Another Way – an ACIM Way – to Look at Reality

Dear L___________,

Another way to think about reality is that it’s this – this this. You can be confused about it, sure. You can deny it. You can even be cognitively or otherwise incapable of recognizing it.

But you can’t not be in it. You can’t not be included.

So a good question to ask is: since right now I am in reality – since right now I myself am real – what is happening that makes me believe otherwise?

Generally, you will find that it has to with your thinking – your interpretation.

Understand you do not respond to anything directly, but your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response (T-12.I.1:4-5).

Eugene Gendlin was very good on this point. In his book Focusing, he wrote:

What is true is already so. Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse. Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away. And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with. Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived. People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it (162).

So in this sense, A Course in Miracles might be understood as a somewhat idiosyncratic means of understanding – of bringing into application – Gendlin’s point.

Right now you are interacting with reality, with the truth, because there is nothing else to interact with. Only truth is true (T-14.II.2:1). “. . . Truth is real in its own right, and to believe in truth you do not have to do anything” (T-12.I.1:3).

Yet you are dissatisfied. Why?

The invitation here is to be specific. If you already have and are all of what is real and true, then what about that doesn’t work? Are you upset about world hunger? Would you rather not be an addict? Have cancer?

Most of the time, our answer eventually grounds out in, I want to feel more special. That’s what all our projection of different circumstances is – wanting to be special. And awakening – the end of the sleep of forgetfulness – is more like losing any sense of specialness.

It’s hard to stop projecting a different future – an improved future, a healthier future, a richer future, whatever.

And yet that is the path to the peace that surpasses understanding.

The death of specialness is not your death, but your awakening into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you (T-24.II.14:4-5).

We have to give attention in a sincere and devoted way to our “specialness,” to what makes us feel unique, better, different, other. It means being focused and open-minded. I’m not just noticing what I like, but also what I don’t like. I’m not flinching away from what scares or upsets me. I’m not denying the gaps in my knowledge.

A Course in Miracles wants us to become responsible for our guilt and fear, which are the words it uses to denote the underlying condition that obstructs our awareness of reality, which is given, totally present, and all there is.

This is work, like when you enter therapy determined to actually change this time. It’s like bottoming out in the twelve steps. Ramana Maharshi said of giving up the self in order to know truth that “[e]agerness to do it must be equal to that of a man kept under water trying to rise up to the surface for his life.”

It is not a crime against God or nature to not have this eagerness, but it’s also helpful to ask, why you don’t. Are you happy enough? Do you not need to awaken? What do you want? Why are you doing this?

If the answer is no, I don’t need to awaken, everything’s fine, I’m just going to chin up or whatever, then okay. Truly!

But if the answer is, I want to know truth and reality, I want to see the Face of God and live, then let’s do that. Now. With all our heart and mind.

Since reality is all there is, and since you cannot be other than in reality all the way, it does not need to you to believe in it or know it at all in order for it to be what it is and to do its thing.

Reality is. You, too.

Love,
Sean

P.S. Whenever somebody says they want to see the Face of God and live, the answer is always: you already have seen it and you didn’t know it.

Which is another way of saying – gently, patiently – *look.

6 Comments

  1. I think the central point in your essay has been rolling around the periphery of my mind for quite some time. Thank you for bringing this up. For me, it’s like a seed that needs to be nurtured.

    1. You’re welcome, Bill. Thanks for being here. The seed analogy is a good one – I often think of miracles as seeds of Love. The work is to just create a nurturing space for them – seeds don’t grow because I hover or make demands of them. Just be a witness, just let it evolve.

      Easy to say and hard to do but that’s the practice.

      Talk to you soon,

      Sean

  2. When my journey began with ACIM, it was October 2013. When I began reading the book, in retrospect I believe the Holy Spirit guided me to NOT read it as I would have left to my own divices–as I would read a novel. I had a textbook approach but even more complicated. I was instructed to read it pretty much where the BREAKS are. It turns out that this is roughly three pages and it is pretty rare that more than four or five pages exist without a break. When I have a busy schedule I check to see if I will have time to complete the task the following day. Miraculously, it usually always works out and in ten years, through all the trauma/drama of a normal life, it has honestly been rare to miss a day and if I estimated I doubt if it amounted to a month of acumulated total time. It takes me nine months to do a reading with this system, which means I have probably read it (in October) thirteen times. I discipline myself to slowly read each paragraph until my mind understands what it is saying and I take as long as necessary but a half hour would probably allow me complete the task most days. Of course, having done this so many times, I am aware now where I continue to need focus. I take occasional notes but mostly just write at the top
    of each page, the paragraph and sentence number with a date. Only in a handful of spots have I revisited and found myself going to note a new “find” and realized by a previous notation that I already found that “truth.”
    I had an amazing breakthrough today and realized that even after all this time I didn’t really “get” forgiveness the way it attaches to a particular person, place or thing, and cripples me to make my final journey. This morning that revalation came and filled me with a sense of joy so profound I have cried tears of joy-but only as part of an understanding and happiness I have never known before nor am I able to walk you through it to your own understanding. But what it seems to tell me, is when you personally experience it, and realize you heard the power of forgiveness probably from the first time you ever opened the book, you might be tempted to think you are a slow learner. You’re not. In reading the book–by checking my previous “breakthroughs”–I realize it is laid out like a treasure map. You reach moments where you KNOW. But sometime you reach a moment where you know–but you KNOW THAT YOU KNOW.
    I have been with different groups over the years that study ACIM and I never questioned their choices but in talking to others, most study groups seem to focus on the lessons and so many people have only read the text once and use the groups to discuss lessons or some related book that references the text but is NOT the text. I guess that’s OK but I am grateful that I was guided to make it a part of my life, to read and learn how to get to truth eventually, and to understand much of the deeper messages involving how the Holy Spirit is so adept at using the Time/Space connections to do healing we don’t even understand.

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing, Luke. I appreciate this very much, this witnessing to your experience of study and practice. I think it’s helpful for us to share in this way, and to recognize in one another the ways in which the ACIM curriculum reaches us, roots in us and is realized in us. It is a shared path; I could not do it without so many friends and helpers.

      Thank you for being one of them πŸ™πŸ™

      Love,
      Sean

      1. Sean:
        Thank you as well. If I sounded like I was promoting a particular “method” of doing the course–I am not. I think each one should ask for guidance and simply do it the way that seems to feel right for you.
        In my first several months, I found myself very interested but I wasn’t sure about the message. Someone told me about Gary Renaud’s book Disappearance of the Universe and that was a game changer. I originally read both books simultaneously as part of my daily spiritual work–but suddenly the whole process was easier and a lot more fun.
        Yeah, I get all the controversies about Gary, and like you mentioned to someone, it doesn’t matter. Long before it became my mantra I was following one of two emotions. Love this way, fear that way. Now I live in Love and when fear touches me, I know the ego is seducing again and I am vulnerable.
        Luke

        1. Hi Luke,

          I did not get a promoting vibe πŸ™‚ I got a “this is how it works for me” vibe and I think it’s important to be faithful witnesses to our study and practice. Doing so helps others find their own way into a relationship with the Holy Spirit through the Course. It’s all I’m doing here because it’s all any of us can do.

          My sense is that any student who cares to, will find what they need – be it Gary Renard or Tara Singh or whomever – and that in the most helpful and personal way possible will be led to the undoing of fear, and the undoing of the ego. For me, just knowing that this or that disturbance is coming from ego (and that there is another way) can be curative.

          Love,
          Sean

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