In this section, Jesus is reasserted as the narrative “I.” Having sifted into the background somewhat as the text explored the Holy Spirit, Jesus now comes back as a tangible helpful presence. It is almost as if A Course in Miracles wants to ground us and give us some practical assistance to aid in our journey to salvation.
What are the claims that Jesus makes here? He states that the way to undo the ego and be free of it forever is to join our minds with his (T-8.V.4:2). To do that is to remember God, and to remember that our minds are not separate from the Mind of God, and that this union – this undivided will – is itself God.
For all the abstraction of this section (and that last sentence), it is actually very specific. If we read it carefully – which is to say, if we are careful not to read into it what is not there – then we see that Jesus is inviting us to a union that is not based on bodies but on minds. His body and ours are not part of the equation. We are not talking about linking up with a man who lived and died two thousand years ago. And the “we” that is involved is not the “I” to which we are so attached. It is something very different.
So we have to be willing to go beyond our bodies. We have to be willing to go beyond the laws of the world. We have to be willing to relinquish our ideas of what is real and what is not. We believe that to join requires bodies. But Jesus is quite clearly saying that we can join in an interior way that is profoundly real and profoundly strong and does not require any action as we have traditionally understood action. What will this union look like? What will it feel like?
I once told an ACIM student for whom I have considerable respect and whose guidance I trust that I was unsure of what would happen if I simplified the details and circumstances of my physical existence. His answer was succinct and beautiful: “find out!” I wanted reassurance that simplification of the external in order to focus on the interior was going to work. I wanted to define that success in advance. But that isn’t how the spiritual life works – not at all! We have to take the right step – we have to practice forgiveness and right thinking – in a spirit of trust, of faith. There is no other way.
It is the same way with our relationship to Jesus. What will happen if we unite our mind with his? There can be no answer other than: “find out!” We simply have to do it. We have to join our mind with Jesus’ – a deeply personal process that can hardly be rendered into words, either before, during or after. We want assurances and road maps – but these are the very things we have to surrender in order to experience the joy and the wonder of our real identity.
Jesus has been the critical model in my spiritual life – even before I became a student of A Course in Miracles. Accepting this – and not resisting it or trying to make it palatable for others – was essential in the development of a natural and abiding peace and happiness. It remains the cornerstone of my practice. This section reminds me of the challenges that are inherent in that relationship but also the rewards.
I should add – briefly – that I do not mean to suggest that your path and mine should be the same. I have friends who cannot deal with Jesus and I both respect and understand those feelings. I know Course students for whom Jesus is something of a distraction. I learn from them, too. Please understand that I am bearing witness only to my own experience! If it is helpful to you in some way, that’s wonderful. If not, please know that I have no desire to argue or evangelize. I want you to be happy and free and I trust that you will be guided in that direction. We are all finding our way.