A Course in Miracles works so long as one thinks there is something to do and someone to do it. When truth is at last allowed to be true – which is to see illusion as illusion – then the course is no longer necessary. If you take a bus to Boston, you don’t stay on board after it pulls into South Station.
The suggestion is that we give attention in a gentle and sustained way to the sense of a discrete empirical self to whom things happen and who makes choices and takes actions which cause other things to happen. That “self” is comprised of memory, desire, concept and sensation. We simply give attention to this welter as it rises and falls. No more and no less.
To be aware of all this as it arises in sensation and thought is sufficient – there is nothing else to do or see. Indeed, there is nothing else that could be done or seen. To clearly see “all this as it arises in sensation and thought” is to see through it. It is undone of its own accord.
“Undone” doesn’t mean that self and external world disappear (though their more pernicious effects may be alleviated); rather, self and world are simply seen for what they really are – appearances coming and going. There is no longer resistance to them; there is no longer any desire to modify them, avoid them or cling to them. Illusion is seen as illusion; truth is seen as true.
Consider, for example, a person being sawed in half by a magician. If you don’t know that it is an illusion, you might feel apprehension as the “trick” unfolds. You might want to rush the stage to save the soon-to-be-dismembered individual. Yet when it is seen that what is happening is an illusion, the need to do anything about it ends. There is nobody to be saved. There is no cause for worry or alarm. You sit back and enjoy the apparent show, or leave and go to another show.
There is no suggestion here that A Course in Miracles – or any other apparent spiritual path or practice, broadly defined – is bad or evil or unhelpful. On the contrary. Just as one can be grateful for aspirin when they have a headache, one can be grateful for a spiritual path when “seeking for inner peace” arises. And, just as when we reach for aspirin and not a hammer when our head hurts, so we reach for resonant spiritual paths or practices when we are “seeking” God, Heaven, Nirvana, enlightenment, inner peace and so forth.
A Course in Miracles is a means in a context where means and ends appear to be real. In that context, the course cannot be an end. It is important to be clear about this. Often, we objectify a spiritual path or practice, which is to make an idol of it, and therefore become distracted from the here-and-nowness to which the spiritual path or practice actually points. Use the course so long as it is helpful. And when you are done with it, set it aside.
Give attention to what appears to be happening: the whole of it. Attention is the new teacher – it is the Holy Spirit, to borrow the language of A Course in Miracles. In attention’s uncompromising and altogether neutral luminosity the nothing-that-is-everything is surely and naturally beheld. This is the end of seeking; this is what it means to be at peace.