One of the personal challenges I face as a student of A Course in Miracles is my tendency to be serious – very very serious. I study the course, practice the lessons, read related material, pray and meditated, write . . . . and it all has this air of “if-I-don’t-do-this-and-do-it-right-the-sky-will-fall. But seriousness is not the same as willingness. And it’s a sure thing that when we forget to laugh – when we aren’t capable of drawing little smiley faces here and there – then we are spending too much time with the ego and its grim glasses.
Our lives here in this world – these bodies, these families, these jobs, these hobbies – are going to be transformed into a happy dream before we return to God and Heaven. The illusion is going to become sweet indeed before the knowledge that ends illusion forever arrives. That’s a promise of the course (T-18.V.1:4).
Sometimes I have to remind myself: it’s okay to be happy. I have to remind myself that happiness is what God wants, too. It’s not a crime to laugh. We aren’t breaking spiritual laws when we feel joyful and free. Suffering is not a necessary key to the gates of Heaven.
Anyway, I’ve been in that serious space lately – reading a lot, studying a lot, writing a lot. That’s natural on one level, but it goes awry sometimes too. There is nothing that we do in this world that cannot be overrun by the ego. The finest prayer can become a means of celebrating the egoic self if we’re not careful. Any act of kindness can be subsumed by self-righteousness. I notice when I fall so deeply into an intellectual experience of the course that I become judgmental easier. I start to perceive awakening as a kind of competition.
And it doesn’t feel good! So I have to make a change. I walk a little further in the woods. I put the books away for a few days. I call a friend for coffee. I do the little things for others that tend to go undone – cleaning the bathroom, picking extra blueberries, baking bread. Yesterday I ate some ice cream – I almost never eat ice cream!
Happy dreams come true, not because they are dreams, but only because they are happy. And so they must be loving. Their message is, ‘Thy Will be done,’ and not, ‘I want it otherwise.’ The alignment of means and purpose is an undertaking impossible for you to understand (T-18.V.4:1-4).
We are averse to passivity but it’s a big part of the program. We think we have to do everything – master the text, do the lessons, teach, publish, network, whatever. But we don’t. We can do those things – if they make us happy, why not – but we don’t have to. We have to live our lives in the spirit of ‘Thy will be done.’ We are letting a power other than ourselves be in charge. We are submitting to it. We are surrendering the impulse to “want it otherwise.”
It is like spending the day with Jesus. Every time the need for a choice or a decision appears to arise we just say, “whatever works for you, Jesus. Your call. I’m cool with whatever you choose.”
Salvation is impossible for us to understand. Atonement – the ending of the separation between the self and God – would not be needed if we had any ability to know the difference between illusions and truth. We really have to settle into the role of student. We have to be teachable, all the time. It makes no sense to the ego – to our habitual way of thinking and living – but real peace and happiness is possible when we are no longer trying to be the boss. We can relax. We can breathe. It’s all going to be okay.