We long for fulfillment: a sense of purpose or direction, a community of like-minded believers, familiar rituals, special traditions and stories. But fulfillment is not of the world. It is a gift from God and it has already been given to us. We have it right now. But we don’t recognize it. In a sense, A Course in Miracles is simply a means by which one learns how to see the given.
The Course is very practical and straightforward. It asks us to pay attention to our lives in a new way, a faithful way. It teaches us that we cannot look for fulfillment in our brothers or sisters, but we can look to them to demonstrate our one purpose, which is to remember our own holiness. Our minds are part of God’s mind and we are holy, deeply so. Right seeing is simply the willingness to see no other purpose to the world but to bring this memory to light.
It is difficult for anyone who thinks he is in this world to believe this of himself. Yet the reason he thinks he is in this world is because he does not believe it (W-pI.35.1:3-4).
Our opinions and ideas obscure God. They are always so sure of themselves! This person is very beautiful! That sandwich looks delicious! Petroleum-based economies are bad for Mother Earth! Buddhism is more mature than Catholicism but ACIM is better than both!
We walk around like robots listening to these ideas: letting them direct us. And then at some point we begin to sense that their clamoring isn’t helpful and so we try to turn it off! But that doesn’t work either. Years pass. Maybe lifetimes.
A Course in Miracles calls on us to make a space in which contact with what lies beyond the world is possible.
“[m]ost of all, try to sink down and inward, away from the world and all the foolish thoughts of the world. You are trying to reach past all these things. You are trying to leave appearances and approach reality (W-pI.41.7:1-3).
It does not urge us to use our brains differently or adopt some new posture with respect to the world: become celibate or poor, write more poetry, become activists of this stripe or another, stop eating meat, or smile more at strangers.
It asks us to gently and patiently practice looking beyond those things. Do them or don’t do them. All the Course asks is our attention to the given that lies past them.
It is quite possible to reach God. In fact, it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. The way will open, if you believe that it is possible (W-pI.41.8:1-4).
Test this! Do not take my word for it. Don’t take the word of Jesus. But stop fighting the world – let it do its thing without you – and simply turn inward, in the manner of one awaiting a light. Throughout the day, give a minute or two to this – nothing more is asked of us.
For most of us, the given is revealed slowly. It dawns on us. Each quiet moment given to God restores a bit more sanity to our unhealed minds. Momentum builds. We find that we take more interest in our brothers and sisters. It can happen so slowly, you don’t know it. But one day you stop and look around: and the light has come.
We are made whole only by remembering that we are already are whole. Nothing in the world can do this for us. Our attitude is the same one Jesus expressed in the John’s Gospel:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Be happy today. Make space for what God gave you and be patient in how it emerges. If you can be helpful, be helpful. But don’t make a big deal about it. Our part is small: it is simple: and the whole of salvation flows gently through it.