Are you having trouble with or feeling confused by A Course in Miracles?
If your answer is yes, that’s okay. In fact, if the Course isn’t causing at least a little discomfort, then you might be missing – or ignoring or denying – certain aspects of it. And that’s okay, too.
There are a couple of reasons why ACIM can pose a real challenge to students. The first is that it’s a complicated text. It’s well over six hundred pages of metaphysics that relies heavily on Christian metaphors and Freudian psychology to make its point. Some of the ideas are complicated. Some of them are a little wacky. Even though I find the text remarkably consistent, there are days when reading it feels like wading through sludge with a blindfold on. I feel dense and stupid and sure that I’m missing something.
The course lessons are a bit less complicated when it comes to comprehension, but then they have to be put into application, and that poses its own challenge. Sometimes we forget to practice them, right? Or our mind wanders and instead of meditating on the fact that we’re under no laws but God’s, we’re wondering what’s going to happen on the season finale of our favorite television sitcom.
Hey, it happens.
If any of that sounds familiar – and if you’re trying to find an answer, a solution – then my feeling is that you just keep plugging away. Some days are better than others, and if you can surf your way through the challenging ones, then eventually you are going to find that the better days start to get more frequent. You’ll look up one day and realize that you aren’t as bogged down with worry and fear the way you used to be. You’re more helpful, more happy.
There is a lot to be said for keeping on with the keeping on.
The other way that the course can mess with your life though is a bit trickier. For me, the course was initially full of beauty. I felt like I was home and just shy of Heaven’s gate. I loved the text, couldn’t wait to get to the next lesson in the ACIM workbook.
Then the unsettling started. Situations that had once seemed perfectly natural and normal began to grate. I started to find myself annoyed with people and places. What was wrong? How could this happen? I was supposed to be channeling Jesus. I was supposed to be a point of light, a human radio radiating nothing but grace.
The course suggests – and I agree – that when we begin to practice it, we start to value what is real. And that means that a great deal of what we have been valuing up to that point is going to have to fall to the wayside. And that will produce some temporary anxiety and angst. When we place our faith and trust in God, when we truly try to accept and make manifest the fact that only God’s will is real, that there are no laws but God’s, then our lives change. There is an upside down, things are slipping kind of sensation.
It feels like crap, but it really means that the course is working. It means that we’re working it.
When does it get better? I think it’s a lot like what I said earlier. If we keep doing it, keep trying sincerely to deepen our relationship with God by turning our lives and our wills and our problems over to the Holy Spirit, then slowly there’s a morphing. We might not notice it but one day it will occur to us that things are different. We’re different.
For me, it has been valuable to simply continue my practice, trying to let it guide me, trying to be honest and real, not putting on spiritual airs. It’s not easy. There are days when I struggle, days when I doubt. I won’t lie to you. I look back and think about the paths I turned away from. Is it too late to go back? But mostly I persevere. I keep on keeping on in my own stumbling and imperfect way. And it works. I can feel it working in drips and dribbles.
If the course is right for you, then it’s right, and you need to keep at it. But listen. If it’s wrong? If you keep trying and it just doesn’t resonate? If all seems like one big cult to you? Then walk away. Take a break. Try something different, and don’t feel bad about that. You have a right to be happy – that’s what God wants.