Reading A Course in Miracles: Judgment and the Authority Problem

In the early scribing of A Course in Miracles, Jesus was obviously making use of Helen’s interest in writing. Lessons 12, 13 and 14 utilize the metaphor of writing to describe the way in which we project our self-made thoughts and images onto a wholly neutral world, a process that obscures the deeper – non-symbolic – thoughts that God has already placed there. This section of the text neatly harmonizes with that metaphor by exploring the authority problem, which is a problem of authorship.

Over the past few days, the text has been pointing us in the direction of reconsidering what and who we are. It has introduced the concept of the ego, positing that it – the post-separation aspect of the mind – is not who we are but that we happen to be wholly identified with it and its power of make the world. Our confusion in this regard is not a crime – God is not angry, because God is not capable of anger – but it does block us from making use of our right mind. We cannot perceive truly or lovingly when we are confused about what we are.

Essentially, says Jesus, this issue can be viewed as a sort of “authority problem.” We believe – or deceive ourselves – that we created ourselves and that the direction of our creation is up to us. Where this gets really wonky is our projection of others who share our delusion – that is, the “world” is filled with people who are also under the impression that they created themselves. Thus, we believe we are at war with everyone and everything and the nature of the war is for authorship. I want to be the world’s maker – and I won’t share that responsibility and power with you.

It doesn’t matter if we are at loggerheads over some issue. For example, we might argue over the definition of a miracle. I say this, you believe it’s that. But Jesus is suggesting that even when we agree, the principles of war at play. As soon as I define the miracle, I entertain the possibility that somebody will disagree. If it’s not you, it’s going to be somebody else. This is inherent in judgment. We cannot use it and not simultaneously experience its use against us. It’s a trap and – full credit to the ego – an ingenious one. We go through our lives under the impression that we have to organize everything and put everything in its place. And as we do that, just below the surface, we know that other people are doing the same thing. What use is the world – or a self – if its meaning can be changed so frequently and arbitrarily?

The real question – once we get a fix on this conflict – is asking whether we can even conceive of an alternative. There must be another way – and there is – but can we find it? And if we can find it, can we bring it into application?

I want to suggest that this is not an issue on which we really need to focus. Or rather, the more important challenge is seeing the conflict – seeing the way in which this authority problem is at play in our lives. Yesterday we touched on  as right seeing, a method of healing the separation. Forgiveness in this context is less about sailing straight to Heaven – or attaining enlightenment yesterday – but about patiently looking at our lives and seeing them with spiritual vision. That is a process.

So I come away from this section determined to see my brothers and sisters differently. I want to release you from the attack role I have given you. I want to be softer with you, less inclined to resist and more likely to simply blend, to share. I want to do this with the world as well. I want to see differently. I want to notice the way I see – identify the thought process that underlies it – and gently and patiently open myself to a new way. Each time I can muster a little love, a little flexibility, a little willingness to see you as anything other than my enemy in the struggle for authorship, then the separation is undone a bit for both of us. We are getting better together.

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