At the ontological level we believe we are victims. We are wracked by guilt and driven by hate. I know how unpleasant that sounds, but A Course in Miracles will not make any sense – and cannot really be helpful – until we accept this.
Even when we are happy – because it is sweet to listen to leaves falling in Autumn, or because we just baked a lovely pie, or because our grandkids are over and the sound of their laughter is right out of Heaven – we are truly miserable.
Our unhappiness is the profound fact of our lives and is second only to our desire – our insistence, really – that we remain unhappy. Whosoever heeds the ego hears only the promise of death. Dress it up however you like – we are talking about a rotting corpse.
No one but must regard the body as himself, without which he would die, and yet within which is his death equally inevitable. It is not given to the ego’s disciples to realize that they have dedicated themselves to death (T-19.IV.B.i.16:5, 17:1).
This ideas was very stressful to me for a long time, because I believed in an ideal of spiritual wellness, and spiritually healthy people did not walk around confessing to hatred and anguish. They did not believe in death. You know the drill. I could talk the walk but I was not really walking it yet.
However, we reach a point in our practice where we see that it is not really working – we’re a bit more balanced, we’re a bit more patient and all that but we are not really experiencing the unalterable joy of knowing God as unchangeable fact of our lives. And that is what we want – not a better life on the world’s terms but the Peace of God.
This is an ACIM crossroads of sorts. A lot of students remain here. They are moderately happy. Life is better than it was before the course. It’s understandable. When you scrape yourself off the floor, life on your knees looks pretty good.
But we are called to something brighter. And sooner or later we are going to get around to trying to find it. First we blame the course. Then we blame the teachers teaching us the course.
And then we get around to looking at ourselves.
In the text, Jesus gently observes that when we pronounce ACIM confusing and impossible to apply, we would do well to consider the possibility that we have not yet done all that it asks (T-11.VIII.5:2). The Holy Spirit can only take us so far as we are willing to go.
The Holy Spirit offers you release from every problem that you think you have . . . You who believe it is safe to give but some mistakes to be corrected while you keep the others to yourself, remember this: Justice is total (T-26.II.2:1, 5:1).
Our unwillingness to be broken – to cherish some aspects of brokenness – precludes healing. Thus, what we keep to ourselves remains unhealed.
It is when we accept this, that healing begins in earnest. We begin to see down into the depths – we reach those places where language will not go, the material that does not yield to form but is instead the seething mass from which forms of hate and lovelessness arise. This is truly horrifying! And yet only by looking at it, can we be liberated from it. And indeed, it is when we are willing to look at it that we learn at last that A) we are not alone and B) what we are looking at is not such a big deal.
We begin to learn that we are no separated from God, and that the only problem we have is our willingness to believe in problems.
You made the problem God has answered. Ask yourself, therefore, but one simple question:
Do I want the problem or do I want the answer?
Decide for the answer and you will have it, for you will see it as it is, and it is yours already (T-11.VIII.4:4-7).
Dwelling in the ego’s gruesome bedrock is not necessary. We aren’t asked to wallow in guilt or to set up camp in the ontological horrow show. We are simply asked to give some attention to our feelings as they arise, to do with the Holy Spirit, and to plunge their depths as much as we can.
So long as you are confident that Holy Spirit is looking with you, keep looking. Go deeper. When you start to feel shaky, stop. It’s okay.
That is the work: the refusal to be a victim of what is external but as importantly, to refuse to be a victim to what is internal. We are going to look at every last corner in which the ego hides and works its dark magic. The Holy Spirit is our lantern. No shadow can stand against it.