I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation.
A nontrivial aspect of awakening as A Course in Miracles anticipates it is realizing that our true Self is free of error, including the error of believing that sin is possible. Accepting this becomes a gateway to realizing that we are not bodies but “thoughts in the mind of God,” for whom only joy and peace are possible.
The guiltless have no fear, for they are safe and recognize their safety. They do not appeal to magic, nor invent escapes from fancied threats without reality. They rest in quiet certainty that they will do what it is given them to do (W-pI.98.3:1-3).
Our function is to accept atonement for ourselves, which naturally aligns us with our healed mind, which naturally extends a quiet joy and peace unto the world. As the course makes clear, in choosing salvation and bringing forth its effects, we are not alone (e.g., W-pI.98.4:4).
Our acceptance of atonement will assume a worldly form. We might find ourselves taking a new approach to our marriage or to parenting. Perhaps we will find a new job or move to a new city. Go to therapy, do yoga, hike the Appalachian Trail.
The form our function takes is not what matters. What matters is what we extend through that form. And the critical element of this is getting out of our own way. We don’t demand that life do this and that. We don’t become addicted to perfect outcomes as ego would have them. We become passive without quitting. We’re watching, we’re here but we aren’t addicted. We aren’t invested.
This means that we have to be willing to let ego go. Ego is simply the voice that constantly narrates our living, constantly judging and assessing it, forever reinforcing the fundamental separation of a self split from both Creator and Creation.
The Holy Spirit is our alternative to ego. When ego is let go, the Holy Instant reappears. We remember it and in it the Holy Spirit speaks.
He will enable you to understand your special function. He will open up the way to happiness, and peace and trust will be His gifts . . . And you will have conviction then of Him Who knows the function that you have on earth as well as Heaven (W-pI.98.9:2-3, 5).
In this way, the Holy Spirit becomes our Teacher, gently teaching us how to notice ego and let go of ego, and thus to prefer the creativity and grace of liberation. We meet our own Self, and that Self is not apart from God. When we know this as our reality, it becomes all that we teach in turn.
Seems like you are taking a dreamy approach to this lesson.
It is feeling in me like a call to arms. I’m going to spend my 5 sacred minutes with God every hour.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks for reading & sharing some thoughts. I never thought of it as a dreamy approach but what do I know! I’m glad you hear the lesson as a call to arms. I think that sense of urgency can be very important in breaking through the casualness that often infects our study and practice. Please don’t feel that I think my approach or opinion is better or more helpful than any other – in general, the Course seems to meet serious students where they are and to offer them as much insight as they manage at that point in their process. I’m learning, too. And of course, I’d be delighted if you want to report back on your sacred time with God. Please do!
Thanks again for being here.
Your blog is one of the blogs which I enjoy reading every day. I like to read the different insights to the Course lessons! Blessings to you, Jamie
Thank you, Jamie – I appreciate those kind words very much, and I am glad you are here with me.
I’m drawn to the fact there are no less than 8 references to the “special function” in this lesson! “He will enable you to understand your special function” (…) “of Him Who knows the function that you have on earth as well as Heaven” (…) “We have a mighty purpose to fulfill”…”they will do what it is given them to do” (…) “they know their function will be filled completely in the perfect time and place” (…) “certainty of purpose, with the promise of complete success” (…) “He will enable you to understand your special function” (…) “the part that He would have you take and help you fill”.
This cannot be random.
For once the course talks about something palpable in the “illusory physical world”, and it feels quite refreshing I must say! There seems indeed to be an earthly “special function” for us to fulfill; on top of our function of forgiveness. I know I am not going to receive an assignment letter with glitters on it and a paycheck upgrade (or maybe I will!!), but still; it’s as close to it as it gets 😉 It’s a nice feeling to know that as part of the course, we might be able to use “our special abilities” for great purposes in this (physical) world. After all despite its illusory nature, we are still lingering in this world of form for a while, so why not do something meaningful about it? Or maybe it’s just the ego in me delighting at the sight of the word “special” in “special function” 🙂
How was it for you Sean? Did you feel a special calling after studying that part of the workbook, the first time? Would love to hear about your experience. Thank you as always.
Thank you for asking this question. It actually sent me back to a long piece of writing from 2018, in which I was actively trying to publicly work out this question, part of which I will just paste here, because it feels on point.
The short answer is yes, these lessons – and this sense of the Course – did speak to me and invite me to respond in personal ways. Forgiveness has a form in the world, one that allows us to become happy and helpful, and to know that we are healing as we are healed. In general, our function is to love in a loveless place (T-14.IV.4:10) but the specific form that loving takes must vary. It is unique according to our personal abilities and the contexts in which those abilities play out in relationship with others. The world cries out for love, and we hear it how we hear it, and answer as we are called in context to answer.
Here is what I was thinking in 2018, which I still more or less think is consistent with my experience and practice.
