Christ is given as the light in which Love is remembered, and therefore there is nothing to seek. There is something to accept – to remember – but nothing to seek.
It is like Christmas morning. Upon seeing gifts beneath the tree, what do we do? We open them gratefully in the presence of those who have gifted us and who we have gifted in turn. We don’t put on our coats and boots and embark on a lifelong search for gifts which are right there.
Christ is given.
Yet for many of us, “Christ is given” exists as an ideal rather than a felt or lived fact. It could be our reality, but it’s actually not. For it to be our reality, we believe we have to do something – meditate more, go to church, study A Course in Miracles, work at a soup kitchen, eat fewer potato chips.
When we believe that – and act according to that belief – we are unaware that Christ is given. This unawareness is a function of our unwillingness to accept that Christ is given (rather than earned or bargained for or distributed only to the worthy).
Unwillingness is a form of fear. The way it plays out in our living might look different (i.e., the reasons we give for our unwillingness – lack of meditation, anger at the church one grew up in, et cetera) but fear itself is not different. Fear is fear, in the same way that joy is joy. But at the level of relative being, fear and joy wear masks that reflect our belief in differences. And we have to meet the problem where it is, which is to say, how it appears.
A problem cannot be solved if you do not know what it is. Even if it is really solved already you will still have the problem, because you will not recognize that it has been solved (W-pI.79.1:1-2).
The apparent specificity of our problems is the means by which we go beyond specificity to the generalized guilt and fear which arise from a decision to be separate from God.
So what do I see when I give attention to my unwillingness to accept that Christ is given as the light in which Love is remembered, and so there is nothing to seek?
For me, I see a long line of books, a deep course of study that includes Emily Dickinson, Thoreau, Husserl, Tara Singh, Sylvia Plath, Krishnamurti, Humberto Maturana, Ernst von Glasersfeld, Gertrude Stein, Francisco Varela, Donald Hoffman, Louis Kauffman, Chris Fields, Diana Gasparyan . . .
I see the hundreds of thousands of words I have written, some public and some not, as I have sought in my half-assed and stumbling way to be in dialogue with these women and men . . .
I see a fluid and beautiful web of insight comprised of vigilance and discipline and intellectual tenacity, my own and that of others.
And yet this web floats untethered. It is ungrounded. Because it is untethered and ungrounded it is unstable and thus incapable of meaningful and sustained function.
When I look at my unwillingness, I see that I have neglected something. I see that all my study has somehow missed a most basic fact, some critical underlying fundament that would ground it, allow it to be helpfully functional.
So, for me, unwillingness takes the form of study – an investment in and attachment to an intellectual pursuit of knowledge, insight, truth. I’d rather study Christ, than know Christ. In fact, in a way, I study Christ to avoid knowing Christ.
Seeing it this way allows me to realize that whatever I do going forward, it cannot take the form of more study.
In this way, I realize that “unwillingness in the form of aggressive intellectual study” is actually fear. Plain old fear. And to be fearful is to choose to be separate, and to believe that separation is a meaningful choice.
. . . dissociation is nothing more than a decision to forget. What has been forgotten then appears to be fearful, but only because the dissociation is an attack on truth. You are fearful because you have forgotten. And you have replaced your knowledge by an awareness of dreams because you are afraid of your dissociation, not what you have dissociated (T-10.II.1:2-5).
That last line is very important. Our decision to be separate is what frightens us, not what we have chosen to be separate from. We tend to look at our fear and think it is fear of God or love or divine retribution or punishment or some other kind of horrible loss or sacrifice.
But really, we are just scared of a decision that we made. This is important! It shifts the “problem” from outside of us to inside; it shifts responsibility for fear from “out there” to our own self.
Our decision to separate ourselves from Love begets a world that is vast and complex and serves entirely to justify our fear. Nuclear war, unexpected meteors, plagues and viruses, incurable cancer, fatal car crashes . . . Of course we are scared. Of course we are fearful.
A Course in Miracles – like many spiritual curricula – gently suggests that there is another way, and that this other way is to simply look at our fear where it is (the interior) and notice it is not nearly so catastrophic or overwhelming as it initially appears. We give attention to our fear, which is to become responsible for it, and over time, this gift of attention, this gentle nondramatic responsibility, undoes fear, until at last we see clearly the simplicity of choosing to remember love, which is to say, choosing to remember that Christ is given as the light in which Love is remembered, and so there is nothing to seek.
Our problem isn’t the absence of Christ, or our distance from Christ, or confusion about Christ. It is our belief that Christ – that Love – is absent or distant.
If you could recognize that your only problem is separation, no matter form it takes, you could accept the answer because you would see its relevance. Perceiving the underlying constancy in all the problems that seem to confront you, you would understand you have the means to solve them all. And you would use the means, because you recognize the problem (W-pI.79.6:204).
What form does our unwillingness take? Seeing it, can we let it go? Can we perceive the fear beyond it and then can we let the fear be? Can we simply look at the fear in order to learn what it is, what it wants, how it functions, where it comes from and so forth? Doing so is what undoes it. Doing nothing in particular is healing because it brings us into contact with something deeper than fear, which is Love.
No more than this attentiveness is required; no more could be required. In the gentle and sustained application of attention, the answer to all our so-called problems will appear because it is already given.