A Course in Miracles is both a text – or series of texts, if you prefer – and a self-study course. It is, to my mind, a sacred text because it touches – and teaches its students to touch – what is eternal and holy. William Blake wrote that “we are put on earth a little space,/That we may learn to bear the beams of love.” A Course in Miracles will teach us to bear – and even extend – those beams if that is what we we ask of it.
And the asking is so important! When we ask for edification or clarification, we clear a space. We create an opening. By signaling our willingness to be transformed, our transformation is assured. God does not refuse any request that is grounded in love. Jesus knew it.
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
This asking, then, is the beginning of our freedom. It is the beginning of our recollection of our identity in God. It is as if our request triggers the loving blessing of God, the one event bound to the other like a ray of sunlight to the sun from which it flows.
This need to ask – for blessing, for awakening – is inherent in the learning process so essential to A Course in Miracles. Those who learn best are the ones who are not afraid to undo their seeming ignorance by shining a light on it. I teach Emily Dickinson a lot and the students who are willing to face themselves as they probe her poetry are the ones who come away from the experience changed. They are the ones who really see Dickinson and really experience the Heaven to which she so boldly and beautifully witnessed.
Undoing is not the same as passivity. We are not called by Jesus to be passive in our salvation. Rather, we are called to active discernment. We don’t accomplish salvation on our terms but on God’s, yet we still must learn to see the difference between those terms. We must be vigilant in choosing the Holy Spirit as our teacher and Jesus as our model. The ego is playing for keeps too. It won’t undo itself.
We don’t have to solve the problems, but we do have to see them clearly so that we can offer them to the One who can solve them. Anything else is literally a vicious circle.
Hell and oblivion are ideas that you made up, and you are bent on demonstrating their reality to establish yours. If their reality is questioned, you believe that yours is (T-13.IV.2:3-4).
So questioning is not only asking for help. It is also the means of establishing reality. It is the mode of discernment that enables us to see where the egoic self is frantically spinning its destructive webs and alternatively, where the Holy Spirit is quietly showing us the way to Love, which is Life.
You have been as selective in your questions as in your perception. An open mind is more honest than this (T-13.IV.3:7-8).
Our study of A Course in Miracles begins by asking for help. We reach out to the teacher and the model student, asking both of them to guide us in the learning process. Do this literally! On your knees, on a zafu, sitting quietly with tea, looking at a flower or a chipmunk on a tree limb. Remember Blake:
Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.
Activate the sacredness of the text – which mirrors your own hidden sacredness – with the simple request that it be shown to you. It desires its own revelation. That is why it is here. That is why you are here, too.