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.
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.