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Grace is Inherent in Doubt

In brief follow-up to my post yesterday, I wanted to point out an aspect of Lesson 79 that addresses this question of resigning as our own teacher. Lessons 79 and 80 are two of my favorites – if we could realize them fully, we would be at peace and our need for A Course in Miracles instantly undone.

The premise of Lesson 79 is that we must be clear on what a problem is before we can resolve it. We don’t build a bridge if we’re hungry and we don’t eat cake if we need to cross a river. Clarity, the lesson teaches, is contingent on surrendering our own definitions and – by extension – our habit of defining things, which is simply another form of judgment.

Perhaps you will not succeed in letting all your preconceived notions go, but that is not necessary. All that is necessary is to entertain some doubt about the reality of your version of what your problems are (W-pI.79.8:2-3).

“Doubt” is the key word there. In a way, doubt is the ground of willingness, or the seed from which willingness flowers. We cannot really surrender our self-ideal until we at least have a glimpse of its uselessness, its inability to helpfully function. Only when we doubt ourselves and our capacity to figure this out on our own are we able to accept guidance. Until then we’re pretty much like Sisyphus, rolling the same boulder up the same hill to the same end day after day after day.

But we are trained to resist doubt! We are taught to be confident and bold. Go forth and conquer – be it on a battlefield, a board room or an English class. The world is our oyster – only a weak-kneed idiot would forego the pearl.

So in a way, we have to get comfortable with doubt. When it arises, we need to not push it away but sit with it. Where we feel called to action – vigorous study, calling our teacher, writing a blog post, doing some yoga and whatnot – we may need to simply be still. We may need to rest a while in uncertainty.

[t]ry to suspend all judgment about what the problem is. If possible, close your eyes for a moment, and ask what it is. You will be heard and you will be answered (W-pI.79.10:4-6).

Do you see how sure the lesson is? There is no hesitation in it. It is equivalent to Jesus’ declaration in the New Testament: “knock and the door shall be opened.”

Our doubt – raised to the light of acceptance – enables us to accept the confidence of the course, which is not of the world but of the spirit. We become confident not that we will identify and solve the problem but that it will be done for us. It will done through us, but not of us. And peace is the sure result.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Xavier Nathan August 1, 2013, 10:20 am

    The idea of surrender goes against the grain of most people because, as you have pointed out, we are taught to never surrender. The idea that freedom can be found in surrendering seemed contradictory to me at first and it was not until I met Sathya Sai Baba that the penny dropped for me. I pray every morning as soon as I wake up: ” Let YOUR will be done through me. Please give my life YOUR purpose. I will make no decisions by myself today.” This is how I express my willingness to surrender to the Holy Spirit at the start of each day and since I have started doing this I am experiencing great shifts both within and without! Thank you again for writing another great and very helpful article.

  • Maz August 4, 2013, 2:43 am

    Thanks Sean. Perfect timing on this one.

    • Sean Reagan August 4, 2013, 6:39 am

      I’m glad it resonated Maz. Hope all is well –


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