The premise of A Course in Miracles is that we are confused about what we are in truth. We identify with ego, rather than spirit. This mis-idenfication has allowed a world of illusions to replace reality. This is painful!
Fortunately, as Bill Thetford and Helen Schucman learned together, there is another way: we can be taught how to remember what we are in truth.
The review periods are opportunities to reinforce key ideas in the workbook, and thus extend our understanding and practice beyond the familiar, beyond our comfort zone.
The early lessons ask us to give attention to how the world appears. Our physical senses gather data – light, sound, shape, color, smells. We organize this material, give the organization a name (“tree,” “apple pie,” “friend”) judge it all according to what it does for the body (the ego’s chosen home) and then . . .
. . . suffer.
We don’t suffer because we made the world wrong, or because the world is real and capable of causing hurt. We suffer because it isn’t real and thus has no meaning. Faced with meaninglessness, we rush to fill the apparent blanks. But since we’re confused to begin with, our efforts only increase our guilt and fear and anger.
Thus the importance of accepting that “my judgments have hurt me, and I do not want to see accordingly to them” (W-pI.51.2:6).
The work we do is the work of “letting go.” We are not trying to make a better world, or replace one defective judgment with another. We are simply seeing the false as false and opening to the possibility of another way.
I do not understand what I see because it is not understandable. There is no sense in trying to understand it. But there is every reason to let it go, and make room for what can be seen and understood and loved (W-pI.51.3:4-6).
Only willingness to be healed is required in order that we be healed. As we let go of egoic thoughts, our real thoughts begin to reveal themselves, and we remember that “all creation lies in the thoughts” that we think “with God” (W-pI.51.4:8).
Are we willing to end our suffering? And, in ending it, to end the suffering of the world and all those who mistakenly believe they live there?
A Course in Miracles is “the other way” that Bill Thetford longed for all those many years ago. In time, its lessons remind us that we are not bodies and the world is not real. The question is: are we ready to be as happy as our Creator would have us be?
Sean I live in quite a noisy ,some would say rough? neighbour hood and sometimes struggle with seeing it all differently -I am full of good intentions and then all of a sudden my peace is taking away and I feel I the ego has made me take ten steps backwards when I think ime really making progress-and thanks so much for these great insights to the course.
I hear you with respect to external circumstances presenting us with challenges, Paul. This happens with me sometimes at work, when things get unusually busy or people are suddenly aggressive or whatever. Sometimes family gatherings can do it as well. It happens to all of us from time to time.
On the one hand I think those moments are an opportunity to remember that we are still learners – so we are humbled and in our humility are returned to our shared need to surrender everything to God. Including perhaps most especially HOW we are looking at things.
I think your comment says it perfectly: you are working with the Holy Spirit to see it all differently and its working and then out of the blue (apparently) ego swoops in and life becomes stressful again, painful again, dispiriting again. Over and over and over.
For me, when this happens, I just try to remember that it’s ego. It’s just ego tripping me, ego mistranslating the world, ego distracting me from the work of remembering peace. I want to be responsible for my choice, my decision to look with ego rather than the Holy Spirit, remember there is another way and – even if it takes a few minutes or a few days – choose again to accept the Holy Spirit’s vision, which is Christ’s Vision, which are the eyes of Love, which are all of us.
For me – it sounds like for you, too – this “other way” has to do with A Course in Miracles. So I pray a little, or lean back into a familiar lesson. I try to open my heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, I ask Jesus to lend me a hand, maybe model a way of being that I’ve forgotten. I just do the simple things that I know work, that shift my attention away from what is fearful towards what is loving.
I am not saying this is easy; a lot of the time it’s the opposite of easy. It’s hard work! But I think it is good work, because it heals us, and we cannot be healed alone. So we are healing for and with our brothers and sisters – the ones we know, the ones we don’t know and even the ones we don’t like.
Wherever we are, we can practice love. I can practice love at work and with my extended family, you can practice love in your neighborhood. When things are going great, we love. And when things are going bad, we love. Always love. Always love.
And also – as a form of love – always we lean on our brothers and sisters who with us are learning how to do this incredibly simple but also profoundly challenging thing: loving in a loveless place.
So thank you for helping me remember what matters, Paul. I am grateful to you for being here for me.