A Course in Miracles Lesson 97

I am spirit.

This is a positive declaration of our reality; it is an assertion of truth, according to A Course in Miracles. Do you believe it? Is it your reality?

It is also a negative assertion. That is, by declaring that we are spirit, it simultaneously declares that we are not bodies.

It accepts no split identity, nor tries to weave opposing factors into unity. It simply states the truth (W-pI.97.1:2-3).

When we say that we are spirit – implicitly accepting that we are not bodies – we also leave behind the many conflicts and problems that bodies have in the world. Starving kids, cancer, long day at work – these are not problems. They aren’t even experiences. They are illusions masking the simple truth that we are spirit “in whose mind abides the miracle in which all time stands still” (W-pI.97.4:1).

Is this your truth? If not, why not? Do you want it to be? Where is the resistance? Where is the glad acceptance?

This current sequence of lessons shifts our focus from larger blocks of time at the beginning and end of the day to hourly five-minute intervals given to the Holy Spirit, whose strength and integrity carry us past resistance and into glad acceptance.

Give Him the minutes which He needs today, to help you understand with Him you are the spirit that abides in Him, and calls through His Voice to every living thing; offers His sight to everyone who asks; replaces error with the simple truth (W-pI.97.4:4).

This is kin to giving permission to our right mind – that part of us that knows it remains united with its Creator in Creation – to effectively run the show for a bit. The effects of that release are significant and they are not for us alone.

The Holy Spirit will be glad to take five minutes of each hour from your hands, and carry them around this aching world where pain and misery appear to rule. He will not overlook one open mind that will accept the healing gifts they bring, and he will lay them everywhere He knows they will be welcome (W-pI.97.5:1-2).

Salvation is not singular but relational. When we give attention to the healing of our brothers and sisters, it returns to us as a brilliant and steady light that both leads out of the darkness and forever undoes our habit of getting lost or distracted (W-pI.97.6:2-3).

We are spirit. What does this mean for you? How will you know? Each small step we take today – regardless of how timidly or uncertainly or reluctantly we take it – teaches us what it means. And the effect of that teaching is a certainty about self-identity that yields only peace and quiet joy.

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  1. I just want to take a moment to thank you for your postings. I look to them daily in my study of the course, finding clarity on some days and broadening my limited understanding on others. At this point in my journey I’m feeling frustrated, discouraged and disinterested- I don’t know what it is. I have read the Course text and am halfway through Disappearance of the Universe. I’m beginning to find it all a little unbelievable – and even if it is true, a little sad. Some of my greatest spiritual moments have been looking at the sky, or nature, or my daughters – and the thought of believing those are all illusions is a bit disheartening. I’m finding my dedication and commitment waning as the days go on. I just received your email about commitment and it couldn’t be more appropriate for where I’m at. That coupled with this reminder that this isn’t an overnight thing really helps – at least it allows me to forgive myself.

    1. Hi Laurie,

      Thank you for the kind words – I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you. I am juggling too many things in the world of form!

      I hope you will forgive a long reply to your comment. On many levels, what you are sharing resonates for me and feels important.

      I was a very enthusiastic student early on in my study. I’ve written about this – I wanted to be the smartest, savviest, most spiritual, poetic (and humble) student on the planet. I used to say things like, “oh, don’t worry that we’re going to miss a mortgage payment – the world isn’t real.” Or, “I know you say you have a cold but the body isn’t real – this is just your way of refusing love.”

      One day I realized that I was saying all that – and throwing it in people’s faces – because I didn’t believe it. I was faking it. And even after that, it took a long time for me to get comfortable saying “this doesn’t make sense to me. It’s too much like a new age fantasy.”

      What I am trying to say is, I admire your honesty: because that’s where we get the clarity and the ground from which to start learning for real.

      It may be that the course isn’t your path – if that’s the case, then good to learn it now and move on to what works. But it may also be that you are finally ready to open up to the Holy Spirit in a deep way. I truly believe that the faint shred of insight that I have into the course came when I finally admitted how broken I was, how confused I was, how greedy for praise and attention I was.

      I’m not saying you are having those exact issues – and I apologize if it sounds like I’m being critical. I’m actually telling you that I think you are in an incredible spiritual place – it feels like a crisis but it’s really an opportunity.

      I also want to validate your experience of seeing God or Love or Light in nature, your kids and so forth. Laurie – that is exactly my experience. I walk hours in the forest each morning (well, most mornings) and I do so because I see Christ in falling birch leaves and tracks of deer, hear Christ in the little brook and the chickadees and I absolutely – absolutely – experience the Love of Christ in the presence of my children and my wife.

