Magic Beans

It’s interesting to read A Course in Miracles¬†and come to lines like this one: “You have no problems.”

I resist that so much! And yet, if it is true – and if I accept it as true – then it is path to complete and total peace. In fact, it isn’t even a path per se. It is peace itself, whole, complete and utterly manifest right here and now.

And yet I can’t take it. I parse it up. Yes, it applies to some problems – like overeating, say, or having a bad attitude towards certain politicians. But it doesn’t apply to all of them – money maybe, and certain personal relationships. The course assures me that by keeping some problems outside the ambit of the Holy Spirit’s help, I am effectively keeping all of them outside. And by holding on to these illusory problems, I essentially make them real.

Maybe one way to think of it is that I have no problems except the fact that I think I have problems.

But what the ACIM text does in this instance is lay the essence bare. I see it. If I don’t have any problems, then my life is perfect. I’m in the Kingdom exactly as the course teaches. But if not . . .

Well, I can choose not to accept help. That is always my right. But what is interesting about that is the degree to which I am always after what I think of as magic beans. You know, the ones that Jack procured on his way to market. Or, in a different way, the magic bugs (were they bugs?) that James gets in the early chapters of James and the Giant Peach.

I want a perfect solution that will address everything and fix it. I want that. I spend a lot of time fantasizing about it. Sometimes it’s the perfect house or the perfect job. Sometimes – oftentimes for me – it’s loads of money. I imagine there is some switch somewhere and when it’s thrown, bam! I’m all good forever. And since I spend so much time dreaming about it, doesn’t it make sense that somewhere on some level I believe it – at least as a possibility?

And then A Course in Miracles comes along and says okay, here it is. Here’ s the magic bean you’ve been asking for. All those problems you think you have? They’re illusions. They never happened. Give them to God and they’re gone with nary a sigh as they pass. Easy as eating ice cream in the middle of summer.

And I say, no. I say it’s impossible. I won’t take it. I put the book down and get crabby. What a crock, right? Everyone knows that we have problems – lots of problems! I don’t even have enough time to list them all.

And yet.

These days I find myself less cranky. Last winter I had a couple of moments where I felt transported to utter joy. I can’t write about it without sounding like an idiot and I’m sorry about that. But for a few seconds I was free of judgment, one with everything I saw and it was so peaceful and it was so beautiful that I don’t think an hour has passed since that I don’t remember it. I’ve been dreaming about it and craving it and trying to recreate it ever since.

And last weekend I had that same feeling for like four or five hours. And when it was gone it wasn’t like God snapped her fingers. It was slow, like the tide ebbing. And I knew in those hours that it was possibly to be joyful – naturally and seriously joyful – and loving forever.

But it’s hard. It’s hard because it seeps away and then the nasty voices come back. The fears, the insecurities, the hatreds, the angers. They rise up. Such a clamoring!

But I am not losing faith, not the way I once did. I read the text – I read that I have no problems, just the one that I believe I am separated from God and that while it takes many forms it is really just one problem, solved the same way by Jesus or the Holy Spirit. If I can’t accept that and find myself carried all the way to the gates of Heaven, I can still accept it as a possibility. That little willingness the course speaks of can carry us a long way.

Anyway, I wanted to write that. I’ve been up and down but holding steady, working on willingness, working on faith. I think that the peace the Course speaks of us is possible and real. It seems to be rooted in gratitude, and it seems somehow to be connected to readiness. I can’t say a lot more than that. If you are in the process of practicing the course, keep at it. If you aren’t but you’re curious, give it a shot. And as always, let me know how it goes.

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