The Last Step

In early versions of A Course in Miracles, chapter seven was called “the Consistency of the Kingdom” as opposed to “The Gifts of the Kingdom.” This chapter really is going to wrap up a cycle of theology – it’s like the first full movement of the symphony (with the first fifty miracle principles being the overture) – I may be straining my metaphors here. I think “gifts” is more appealing – especially in the early stages of studying A Course in Miracles – but “consistency” is more – no pun intended – consistent with the theme of this chapter, which aims at answering the question: what is the last step?

It is an important idea in A Course in Miracles that God “takes the last step.” We do not take it. We merely prepare ourselves by choosing the Holy Spirit as our teacher and undoing the madness and chaos of the ego. We approach the gates of Heaven this way. But the final step – through the gates, so to speak – is not taken by us in any measureable or even recognizable way. God does it.

This is a confusing idea! And it’s not one that readily devolves to understanding through language because “nothing that is true needs to be explained (T-7.I.6:4).” Yet I think the answer is suggested – or allusion is made to it – in this idea of equality that permeates this section.

What you believe you are determines your gifts, and if God created you by extending Himself as you, you can only extend yourself as He did. Only joy increases forever, since joy and eternity are inseparable (T-7.I.5:2-3).

And we are reminded why the ego can only bargain – not give unconditionally: “it cannot understand that to be like another means that no bargains are possible (T-7.I.4:2).”

This is what it means to be consistent. To see our equality – not in form, which varies, but in content, which never does. Right now – before that final step is taken by God – we can only perceive this. We can only intuit it. But that intuition is important. We begin to realize that Oneness means there can be no differences. And no differences necessarily means peace. How can there be conflict in Oneness?

Several times in the first year I studied the Course I experienced a profound and life-altering clarity. It was revelation, as the Course understands it: communication from God to me, a moment of such precision and beauty that is beyond words. When I tried to keep it – make it mine – it ended. In that space, there is only joy – a fluid and electric joy that flows through you, expanding you and becoming expansive because of you. Very intense!

We are moving towards a permanent experience of that state: a state of radical equality, radical sameness. A state of radical consistency in which only peace and joy are possible. We get glimpses here and there of the last step but we cannot force it on ourselves. We can’t study for it or train for it or earn in through exceptionally good behavior. It is a direct result of our turning our life and will over to God through the Holy Spirit.

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