February Update

I sent out a new newsletter, reflecting some thoughts on salvation that arose from rethinking Lesson 76 (which builds to what are, for me, the course’s most helpful pair of lessons, 79 and 80).

The overarching idea is that salvation is not found in the world and doesn’t apply to bodies, but is found rather in the mind which thinks it is not saved but can be. The question is always one of shifting our attention from the body towards the more abstract levels of spirit. This is not easy to do, but it can be done, and we can become better at it in time. Certainly, it is the means by which we remember our true identity and begin to live in actual peace and joy.

You can sign up here if you like.

So far 2021 has been about looking closely at the ACIM Workbook again, which I have not been through in an applied way for many years. In dialogue with others – both in a formal study group, public comments to shared work, and 1:1 emails and conversations – I am consistently helpfully reminded of Tara Singh’s gift for enacting the fundamental insight that “the course is meant to be lived.”

That is, A Course in Miracles appears as a feature of the world which we, in our embodied form, encounter, study and practice, all with an eye towards salvation (broadly defined so as to avoid as much as possible the more litigious tendencies of doctrinal religion). We are here to learn how to be happy, and how to bring forth a world in which our brothers and sisters can be happy too. This is a variation of Peter Maurin’s (co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker) insight that our work was to bring forth a world in which it was easier for all of us to both be and do good.

Thus, our practice of A Course in Miracles does involve coming to a better and more sustainable understanding what we are in truth, but it unconditionally also includes an aspect of subtle activism in the service of radical love. We are called to give attention to the “signs of the times” and respond in ways that are harmonious with unconditional love. The cry for love is always going out; the way that we live reflects our response which is itself a reflection of a healed mind, which knows itself only as one.

I don’t know what this looks like in practice for you. Its formal appearance and presentation are less critical than the spirit which it reflects (or, if you prefer, which animates it). When we create in a spirit of love, we cannot help but make the world a better place, and its “betterness” becomes grounds for deepening yet further into our “upstream” explorations into mind, creation, spirit, Heaven, God . . .

. . . All of which is a long-winded way of saying that I am grateful to those of you who stay close to me in my learning. Together we build a little oasis of sanity and joy, a light which by virtue of being shared naturally brightens the self-imposed collective darkness of suffering. There is another way and we are it πŸ™ ❀️ ✨

~ Sean

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  1. Yes, yes, all good, but I have a more pressing concern distracting me: Could you please get up into your loft and, as quickly as possible, produce a Concordance to the Works of Sean Reagan? The reason is, I was reading some of your posts and came across a paragraph that so startled and delighted me that I sat bolt upright, spilling my computer on the floor and making the screen jump to a cat video. I lost my place and haven’t been able to find my way back to the post.
    I don’t need to tell you what the paragraph was about — what? Alright, I’ll try to recall. Bla bla ..”Of course, God doesn’t have a son!” something something “There isn’t really even God” bla bla “symbolism”… I need to read the whole thing again.
    Furthermore, my Concordance to ACIM does not mention the words Mary, Mother Mary, virgin or virgin birth. If I had a Concordance to SR then I could find out if you have addressed this subject before instead of bothering you about it now.
    If you can’t produce a Concordance right away, perhaps you could tell me where to find the “no son” thing. The virgin thing I believe I figured out.
    Thanks for sharing your trail!

    1. Hi Donna,

      I’m not sure what post that is! It does sound like something I’d write but it doesn’t ring any specific bells and searching my posts doesn’t seem to pull up anything that is relevant. I’m sorry πŸ™‚

      Yeah . . . an uncomfortable truth about A Course in Miracles is that it’s a deeply misogynistic text. And some of its prominent proponents – notably Ken Wapnick – defended it vigorously even so. It’s discouraging. Even reference to Adam and Eve being kicked out of the garden of Eden omits Eve entirely (e.g., T-3.I.3:9)! Women are almost entirely effaced from the ACIM material . . .

      For me, this is one of the hardest aspects of the course to talk intelligently about. I have not really addressed it. I am frustrated by it every time I think of it.

      My friend Jessica with whom I study the course quite closely has done a lot of work in her life with the patriarchal language and imagery in the Christian tradition. This has ranged across walking away from the Catholic church at an early age, being an evangelical missionary, studying the course, developing a deep and meaningful adoration of Mary Magdalene . . . She would probably tell me to get over myself and write a strong critique of sexism in the ACIM material.

      But really, her insights around that aspect of the course (and Christianity) have softened my own criticism of it, or at least allowed me to stay engaged. I think somehow Jessica is able to see beyond it (forgive it) without implicitly condoning it.

