My practice of A Course in Miracles is grounded in the ordinary. It finds itself in what arises day-to-day – baking bread, mowing the lawn, writing poetry, drinking tea with Chrisoula, and walking and talking with my children.
The course is efficient and practical. The attention I give to it on its terms is returned to me with a surfeit of graceful interest. The gift that we were given in creation is revealed; the truth of “I need do nothing” becomes a fact, a sure foundation upon which inner peace both rests and extends.
Lesson 194 of A Course in Miracles neatly captures this emphasis on what is ordinary, this benevolent practicality, and the luminosity that naturally attends when we are no longer looking for drama or magic or any other kind of special personal experience. The lesson urges us to place the future – and be extension, the past and present – in God’s hands. When we do, we rest in peace ourselves.
Then is each instant which was slave to time transformed into a holy instant, when the light that was kept hidden in God’s Son is freed to bless the world. Now is he free, and all his glory shines upon a world made free with him, to share his holiness (W-pI.194.5:3-4).
But the poetry and eloquence of the course belies the grounded nature of this transformation. When we resolve to place our lives in the hands of God, and bring our attention to this placement throughout our day, then the effects are felt here. The effects are felt now.
What worry can beset the one who gives his future to the loving Hands of God? What can he suffer? What can cause him pain, or bring experience of loss to him? What can he fear? And what can he regard except with love? (W-pI.194.7:1-5)
The line at the supermarket is too long – we place our future in the hands of God. Our child is struggling at school – we place our future in the hands of God. We do not have enough money to pay the mortgage – we place our future in the hands of God. We are teacherless, partnerless, lost, confused, scared . . .
We place our future in the hands of God. No more and no less. It is enough.
There is nothing that we encounter in our day that is not shadowed by our fear of the future. Everything that we do as bodies in the throes of the egoic belief system is shaped by the past in anticipation of an improved future. And what has this mode of thought brought us but pain? Pain with intermittent relief from pain, sure, but still pain.
And A Course in Miracles comes along and offers us a way out of this cycle. It offers us a new thought system, and a method by which we might surely attain it. It dissolves our ruinous engagement with time not through personal understanding but through our willingness to “let the future go, and place it in God’s Hands” (W-pI.194.4:5).
This is literally a practice! It is an action that we take when faced with fear, guilt, anger, lust, greed, grief and so forth. The circumstances of our pain don’t matter. The apparent cause or causes don’t matter. Nothing matters but that we place the outcome – and the attendant feelings – in God’s hands. And when this placement becomes “a habit in [our] problem-solving repertoire,” then we will know at last salvation and peace (W-pI.194.6:2).
It is important to see that we are not made perfect by this practice. We don’t become Buddhas or ascended masters. Our bodies continue to be bodies – hungry, lustful, capable of fatigue, subject to emotion. Biology and neurochemistry proceed apace. But we are no longer ruled by those material externals. We do not fight them; we merely look beyond them.
[H]e who has escaped all fear of future pain . . . is sure that his perception may be faulty, but will never lack correction. He is free to choose again when he has been deceived; to change his mind when he has made mistakes (W-pI.194.7:6-8).
That is a description of you and I today – right now – if we choose to accept it.
Do you see the loveliness in it? The absence of consequences? The gentle practice by which we are led away from the world of guilt and fear and into love and forgiveness? It is so simple. I am not saying it is easy – I would be a liar if I did – but I am saying that it is simple. And I am saying that it is a transformation bequeathed to us over and over. And all we are asked to do is try to remember – moment by moment, day by day – to surrender our personal ideals and expectations and ideas of improvement. All they have ever done is bring us to grief.
In the end, Lesson 194 is the manifestation of the new way promised us by A Course in Miracles. We place our future in the hands of God and together learn that “only good can come to us” (W-pI.194.9:6).