Reading A Course in Miracles: The Origins of Separation

In Chapter One of A Course in Miracles, glancing reference is made to the idea that we did not create ourselves (T-1.V.1:8). This idea – which is essential to understanding and applying this belief system – is developed in this section. Appreciating the separation is in significant part about appreciating both the power and limitation of our capacity to create.

One way to think about the perceived separation from God is that it is simply the idea that we can create ourselves and that the direction and mode of that creation is our decision (T-2.I.1:12). Indeed, this entire section is clear that all of our fear (effectively another word for separation) stems from this crazy idea, this false belief. Believing that we’ve usurped responsibility for our own creation from God leaves us terrified. And no good can come of that particular fear.

Christian imagery or mythology is helpful here. The Garden of Eden is not a literal place – rather, it is a frame of mind, a condition of existence in which we do not know lack of any kind. It is not in the past but remains an entirely present possibility. We can wholly in the present moment, as fully integrated creations of God, celebrating his glorious abundance. Yet when we accept the possibility that we can be other than God – when we give the serpent (with apologies to my herpetologist friends) a hearing – then we compromise this potentiality. We fragment. Lack enters. Then needs. Then we rush to meet to those needs on our own because, having denied the power that meets all need without question or request, we believe we’re on our own.

Thus our whole existence and identity – our natural inclination to peace and joy – spirals and crumbles in exponential fashion. Guilt at having listened to the serpent (at having forgotten to laugh at him or admire the sunlight on his scales or look him up in a good field guide) and fear of wrathful consequences abound.

This is hell. And it’s a real and painful mess.

You and I live for the most part in the dream that we created after falling (pun intended) for the lie that we could be separate from God. Notwithstanding the occasional shred of happiness, all our experience testifies to our loneliness, our fear, our guilt and our self-hatred. That none of the horror actually happened – and that all the effects of our so-called sin of separation have less solidity than a wisp of smoke in a strong North wind – is kept entirely out of mind and, if allowed in, rendered barely comprehensible. Those who believe in suffering have indeed condemned their tiny selves to suffer.

Yet there is hope. The salient quality of miracles – the very first principle that Jesus gave us – is that any illness can be healed, any error rectified and any illusion brought instantly to truth. Health, we are reminded, is inner peace (T-2.I.5:13). And peace is an internal condition, a fundamental aspect of our reality as children – as perfect extensions – of God.

Thus, our goal is simply to bring the miracle – this shift in perception, this idea of wellness, this habit of lovingkindness brought always to bear – into our lives. We don’t have to do it perfectly, only willingly. Relinquish control – surrender authority. Real peace – our real creativity – is unlocked accordingly.

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