I have been somewhat remiss lately in posting. There are a couple of reasons for that. From time to time I simply run out of energy for writing about A Course in Miracles or other projects command my attention. That’s one. But the other is that sometimes I am simply cannot make heads or tails of what I am experiencing and so writing about it feels irresponsible. Yet I am also reluctant to go completely silent. So in general terms I’d like to talk about what’s going on.
One of the things I have always admired about the course is its consistency. Yes, early parts of the text are a little less focused than those that come later, but by and large it is a remarkably coherent set of books. Jesus is firm and clear without sacrificing either kindness or generosity. He is like a beloved teacher who will not let you slack for one minute and even though you kind of hate him for that, you really love him because you know he loves you and only wants what is best for you. He is both endlessly patient and entirely unwilling to compromise.
One area in which that lovingkindness and refusal to compromise are especially evident is the “reality” of the world in which we live. The course does not equivocate at all on this subject. The world is not real but a dream. Projection makes perception. We look inside and see guilt and fear and hate and we project it outward. The physical world – which includes our bodies, our brains and our brain’s apparent thoughts – is not real in any way, shape or form. This is not a metaphor or an analogy. Jesus isn’t saying “the world is not real” while winking at us.
At last I get that. And that is good news. Because when you get the world is not real, then forgiveness becomes possible at a scale and pace previously unimaginable. You can’t blame the cranky student or the disruptive student. Or your nagging wife/husband/partner. Your problem isn’t that your kids whine too much about bedtime. Or that the dog rolled in horse manure right before bedtime. Or that the Republican or Democratic or Green candidate is telling lies. All of it – without exception – is merely a projection that can serve one of two purposes. Either it can perpetuate your separation from God – which is the ego’s use – or, when turned over to the Holy Spirit, it can undo that seeming separation.
When you are “above the battlefield” – ACIM lingo for no longer being invested in the world as a meaningful reality – you see that nothing that is happening down there matters except to the extent that you give it over to what the course calls your inner teacher. And under that guidance, the world is scrubbed clean of every doubt, fear, anger, hatred and shred of guilt we ever laid upon it. Very cool!
But a real pain in the ass, too! Because when you are floating up there with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, you are deprived of your scapegoats. You spend a lifetime – maybe lots of lifetimes – blaming every last aspect of the external world for your problems, from splinters in your big toe to nuclear war. And suddenly, you see that that is your problem. And seeing that means it no longer works. You start to project your guilt onto your brother or sister and then you remember. Oh, right. I don’t do that anymore.
And that makes me very grumpy. But Jesus knew it would and counsels patience.
Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is (T-20.III.9:1-2).
He can be such an annoying know-it-all.
Anyway. I’m doing a sort of clumsy shuffle in the old jail cell. I expect to stumble into the light any day now. Thanks, by the way, for stumbling along with.