Beginnings matter. Beginning again matters. This is the promise of A Course in Miracles: that at any moment we might begin again. It doesn’t matter what kind of student we were yesterday or an hour ago. What matters is our willingness in this moment to accept the Holy Spirit’s judgment of Life.
In a sense, that is all the Course does for us: renders us capable of making better decision within the complete and utter hash we make of our lives. It teaches us that we are not mistaken when we long for a better way, and then it gives us very practical steps by which to experience that better way.
You will undertake a journey because you are not at home in this world. And you will search for your home whether you realize it or not. If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you will be seeking it where it is not. You do not remember how to look within for you do not believe your home is there. Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and He will guide you to your home because that is His mission (T-12.IV.5:1-5).
Is it hard to be a follower? I wonder sometimes. When we insist that we know the way or that Truth is outside of us – in a relationship, in a job, in social status, in a cultural identity – we are not really followers. Or we are the ego’s followers.
Following Jesus or the Holy Spirit (or whatever symbol of unconditional love works for you) is simpler than following the ego. Following the egoic self – no matter how smooth and cool and proficient we are – is always a bit like the proverbial bull in a china shop.
When my kids were little and we went places, they always took my hand. Have you held a child’s hand? It is very natural. They sort of reach for you and your hand opens to meet theirs. Their trust is complete, as if your guidance. They rest safely in the field of your attention. It is a form of Love, of giving and receiving simultaneously, in one fluid motion.
That is what following the Holy Spirit is like. There is nothing intellectual about it. It’s not a negotiation – I’ll go with you this far but then I get to walk in front for a few yards. It is an utter surrender to the safety of Love. We don’t trust that yet or we would have done it lifetimes ago but that’s okay. We are learning.
As [the Holy Spirit] fulfills His mission He will teach you yours, for your mission is the same as His. By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him (T-12.IV.5:6-7).
Again, this is not hard! We make it hard, but it’s not. We are forming a sort of daisy chain, each of us reaching out to the other with one hand as the other is enveloped in the Infinite. And together we step through the illusory world to our true home in Christ, in Heaven.
It is not a hard journey because there is nowhere to go. We are already Home – we already have everything for which we long because we are everything.
Your inheritance can neither be bought nor sold. There can be no disinherited parts of the Sonship, for God is whole and all His extensions are like Him (T-12.IV.6:7-8).
Our awareness of oneness – the journey that goes nowhere because there is no place to go – happens in an instant. It is a moment in which we allow the remembrance of Christ to dawn in our minds.
Your inheritance awaits only the recognition that you have been redeemed (T-12.IV.7:5).
That is what it means to begin again – to be born again: in any moment we might choose to see that we are redeemed, that salvation is already accomplished. And that recognition is facilitated by accepting the sure guidance of the Holy Spirit: not in abject surrender but joyous surrender: we are taking the hand of the one who knows the way Home.
Just what I needed to hear today… always “beginning again.”
The first Course quote and your words remind me of this from Joseph Campbell…
“The heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
Thanks, Michael – I’m glad it was helpful.
Yes – that Campbell quote is great, in particular the phrase “labyrinth is thoroughly known.” We are not reinventing wheels!
Thanks again for reading, Michael –
I love the fact that every day is fresh and we can choose again. And what a good reminder that the kingdom is preinstalled in us – we have everything already. Thanks for sharing this, Sean! 🙂
I love that line Christine – the Kingdom is preinstalled! Yes!
I like the “Kingdom is preinstalled” as well! But I have a question…
If our hardware comes with already-installed software, do we need periodic upgrades like “Kingdom 1.2, Kingdom 2.0, Kingdom 3.1, etc.?” Just wondering.
You know, it’s funny you ask that question – I know in a sense we’re being sort of silly – but yesterday I kept being brought face to face with both the usefulness and futility of metaphors. How do we talk about this stuff? Metaphors simply the spiritual process a great deal – often saving us from cliche. On the other hand, they seem to break down at a point. Anyway . . .
Yeah, we need to figure out that there are two kinds of software and choose the one that’s bug free and run it. And then maybe we do need to upgrade it from time to time as our understanding and awareness deepen and grow more consistent. But of course a moment comes when we see the illusory nature of all hardware and realize that there is no software . . .
Perhaps first we become spiritual Linux users . . . Then spiritual Luddites . . .
Kinda like “taking off the training wheels?” Oops, another metaphor!
How do we talk about this stuff? I wonder that all the time. At best, language is a set of abstractions that point to Reality. Yet words also restrict our thoughts. So we have to go beyond language. Here’s a great quote about this…
“If the abstractions, the words, the phrases, the sentences, the visual clichés, the interpretative stereotypes, that we have inherited from our cultural environment are adequate to their task, no problem is presented. But like other instruments, languages select, and in selecting what they select, they leave our what they do not select.” – S.I. Hayakawa
Yes, Hayakawa’s point – and yours – are well-taken. The word is not the thing and is thus inherently susceptible to confusion & chaos.
What is the writing for? That question matters. If I am trying to write in a clarifying way about an important and potentially complex subject – A Course in Miracles, say – then the writing must aim for some directness and simplicity. In that setting, metaphors are perhaps helpful because they pull a lot of weight – rather than try to explain what the ineffable does, I can just talk about how light shines away darkness.
But that is not the only way. This project of mine has for going on seven years now been trying to use language to get at the experience of awakening in a more intuitive and authentic way. In some ways it has always felt like the deepest and most useful writing that I do!
But that is just my opinion . . .
On this site I write to learn and hopefully teach. There I write to express the visceral experience of the Center that is everywhere. In that context, clarity and simplicity – and even metaphor – are not exactly helpful.
I take a lot of leads from Lyn Hejinian and Ron Silliman – and Language Poetry generally – who take their lead, in part – as I do, too – from Gertrude Stein. I do not think that anybody really view what they do as “spiritual,” yet it seems to me they are invested deeply in a) attention, b) undoing of the self (the narrative I), c) embracing uncertainty without trying to “fix” it and d) using language in ways that facilitate all of the foregoing.
The question I ask – under their influence – is whether language can be used in ways that allow us undo the self and thus open to what is.
I should clarify, too, that I think they would resist a spiritual application of their work & ideas – but I am using “spiritual” here less in the sense of Jesus and ACIM than David Bohm and his ideas on thought and dialogue and creativity.
So, again, what is a given piece of writing for? To clarify an intellectual point? To inspire someone to action? To express a sense of reverence or wonder or joy? To literally become the ineffable? I think as writers we have to ask those questions, read deeply amongst the writers who are answering them (or moving in the direction of answering them), and then bring our own energy & skills to the practice. It is clearly the work of many lifetimes & many writers. The older I get and the closer I get to the heart of what it means to be a writer, the more clearly I recognize the extent of our mutual dependance on one another.