A Course in Miracles – while pointing to a state of pure nonduality it calls Heaven (or knowledge) – is really geared towards helping us navigate the dream (nightmare, really) that obscures that Heaven.
When I say that the course meets us where we are, I mean literally that it will help us figure out how to live right here in the world. Struggling to be patient with someone who’s rude? Try A Course in Miracles. Need help balancing materialism and service? Give A Course in Miracles a try. Stressed out because you keep hitting snooze instead of waking up to exercise?
Yep. A Course in Miracles will help you.
It does this in two ways. First, every experience that we have reflects an internal choice we have made: we have chosen the ego or the Holy Spirit.
Another way to think of it – a deeper way, perhaps – is that in all the circumstances that compose our lives we are witnessing the results of choosing either fear or Love.
And – deeper yet – we are always choosing between God and not-God and experiencing the effects of that choice.
At the deepest levels, those choices are illusory because there is only God. But in the world, we are all well aware of choice – it is the salient characteristic of separation. There’s this and there’s that and we judge both and make our decision for one or the other accordingly.
Thus, one way that we can practically apply the course is to see in each situation before us the inherent learning opportunity.
These are the lessons God would have you learn . . . Each lesson has a central thought, the same in all of them. The form is changed, with different circumstances and events; with different characters and themes, apparent but not real. They are the same in fundamental content. It is this: Forgive, and you will see this differently (W-pI.193.3:1, 3-7).
We are not facing an irritable student, a difficult spouse, an ungrateful child, the death of a beloved pet, war, poverty or delicious ice cream sundaes: we are seeing the projected results of choosing a particular teacher. And in all things we can simply opt for a better teacher.
That is the second way A Course in Miracles is deeply practical: it doesn’t just render our lives in the world a veritable classroom, it also gives us the perfect teacher for that classroom.
The Holy Spirit is the perfect teacher. He uses only what your mind already understands to teach you that you do not understand it (T-5.III.10:1-2).
The metaphor of classroom and teacher is a good one because it provides some guidance on how to actually apply these course-related ideas. I have spent most of my life in classrooms – learning and teaching, both. Most of us remember how they work: imagine that you really want to learn, and you really like and trust the teacher. What do you do?
You listen carefully.
You study what you are asked to study.
You do the homework that is assigned.
When you are unsure, you ask questions.
When you are scared you’re losing it, you say so.
And you don’t quit. Even if there are days when you walk out in anger, you come back.
That is the most important thing, really: you never quit. I say that as an ACIM student who has more than once – literally – pounded the floor in tears saying, I don’t get it. I hate it. I’m not going to do it anymore. It shouldn’t be this hard.
That doesn’t freak Jesus out. The Holy Spirit doesn’t leave and look for someone more willing or less inclined to drama.
They just wait. They are there when we’re ready to return, ready to try again.
And you know what? They totally get off on honesty. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say – in a very heartfelt way – f*ck A Course in Miracles.
That is what is going on! At some point in your life (or another life maybe) you said, yes. God called and you said, okay – I’m listening. And now you are here. Now you are a student of A Course in Miracles. Now your whole confusing miserable chaotic death-ridden life is being used to restore you to the Grace you never really left.
Why not flow with it?
The ego made the world as it perceives it, but the Holy Spirit, the reinterpreter of what the ego made, sees the world as a teaching device for bringing you home . . . be open to learning . . . Look as the Holy Spirit looks, and understand as He understands (T-5.III.11:1, 4, 6).
It doesn’t matter what happens so long as we are open to learning with the Holy Spirit. You could make a million dollars today and lose it tomorrow and your inner peace wouldn’t change a bit. Death can’t touch you. Sacrifice and guilt can’t touch you.
And remember, too: unlike the world’s classrooms, where the teachers are out there somewhere, the Holy Spirit is intimately part of you.
He is in communion with God always, and He is part of you. He is your Guide to salvation, because He holds the remembrance of things past and to come, and brings them to the present. He holds this gladness gently in your mind, asking only that you increase it in His Name by sharing it to increase his joy in you (T-5.III.11:8-10).
Everything we need to end our separation from God is right here: all the evidence is before you: and the teacher who will show you how to use it is within you. Ask and be answered. Knock and watch the door swing wide.
You will not fail in your mission because I did not fail in mine. Give me but a little trust in the name of the complete trust I have in you, and we will easily accomplish the goal of perfection together (T-12.II.8:4-5).
Jesus waits: are we ready at last to go to Him?