So long as one is willing to relearn everything, it is not possible to be wrong about A Course in Miracles. This is a natural extension of the fact the course meets us where we are and takes us as far as we are ready to go at a given point in time. When we need to know more – or different – we will.
Who is willing to relearn everything is attached to nothing, and thus has nothing to defend. Salvation and defenselessness go hand in hand (W-pI.153.7:1). Who knows this is true is no longer worried about debating whether the historical Jesus dictated the course, or whether Gary Renard is a fraud, or whether one needs to be practice meditation in order to really benefit from the workbook lessons. Opinion is not knowledge; it is merely an expression of one’s attachment to egoic perception.
We are always learning because the Holy Spirit in us is always teaching. We can ignore this and obscure it but we cannot end it.
When we are humble with respect to knowledge, knowledge remains a gift eternally giving of itself. When we decide we know all that we need to know, or that what we already know we know perfectly, or that what we know is qualitatively better than what somebody else knows, then we are effectively damming the flow of knowledge and damning ourselves to ignorance.
It is possible to be quite smart and informed and still be a damn fool. I am possibly almost expertly qualified to attest to this.
So it is important, I think, to remain teachable: to avoid conclusions, to be aware of those moments when we are “right” and others “wrong.” Those opinions will certainly arise but they need not be given special welcome. My Buddhist friends talk about “beginner’s mind,” that state of openness before experience and so-called expertise enter and we decide “I’ve got it!” Beginners learn well because there aren’t as many barriers that need to be scaled, modified, removed etc.
A Course in Miracles touches on this point, too. In the introduction to the Workbook’s third review section, we find this reminder:
Do not forget how little you have learned.
Do not forget how much you can learn now (W-pI.rIII.in.13:1-2).
The question is: what do we want? Are we ready to slough off the ego and its meaningless baubles passed off as reality? To become Christ-minded? To know God’s Kingdom as a present reality, eternally present in the quiet interior that is outside time and space, untouched by language, clear and impersonal and perfect?
If the answer is yes (even if tentative, even if qualified), then we are consenting to be taught how the peace that surpasses understanding is already so. We are in essence declaring our intention to become students of what is. As the Manual for Teachers says, “teaching is a constant process; it goes on every moment of the day, and continues into sleeping thoughts as well (M-in.1:6). We are always learning because the Holy Spirit in us is always teaching. We can ignore this and obscure it but we cannot end it.
Only guilt and fear dictate that learning is done, and they do so only when they perceive that their own undoing is imminent. Thus, when we are aware of our internal resistance to learning – regardless of the form it takes – we ought to rejoice, for it is a sure sign that our thinking is realigning itself in favor of spirit and against the ego.
The joy that arises in us as we seek God’s Will where God’s Will is naturally begets more such directed seeking. That is the essence of learning: one moves in the direction of what causes peace and away from that which causes conflict.
It is helpful then to give attention to what is going on: the broad panoply our feelings, thoughts and behavior. Beyond the form that our living in the world assumes is the simplicity of salvation – love or the call for love, to which the answer is always the same: Love. Nothing is that isn’t God. This is all we learn: over and over, in one form then another then another, until at last our learning ends and we pass beyond altars and saviors entirely to what – for now – we will not pretend has a name that we know.