Let me recognize the problem so it can be solved.
Let me recognize my problems have been solved.
We are saved, according to A Course in Miracles, when we realize that suffering is an illusion we force on ourselves, and that we can simply choose to set it aside and remember our origin and being in love.
For most of us this realization and subsequent shift in thinking occurs over time and with practice. Lessons 79 and 80 outline – in tandem and microcosm – the whole function of the course as it gently guides us from fear to love.
Lesson 79 asks us to get clear on what the problem is. This is important. We have to see the problem in order to see the solution. Nothing happens if we can’t muster the willingness to look at what’s going on. We need that clarity and that certainty. We need to be able to say, okay, this is the problem.
Our real problem – our only problem – is our belief that we are separate from God. Every other apparent problem – be it a cash shortage, a fight with a friend, estrangement from siblings, dying parents, migraines and spotty cable signals – is a grievance, a symptom of our belief that we are separate from God. We only have many apparent problems because we’ve given this one problem credence.
The problem is a grievance; the solution is a miracle. And I invite the solution to come to me through my forgiveness of the grievance, and my welcome of the miracle that takes its place (W-pI.90.1:5-6).
In this way, A Course in Miracles comes along and asks us to give attention to our many problems in order that we might finally see – and give attention to – our belief that we are something that can be separated from God. This means doing the work of psychotherapy. It means we don’t hide our problems under a glossy happy dream. We don’t waltz through our lives singing about how beautiful life is and how happy we are.
When we do the real work of looking within – which is to say, when we practice forgiveness – then we are going to be wading through the psychic muck and that muck’s going to stink and there’s no guarantee it’s going to stop at the level of our knees.
Say that I have a problem: I’m confused about political activism and A Course in Miracles. Should I or should I not be politically active?
Can I see the confusion? That’s what I really want to do. I want to see the confusion. I don’t want to rush into choosing this or that response to the problem. I just want to notice how confusion functions.
One thing I notice is that it doesn’t feel good. It feels like failure. And, because it doesn’t feel good, I don’t want to look at it. I want to deny it or minimize it. Or maybe concede that I’m confused but I’m not as confused as this person is. I displace the fear of failure by judging another as being the bigger failure.
But then one day – maybe practicing the daily lesson – I don’t do that. Instead of judging the confusion, I just let it be. I say yes, I am confused about what it means to be separated. I let it be. I don’t fight it. Then it’s just there. I’m not trying to fix it or hide it. I’m owning it by not projecting it.
Doing this is really just seeing the problem where it is: in my mind. It’s not your problem. It’s not the world’s problem. It’s here in my thoughts. It can’t be solved by a choice in the world because that’s not where it is.
Cool fact: when we no longer judge our confusion, then it is no longer confusion. It just is. Does that make sense? It can only be confusion if we compare it to some standard of clarity. It’s only confusion when we bring some other idea in to compare it to. But if we don’t get into judgment and comparison, then there is no problem. The confusion is no longer good or bad. It’s no longer a state we have to fix in order to ensure a safe and happy and prosperous future.
There is real freedom in seeing this because when we let go of judgment-through-comparison, which is separation, we see that we do not have a problem. There is no problem – the problem was we thought we had a problem. And we thought we had a problem because we were behaving as if separation were real. We thought there really were grounds for comparison. When we realize there aren’t, and when we bring our apparent problem into the light of this realization, then we realize – as per lesson 80 – that our many problems are indeed solved. They just aren’t there.
When we have no problems, we become naturally and seriously happy. In a state of happiness, all we can offer our brothers and sisters – and the world itself – is happiness.