      I am always deeply grateful for feminist and woman-centered approaches to this and related material.

      Thanks for reading – good luck finding that post! Spirit will bring it back to your attention if you really need it πŸ™‚


  2. Hi, Donna!

    Sean’s lovely and generous words about some of my struggles around the language propagated in ACIM has afforded us a chance to “meet.” That being said, it’s nice to meet you. πŸ™‚

    I, too, was more than distracted by the misogynistic and patriarchal tone of the Course when I first came to it. As Sean mentioned, my spiritual journey has included everything from atheism to missionary work and a bunch of stuff in between! So when I stumbled onto the Course for the first time, I was no stranger to the lack of feminine language or inclusion in Western spirituality. But how troublesome to find that women were entirely missing in this voluminous self study course!

    And yet, there is something so captivating, intelligent and obscenely simple about what the Course holds at its core. I had walked away from it more than once only to find myself called back for a deeper look.

    One thing I learned from living overseas for a time was the idea of always having a learning posture. Being new in a strange land, not even knowing how to buy food or get to a hospital meant constantly getting out of my own way to see the path forward. Similarly, even though I was put off by the Course language, I kept asking myself, “what am I meant to learn here? What is this for?” When I relented to this small willingness, I was afforded a boundless treasure of light and love.

    Does this mean one should ignore their feelings of injustice or surrender to a voiceless existence on this matter? Of course not! If the Course language is a violence or a pain against your well-being, then perhaps this is not the way.

    One last thing, you have found a gift here in Sean. More than any other Course teacher that I have seen or read, he has done the hard work of facilitating inclusion, equality and compassion. God holds a special place in Her heart for that one. ;).


  3. Hearing from both you, Sean, and Jessica was great. I want to respond to Jessica soon, but meanwhile I wanted to share my success in finding the no-son reference:
    It was in the chain under the post headed ‘is Gary Renard a big fat fraud’ dated 11/13/2014.

    In your response to Heddies you said “With respect to “son”. . . All language is symbolic and as long as we need to use it to communicate, then we’re going to have to indulge symbolism. Of course, God doesn’t have a son! Or a daughter. Or anything. There really isn’t even God. That, too, is just a word vainly aspiring to encompass what we don’t know. So it’s important to be gentle in this regard, both with ourselves and others as we communicate. All nouns are suspect.”

    WELL SAID! Thank you, Sean!

    1. I’m glad you tracked it down, Donna πŸ™‚ I haven’t thought about that post or the comment thread in a long time!

      The role that language plays in shaping our sense of self, other and world is so powerful. I do think maintaining a certain level of awareness around the words we’re using and what they point to and how they’re received is fundamentally healing. Language is a slippery slope indeed.

  4. Hello, Jessica! Thank you so much for weighing in on ACIM and misogyny. So nice to meet you!

    You probably know that even the words ‘she’ and ‘her’ appear only ONCE in ACIM — in the same sentence, in some florid 19th century phrase.

    Perhaps a tiny benefit of the lack of feminine references may indicate to some that Helen was transcribing faithfully; that is, not injecting her personal inclination to provide egalitarian language.

    One of the big drawbacks of the misogyny is the impossibility of having ACIM be an effective audible book. The listener would have to figure out which he, him or his is being referred to: God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, brothers (and sisters) collectively or a brother (and sister) singular. It’s sometimes a bit confusing when being read. Thank God for capitals.

    My daughter, who majored in Women’s Studies, would give ACIM a scathing review. However, I do not let this gender trespass discourage me in the least! As far as I am concerned, whether Helen was taking dictation from Jesus or not, the whole thing is a work of incredible, gorgeous, authentic inspiration, and I am totally committed.

    I quite agree with you about Sean! Believe me, I have done my research on who can speak or teach with a depth of understanding, clarity of expression, humility and grace. He is head and shoulders above any of the current candidates out there. I don’t know how I found him — it was a miracle! ! 😊

    Yes, he is truly a gift.

    1. Even “worms” gets two references!

      I suspect the lack of egalitarian language reflects Helen’s preferences, which in a lot of ways were deeply conservative. I also agree entirely that one need not get lost in that aspect of the material in order to benefit from it.

      Like all living scriptures, the ACIM material seems to evade any efforts to trap or contain or control it. The content (as Ken W., who was intimately familiar with aspects of the containment project, would say) seems to continually transform (transcend) the form in which it temporarily appears.

      It’s like Love doesn’t care about the vehicle, it just wants to travel.

      Thanks for being here, Donna (and for the kind words).

      ~ Sean

  5. This was a poignant reminder to meβ€”to live the course, to allow the course to live through me.

    Thank you for writing.🌸

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