Gratefulness ends our suffering and we cannot come to it alone. Gratefulness is always inherent in the extension of love to a brother or sister, which may be experience as either offering or reception. This is why A Course in Miracles so consistently brings us back to the importance of relationship based on our radical equality.
[T]he perfect equality of all God’s Sons cannot be recognized through the dominion of one mind over another. God’s Sons are equal in will, all being the Will of the Father. This is the only lesson I came to teach (T-8.IV.6:7-9).
When I first began to practice A Course in Miracles, I considered miracles to be arrangements of time and space designed to please my desire and ambition. Walking on water and winning the lottery. I wanted what I wanted and the miracle was a divine promise it would be given to me. I was entitled.
It does not work that way, though we can be deceived it does for a long time. Lifetimes perhaps.
What shifts us away from this self-centeredness?
Willingness does. Willingness is critical. When we are willing, we become honest. And when we are honest we can begin to see the futility of our personal plans for salvation. We begin to see that every desire we have can be met and we will still be unsatisfied. We start to understand that there is more to life than the body. It sounds simple but to see it clearly can be very hard. We have been thinking in terms of bodies and the personal self for so long.
When we see the futility of our own action – our own resources – then we reach the space that Bill Thetford reached with Helen Schucman when he said “there must be another way.”
That is the very essence of willingness. What I am doing is not working and so there must be another way. I am determined now to find it.
Tara Singh taught his students that want and reaction could only end when one was determined to end them.
Question these things deeply so that they won’t deceive you anymore. In the end we will have to confront the unwillingness that is in each of us (Dialogues on A Course in Miracles 51).
So we come to that place and self-centeredness ends because we are no longer looking to it for solutions. That part is finished. And what happens then? We begin to notice our brothers and sisters. Again, this sounds so simple, but it so much more lovely and rich than just a sentence. When we see without the egoic filters, we see what is new. We come closer to reality. It is very beautiful and pristine. And it is given to us. It has nothing to do with merit, and everything to do with the generosity of God.
Slowly, I began to perceive in my brothers and sisters their own energies, their own lives. I saw their grief, their love, their light, their fear, their resistance. It was very subtle, like perceiving the faintest of faint rainbows at dusk. I am not perfect at this form of vision yet, because my identification with the Holy Spirit is not perfect, but still. It is a very peaceful experience – simultaneously new and the most familiar thing you can imagine. How kind God is!
And there is nothing to do with it. Nothing to do to it. It is there and you are there within it. You ask what you need to do and you are told and then you do it. It has nothing to do with the ego.
[T]he teacher of God . . . does not make his own decisions; he asks his Teacher for His answer, and it is this he follows as his guide for action (M-9.2:1-2).
So you know, sometimes you are asked to talk with someone, sometimes to hug them, sometimes to just listen, sometimes to let someone else do the talking. And it is okay because you understand that “you” are not the one doing anything anyway. It is being done “through” you; and when another brother or sister does it, “you” are still implicated. You are still being blessed. How could it be otherwise?
When I saw this with clarity, and gave myself to its application, I experienced gratitude at a level I had never known nor imagined possible. I was not getting anything in worldly terms – my old understanding of the purpose of miracles. Rather, I was being blessed with a capacity to extend love to my brothers and sister that far exceeded what the egoic self would even have contemplated.
So that is what A Course in Miracles does. It brings a clarity that allows us to make room for a Teacher who knows, who can really guide us. And because we are at last ready to resign as our own teacher, we can at last give attention to this Teacher. Gratitude – and the end of suffering – is the sure result.