There are two aspects to A Course in Miracles any student can helpfully keep in mind. The first is that there are no mistakes in our practice and thus no consequences. The second is that regression – falling behind, losing ground – is only temporary.
Taken together, these two principles can ground our practice in optimism and hope which are always inspiring.
ACIM Daily Lesson 27 offers some thoughts about what happens when we miss some aspect of the day’s lesson.
You will probably miss several applications, and perhaps quite a number. Do not be disturbed by this, but do try to keep on your schedule from then on (W-pI.27.4:4-5).
In the separation mindset, there are always consequences. If we don’t go to work, we’ll get fired. If we eat too much red meat, we’ll get heart disease. If we don’t save up properly for retirement, we’ll be eating cat food.
The separated, or unhealed, mind sets up these hierarchies, these fear-based patterns of duality. We are always at risk. We are always frantically struggling to stay abreast of some shifting standard of “good” or “better” or “right.”
Thus, we fear that if we skip a lesson – or miss it – or stop studying for a day, a week, a year – then our progress as students of A Course in Miracles is somehow compromised. We can just see Jesus wagging a disapproving finger. Slackers are not welcome. We are not worthy.
But the gentle teaching of Lesson 27 suggests that particular fear is misguided. It is understood that our devotion to the course is not perfect. It is accepted that from time to time we are going to become confused or casual. So what? We take note of our resistance, gently remind ourselves that it need not diminish our inner peace, and start again.
Related to that is a wonderful line in the Psychotherapy pamphlet. Teaching (or therapeutic) relationships change as our levels of readiness to learn change. Whatever tumult or sense of loss attends these changes, there is no reason for alarm.
Be assured of this; each will progress. Retrogression is temporary. The overall direction is one of progress toward the truth (P-2.I.1:7-9).
The point is not limited to shifts in teaching relationships. That last sentence can be applied broadly to the whole of our practice. Regardless of how broken we feel, or how confused our focus, or how deep our resistance, the “overall direction” is assured. We are always moving toward truth: no caveats, no exceptions.
Healing is inherent. It is given.
And it is done.
Taken together, these two teachings point to a vital lesson of A Course in Miracles: we cannot fail. No matter what happens, the end is assured. We live in a deep fear of consequences. We are haunted by the possibility that we are not worthy of awakening, that God will somehow find us wanting.
But it is not so. What God created perfect remains perfect, and what forgets that fact can only – sooner or later – remember it. Our faith in atonement – our hope – is forever justified.