We are called to live out our ACIM practice in terms of those forms that make God’s Love most clear and real and viable to us. For me, that involves writing and teaching, being as self-reliant as possible in the New England landscape and culture on which and in which I dwell, serving those who who temporarily have less than me and, in serious and thoughtful – and hopefully creative – ways, devoting myself to the end of conflict at all levels.
I have no argument with those who see their practice differently. I can’t say that enough. Indeed, it is clear to me that I cannot reach Heaven until both you and I are fully devoted – without artifice or compromise – to reflecting the love of Jesus and God right here in this world. You will do that your way and I will do it mine and if we are both aiming for the love and peace that surpasses understanding then we’re going to be fine. Sooner or later we’ll figure out that the only thing that is actually different is the form of our experience. The content is the same, forever and always: an all-inclusive love in which nobody loses and everybody gains. Some of our brothers and sisters have forgotten that love and have – with our assistance – made a world in which remembering that Love is all but impossible. You and I are called to change that. There is no other, no better job for us to do.
For me, this special form of forgiveness, reflects a blend of the Catholic Worker’s activist sympathies and the mystical nondual intensity of A Course in Miracles. We all find our way, though.
Thank you again, Audrey. I appreciate very much your careful and passionate study of the Course, and am grateful that you share the way with me.
Thank you for sharing your experience Sean. I cannot say my “special” function became apparent to me yet, but if and when it will, I will gladly share my experience with you. Interestingly enough, the course “found me” during a transition period in my work life, after I gave up a long career path of 17 years. So I’m hoping something will take form…in the world of forms. At times I am reminding myself things don’t have to be as literal, and perhaps the “special function” can simply be radiating that love and light at home, or at work, in a low-profile way. I’m secretly hoping the special function and the professional activity aren’t mutually exclusive; and that it’s possible to use one’s special abilities” in a job occupation, and still use this environment for miracles & forgiveness. Part of me is afraid that the “special function” would require giving up all job occupations at all, and go from door to door begging for the daily bowl of rice, like a monk. Silly and extreme, I know. I try to soothe this fear by remembering fervent students of the course, like Marianne Williamson, who are also passionately involved in their career path, and simply use it as a playground for practicing the course.
Something inevitably takes form in the world of form – we can’t escape it! All we can do is consent to have the form translated by a Teacher of love and peace rather than a teacher of fear and guilt. The form of our work is always about relationship, and my experience of “work” as I have studied and integrated the Course, is that it is always about placing me in relationships that teach me exactly what I am ready to learn about the fear and guilt that obstruct a sustainable remembrance of my identity in and as love itself.
Somewhat paradoxically, I think that can mean that the “form” can sometimes appear quite unstable or even dysfunctional. The Course refers to periods of adjustment in our learning and practice, and while these are not always easy, if I remain open and willing, then blessing is always the sure result. Not always on terms I thought I needed and not always in time frames I wanted but still . . .
In a lot of ways, our projection of the form – for me, say, being a Catholic Worker, or for you being a monk begging for rice – is a defense. It’s an image that allows us to avoid looking at the ACTUAL fear which – for me – is usually some form of abandonment and physical suffering. So the work in part is to be gentle with myself and to not become overly attached or resistant to the projections, but to try and just accept responsibility for looking at the fear.
Fear is always a result of accepting certain conditions – I am a body, bodies suffer and die, I am too broken and dysfunctional to love, why would anybody bother, et cetera. And actually, that’s a nice place to be – to go past the fear to the conditions that bring fear about. Because then I can investigate them! Am I, in fact, a body? If not, how can I understand this fact in a way that cashes out in peace and happiness? If I am not a body, what am I? Et cetera.
That work is actually fun and helpful – we are doing it in these exchanges – and always involves relationship. And eventually the pressure lifts and doing it ceases to be scary or a burden and just becomes as pleasant as going for a walk by the river or star-gazing or whatever.
And yes – that happiness DOES cash out in form as well, but always as a form of relationship in which we can learn over and over that we are not guilty, there is nothing to fear, and we are Love Itself.
Thanks, Audrey, for letting me think this through 🙂
Me again 🙂 I forgot to mention that the quote you shared had a profound impact on me:
Your special function is the special form in which the fact that God is not insane appears most sensible and meaningful to you. The content is the same. The form is suited to your special needs, and to the special time and place in which you think you find yourself, and where you can be free of place and time, and all that you believe must limit you (T-25.VII.7:1-3).
I’m not there yet in the text. But these words are truly powerful to me “Your special function is the special form in which the fact that God is not insane appears most sensible and meaningful to you”.
Thank you for sharing it, because I realize it’s answering my question above. The way I understand it is that things don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Any place and time, any environment can be used as the special function, as long as there is the profound, honest acknowledgment that “god is not insane” (another way to affirm that all the bad in the world “is not his will”, and that He wishes only love, peace and wholeness for us). Therefore the special function is more about an internal switch (a form of deep realization) rather than an external change. Once this switch happened, any physical occupation can be used as support or vehicle…is that too far-fetched?! thank you for sharing with us, Sean!
Yes to all of this 🙏🙏 That phrase from the text saved my ACIM practice and study more than once. Very powerful stuff indeed.