The other afternoon – somewhat out of the blue – I realized that I’d been wrong in a significant way with respect to my study of David Bohm. Bohm often uses the term “ground” to refer to that from which experience (life) rises but – at least in Wholeness and the Implicate Order – he is not referring to a metaphysical ground but rather a quantum ground. That is, he means a ground that can be measured and quantified. It is truly enormous in both scope and potential but it is also ultimately limited. As such, it is not eternity. It is not God.
At times on this site, I have written as if it – or flirted as if – were otherwise. I have certainly done that in conversations and in my thinking. Why? Well, ostensibly I liked the feeling of having a world-reknowned physicist in my camp. But in truth, I think focusing on Bohm was a way of not focusing on my spiritual practice. Bohm is not wrong. I simply misappropriated some of his ideas because they helped me sustain – with apparently good intentions – my separation from God. Spirit, being outside of time and space, is not measurable. Insisting otherwise was simply a way of ignoring Spirit.
A Course in Miracles is deeply abstract and this presents some real challenges for both its serious and its casual students. Because we all believe we are bodies living in a world of form, we effectively are bodies living in a world of form, and we want help with that, at that level. I don’t want this head cold I’ve got, I need more money, I’m tired of this relationship and want another one, and so on and so forth.
A Course in Miracles does not deny our belief in these problems but it does not make them real by pretending that if we solve them at the level of form, then we’re going to know God. Our problems – so-called – stem from the belief that we are separate from God and they are solved by our remembrance that that separation never occurred and so all its effects (poverty, hunger, loneliness etc.) never occurred either.
There is no other problem and there is no other solution, but we have to be willing to see this. It is tempting – and easy – to see it otherwise.
It is critical to understand that our seeming problems in the world do not reflect a clash of material things – people who are not behaving the way we want, events that are not unfolding the way we want, things that we are not receiving in the amount that we want and so forth – but rather reflect a decision to think apart from God which is to say, to want something other than Truth.
For example, I often complain in my life about a lack of money. Sometimes this lack appears to be quite severe and sometimes merely inconvenient. But in either case, I tend to feel insecure or disempowered, the opposite of peace and joy.
It is tempting to say the “solution” to this particular problem is more money. Indeed, at the level of bodies and form what else could the solution be?
But Jesus suggests that the problem is that I have listened to “the endless insane calls” I believe are made upon me (as a body in the world) when I could – as easily – accept the truth that “the Voice for God is in you” (T-5.VII.3:1) and give my attention to that.
[T]he first step in the undoing is to recognize that you actively decided wrongly, but can as actively decide otherwise. Be very firm with yourself in this, and keep yourself fully aware that the undoing process, which does not come from you, is nevertheless within you because God placed it there. Your part is merely to return your thinking to the point at which the error was made, and give it over to the Atonement in peace (T-5.VII.6:3-5).
There is no point in the Text, Workbook, Manual for Teachers or related materials comprising A Course in Miracles where Jesus compromises this essential point. Thus, the sooner we give our attention to it – and truly make it the integral core of our practice of A Course in Miracles – the sooner we will know the peace that surpasses understanding.
I am not in any way denying the appearance of problems in the world, nor suggesting we should blithely ignore them. Eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired, and take an aspirin when your head hurts. But do not confuse the temporary alleviation of symptoms for the undoing of the underlying problem.
The problem of separation, which is really the only problem, has already been solved. Yet the solution is not recognized because the problem is not recognized (W-pI.79.1:4-5).
We do not recognize the problem of separation because we are so focused on its myriad symptoms and trying frantically and obsessively to solve them all. But there are no solutions at the level of symptom, only moments of respite. Sooner or later, we have to accept this, and begin to look beyond the world for the solution God gave to us because we are his beloved children.
Is it possible to look at our seeming problems in the world and see them not as real issues demanding solutions now but rather reflections of a wrong-minded choice? A decision, however subtle or apparently hidden, to accept separation rather than Atonement?
What happens to the problems we think we have when we accept them as finished? When we see them only as reflections of the perceived separation from God which never happened?
These are important questions and it behooves us to find – to experience – the answers.