Don’t start with “everything is an illusion.” That’s just going to mess you up. At the deepest levels – and the not-so-deep levels, too – you believe you are real and that the world is real and that every other body in it is real. So start with that. What does it mean to be a student of A Course in Miracles in such a world?
Decide that God is right and you are wrong about yourself . . . He knows what you are . . . Fail not in your function of loving in a loveless place made out of darkness and deceit, for thus are darkness and deceit undone (T-14.IV.4:5,7.10).
Can we see the call in that? That we are being called to loving action? We are not denying the world, we are embracing it. We are comforters in the broadest, most inclusive sense of the term. Things have not changed much in two thousand years. Probably not in five thousand. Love is the answer and we are its means.
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
The atonement – the love that ends the separation – is not real until we make it real. It is an action. Listen carefully to the voice inside you and follow its directives. When people are sad, hug them. If they don’t want hugs, then listen to them. If they need space, create that space. If you children love blueberrry muffins, bake blueberry muffins. Visit an elderly neighbor. Walk the dog. Write a letter or email to someone.
Keep it simple and keep it kind. Don’t worry that it’s not real, or that it’s all an illusion. It’s not your job to end the illusion. It’s just not. You worry about being as loving and as gentle and as kind as you can be and the rest will be handled for you.
Don’t dismiss this aspect of the course. Don’t make it trite. Ask yourself if you have ever been truly consistently loving. If you are honest, you will see that you have not been. You have been selfish and greedy. You only give because of what you hope or plan to get – even if it’s just a feeling of righteousness. Don’t fall for that anymore. Go deeper. Find the radical love of which you are capable and practice it with all your heart and soul. Bring everything you have to this one call. There is nothing else to do.
Don’t say, well, I have this job. Or my kids are demanding. Of course! We all have that. It is the nature of the world to be in our face, to obstruct spiritual growth. It is a loveless place. Big deal. Love anyway.
It is so tempting to make the course esoteric and difficult. But it’s really not. It’s simple. Practice the atonement and the atonement will become real. The separation ends when you end it. Don’t worry what that means. Words are not the thing! Study love. Practice love. Offer love. It is the work of a lifetime – maybe a thousand lifetimes. Get good at it.