      That is not a flaw! In fact, it is a gift. We all “see” and “hear” and “feel” Christ in special ways – that is what it means to be a body, that is how God reaches us here in the dream. Rather than run from those things because they aren’t real we embrace them because they contain the tiny light that will lead us all the way to Love Itself if we let it.

      I can see God in a flower because right now it is the safest way to perceive love. And it is enough – the Holy Spirit can work with that – and will work with that! And part of the way that work happens is that we embrace and accept love where we find it – playing music, walking int he forest, parenting, baking, meditating, fishing, whatever.

      Does that make sense? The Course always meets us where we are and that meeting is most fruitful when we are fully who and where we are. Don’t sweat that it’s all an illusion. Trust that you’ll be given clarity about that metaphysical truth when you need it. Focus on being the kindest and most loving person you can – give as much love as you can – and forgive yourself for not being perfect.

      Sometimes I step back from ACIM. Take a day off from the lessons, read another teacher who isn’t all ACIM-focused, or just put it all aside and do something else: go apple-picking, watch movies that make me laugh, bake bread for my family, visit a friend, whatever. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are infinitely patient.

      Anyway, thank you so much for reading & sharing. Again, I’m sorry for the long-windedness. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get back to me.

      Be well, Laurie!


  2. I too am a struggling student and use your postings as another way of making sense of what I read. I think it is just fine to do so since I assume the Holy Spirit brought me here. Your response to Laurie’s concern about the confusion with ‘it is all an illusion’ was just what I needed to hear. Yesterday was a beautiful fall day here in Oregon. I was stunned by it…and then thought ‘it is just an illusion’ and then I was sad. Now I can look at all the wonderful parts of life…and say to the Holy Spirit ‘Thank you’.

    1. Hi Robin,

      Thank you for sharing. I’m glad the post and comments were helpful. I do think that the way out of the illusion is to give close attention to it, which will often take the form of loving it. It is like ACIM says: “You will first dream of peace, and then awaken to it” (T-13.VII.9:1). We are not in error when we are gently giving loving attention to our lives: children, dogs, sunsets, cheesecakes, mountain ranges, good books, back rubs, whatever. These are glimpses of Heaven in a form we can manage as we allow – slowly but surely – the blocks of love to be undone.

      Thank you again for writing – I appreciate your kindness very much.


  3. Thank you all for these posts. It’s interesting to me that the Course became a centerpiece for a lot of commuity/connection for me/us. It’s even almost like science fiction, how “out there” it is in the “common world (lol)”, and was for me in many ways but now mostly in an enjoyed way. Sean, I’m glad that “greed” found its calling, just “trapped in a body” and wanting to find its way “out”, and now as appears and is appreciated “here” (all us posters!) you are quite greedy at giving it all through your offerings. Tbank you friend.

    1. You’re welcome, Mike. Thanks for reading and sharing; you always help me rethink and refocus and feel a little more joy in the loopiness-endlessly-looping 🙂


  4. Well, my biggest spiritual fear has come true. The Course here (paragraph 3, verse 2) mentions reincarnation: “… sometimes a thousand years or more are saved.” This ‘horrendous’ idea/doctrine/dogma, associated most closely with Hinduism, has been a bugaboo of mine since I was a teen. To think I will come back again and again ’till I ‘get it right’ is the definition of Hell for me. And then, once we get it right, who’s to say I won’t go to Hell again? (if it happened once, it can happen again, no?) I find it ironic that in the exhaust of this most ‘filthy’ idea/doctrine/dogma there ‘appears’ the most pure one:
    Paragraph 5 mentions that our meditation here is carried around this aching, painful and miserable world to heal those who accept it.

    1. I have a couple of thoughts on this Lenny.

      First, the issue around reincarnation is mostly problematic if we are holding onto some self that is yoked to a body unto infinity. But we are not bodies! On that view, reincarnation is more of a symbol of how LONG the Atonement will take, than a statement about an experience you are going to have.

      So much comes down to what we think we are 🙂

      Second, if you have not already done so, you might want to take a look at Section 24 of the Manual for Teachers, in which the course makes clear that “in the ultimate sense, reincarnation is impossible” (M-24.1:1). The only real question is whether the concept of reincarnation is helpful in our healing process (M-24.1:4).

      If it is helpful, great. If it is not, then let it go. Truly, no worries.

      ~ Sean

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