One thing A Course of Miracles teaches us is to avoid judgment – not because it’s evil or sinful, or a skill available only to master students, but because we are simply incapable of it (W-pI.151.4:3). Lacking knowledge, all we really do is fall for the ego’s judgment which is partial, vindictive and altogether untrue. But what is the alternative to judgment?
Well, one alternative is to practice seeing with the eyes of peace.
Jesus makes an important point early in the text. Healing from fear, he says, is not his job but ours (T-2.VI.4:1-2). He urges us not to ask him for help with the form that fear takes in the world – fear of financial ruin, say, or physical injury – but with the conflicted mind that gave rise to that fear.
You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about (T-2.VI.4:3).
This is a simple idea that can prove quite gnarly in practice. Essentially, we are disentangling cause from the world of form. The problem is never “out there” – rather, it is always “in here.” The problem is that we are unfailingly deferential to the ego, to our unhealed mind which projects everything outward. It teaches that world is cruel and mercurial and merciless. We believe those lessons and act accordingly. It judges and we heed its judgments. And thus we collectively reap its whirlwind – grief and agony, sorrow and death.
Jesus suggests that the alternative is to ask him for guidance viz. the unhealed mind itself. You can’t fix a broken film projector by putting a new movie in. You have to go the source. Everything else is just delay. Seeing with the eyes of peace is a way of seeing that the projector is the problem. It is a way of saying to Jesus, I am ready to heal the problem, not the symptom. It is engaging at the level of content and not form.
It’s confusing and difficult and unorthodox and there is no other way to get well.
I’ll give a personal example. I teach part-time at a community college in a nearby city. Students often come to see me. On one level, they are struggling to write a paper on, say, a W.H. Auden poem. On another level, they are trying to balance work and family. They are often stressed and scared, even when they can’t – or won’t – articulate it as such.
Seeing that, I want to fix it. Who wouldn’t?
So for a long time, when I met with these students, I would ask Jesus to help me help them. What can I say or do that will make the Auden paper manageable and their lives feel less overwhelming? How can I be professorial and nurturing all at once? My intentions were good but all I was really doing was listening to the ego’s judgment. I was seeing the problem externally and also trying to fix it externally.
The better approach – we might call it the ACIM approach – is to ask Jesus to help me see the student through eyes of peace, through the lens of the healed mind. It bears repeating. The problem is never “out there.” It is always “in here.” Jesus can help us with the “in here” – indeed, that’s the whole objective of the Course. The “out there,” not so much. Not at all really.
When I am looking through the eyes of peace, there is less uncertainty about what to say or do. I’m not using the situation to project my internal baggage. I’m not angling to come off as a superteacher or superhealer. So the dialogue tends to flow easier. It’s no longer my job to heal anybody or decide what’s right in a given situation. It is a much more relaxed state and naturally leads to a sort of shared lightness and happiness. It is like we get out of the way and discover that what is needed is already there. And it never fails.
Please understand that I am in no way suggesting I get this right all the time. I don’t. But more and more, I remember the importance of asking for help in this way. I remember that there is another teacher, another way of seeing, and that when I avail myself of it, I experience a deeper and more lasting inner peace. There is a wisdom in it for which I can take no credit, but only gratefully accept its radiant blessing.