(Note: I goofed when I published Lesson 40 – that’s why it’s out of order with 41. My apologies!)
God goes with me wherever I go.
The second paragraph of the explanatory notes to this lesson is quite powerful, providing a neat summation of what A Course in Miracles is all about.
The Separated ones have invented many “cures” for what they believe to be “the ills of the world.” But the one thing they do not do is to question the reality of the problem. Yet its effects cannot be cured because the problem is not real (W-pI.41.2:1-3).
This is what all the lessons call us to do: question the reality of the problem. That is very different from trying to find cures or analyze symptoms. If I walk into a classroom and I feel fear, what can I do? Some healers might say take this chemical to relieve anxiety. Others would offer plant remedies like Saint John’s Wort. A talk therapist might want to discuss what it is about teen-agers that is intimidating and explore my own experience of those years. Fellow teachers say the solution is to be firm up front – let the kids know who’s boss. Other say integrate your fear into the curriculum.
Not bad ideas, I guess. But they are cures – or they are attempts to study or manipulate the symptoms. A Course in Miracles urges me to simply look at the fear and question whether it is real or illusory. If it’s illusory – which the Course assures me it is – then I don’t have any problems with fear. I don’t have to do anything about the situation because there is no situation.
This lesson refers to remedies and cures and symptom analysis as “foolishness” (W-pI.41.2:4). And it states unequivocally that we can end it. How? By remembering – in a real tangible way – that our Source, God, goes with us everywhere. This is another way of saying that the separation never happened, right? All we can do is deny and ignore and obfuscate our connection to God – we cannot destroy it. We have built a ferocious cloud cover over our Oneness with God – a dense tangle of false ideas and dissonant voices and haunting and haunted images – but it is within our power to slip through it.
That, really, is where this lesson hits its stride, in terms of application. That cloudy web through which we must pass is scary. It’s terrifying. We believe it’s real and so, in a sense, it is real – at least to us. Yet this lesson – mostly in its calm certainty that a) we can do this, b) even if it seems like we didn’t accomplish anything we always do when we try and c) this lesson has the power of transform us utterly – offers us the gentle encouragement that we need. First, it makes clear that this is our first effort at reaching all the way to God – there will be others. Second – and to my mind, deeply important – it makes clear that reaching God is not such a big deal.
It is quite possible to reach God. In fact it is very easy, because it is the most natural thing in the world. You might even say it is the only natural thing in the world. The way will open, if you believe that it is possible (W-pI.41.8:1-4).
I love that! We can do this – we can go all the way from our fractured and painful and fearful state right to God. It doesn’t take years of arduous meditation. We don’t have to suffer. We don’t have to crawl on our knees through cut glass. We simply have to believe that reaching God is possible. That’s it. If we believe it – if we truly, for one split second, believe this – then the way is open and we will be restored to that precious condition of Oneness.
God is natural, effortless. We don’t have to try to do anything. That’s the hardest part, really. Letting go of our incessant need to accomplish unity on our own. But this lesson is clear: we aren’t fighting our way through the fog, battling it with super-powered flashlights. All we have to do is “sink down and inward (W-pI.41.7:2).” How do you sink? You let go. You give up. You trust the hands will be there to catch you.