Someone asked me the other day if my life was better because of A Course in Miracles. I broke into gales of (much-needed) laughter.
For a long time – the first round of the workbook, the first dozen reads of the text – ACIM was an easy one-way ticket to the happiest dream ever. Life rocked. Then, without warning, life got regular again. Then it got hard.
That shine – that gleam that lights the proselytizer’s path – disappeared.
That’s an odd thing to say at this point. I stumbled into ACIM through EFT (emotional freedom technique) which I was doing because I was desperately trying to transform a few energy-draining habits. It worked wonders. And the Course felt like a natural complement. Tapping, playing with my crystals, doing the workbook . . . I was going to have it all. Material abundance, spiritual enlightenment. Look out Eckhart Tolle – Sean Reagan is getting his God on!
Beware the sincere practice of A Course in Miracles. It will mess you up. “Miracles are everyone’s right but purification is necessary first” (T-1.I.8).
I had – I still have thought it is less tyrannical – an clear ideal against which the good life was measured. A big house on X number of acres, a certain income, this type of social activity and not that, a requisite number of blog readers. Whatever.
What the course did – what the miracle continues to do – is disentangle cause and effect. I am no longer able to see the external has having anything to do – anything at all – with the internal. Everything outside of me – especially that for which I hunger – is an idol built to obscure the Truth, the face of Christ. Everything. It’s there to kill peace. It’s there to block love. And the answer isn’t to fight it, or switch idols, but simply to forgive it.
And remember: “Forgiveness . . . is still, and quietly does nothing . . . It merely looks, and waits, and judges not” (W-pII.1.4:1,3).
This is an important undoing. I am giving the world up one grain of sand at a time and I am not doing it happily. You won’t see any youtube videos of me talking in a quiet voice surrounded by flowers and hazy sunlight. No bumper sticker wisdom in soft pastels posted on facebook. It’s a long process and while it’s not without its moments of happiness, it’s not easy. But slowly and surely – not without missteps – I am turning inward where there is real peace, real joy.
If that sounds abstract, well, that’s what it is. You change your mind – you don’t change anything outside. Outside is specific. Inside is abstract. And there are no exceptions. When the mind change works, what’s outside appears to be transformed. It’s tempting to confuse that exterior transformation with the interior decision. Don’t. The external world is simply a mirage projected by your interior decision-maker. You’re the cause. The world is effect.
It’s actually quite simple. But the ego – the self we have invented (which is also an abstraction albeit an abstraction in denial) – is constantly at work undermining that basic law of God. Don’t underestimate that. If you’re here in a body, then you’re not home in Heaven. Keep practicing.
Measured externally, 2011 was one of the most challenging and painful years of my life. There was a lot of death, there were some very difficult amends, there was nowhere near enough money, and there were several professional setbacks. Every time I thought well, okay, that’s the bottom it turned out there was another drop waiting. In some respects, I feel less “spiritual” – whatever that means – than ever before.
It doesn’t matter. I made the decision to wake up. The Holy Spirit endorsed it. Jesus took my hand. It’s a hell of a ride, this journey into Heaven.