least not for me he doesn’t. From time to time I get little insights and sometimes they are quite helpful. Mostly, I get an ability to surf the emotional swells with a little more grace. You know – I attend a meeting and people are a little snarky and a little petty or whatever and I’m able to just sit with it. Here I go judging people again. Thanks for helping me to remember you’re here too, Jesus.
I showed up in ACIM around the time Gary Renard was starting to get popular. And you know, his work is very spectacular – time travel, past lives, ascended masters in the living room. You can get caught up in that and miss the message. I’d love to have that kind of drama in my life. Or rather, I used to want that kind of drama. These days, I’m beginning to appreciate the degree to which my life seems to only get more normal. Maybe a better way to put it is “normal only more so.” Over and over I am just letting it up – the emotional baggage, the psychological horror show, the sad stuff and the broken dreams that make me feel like a country song, the screwed-up relationships, the old addictions and the not-so old ones. All of it.
And it’s crazy but more and more it’s crazy like watching television: it’s not that I really believe it’s happening to someone else but I am beginning to appreciate that it’s all just an illusion. Just a production put on by the ego to keep me from the present, from the thoughts I think with God. The clearer that gets, the smoother it goes.
So you know, I wake up and walk the dog and do some pushups and eat some bran flakes and drink some coffee. And I go teach and some of the students are amazing and some are not. And I grade papers and go to staff meetings and come home tired to play backgammon and tell stories and ride horses with the kids. Mow the lawn while yawning, answer emails and all that. It’s just life. It keeps happening. And I’m learning as I go.