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Holding the Course Loosely

I don’t think I will ever be finished reading A Course in Miracles, even though from time to time I hold it loosely, or imagine I am beyond the reach of its lessons. It directs me to the simple practice of giving attention, yet when I return to it, it deepens that practice almost without my noticing, as if there forces at work of which I am at best only dimly aware.

Conclusion is alluring: it represents certainty, which is the brain’s holy grail. Yet freedom lies in not arriving and in eschewing even the possibility that there is one place, one person, one idea where seeking ends. Seeking ends not when it finds what it sought but when it sees the futility of seeking altogether. The welter and maelstrom within which it sought peace through certainty continues: the difference is that we accept it, and in accepting it, see it as it is.

A Course in Miracles emerged from a conservative branch of academia; it looked backwards at western philosophy and spirituality and psychology in order to bring a sort of Vedantic insight forward. It was part of a larger trend of western non-duality that included Joel Goldsmith, William Samuels, David Bohm, Krishnamurti and so forth. It is deeply logical and eloquent. It nearly buckles under the weight of its poetic inclination but doesn’t. It verges on melodrama without slipping over. It’s not for everyone.

In the morning when I walk I give attention externally: to the stars and the moon, to the sound of the wind, to the deer and the foxes and the killdeer and the owls. Hills rise in the darkness, fields unfold beneath my feet. The dog follows or goes ahead. In those moments, the body is merely what receives without question and names what it receives. Later, after the half-assed prayer and meditation forever  characteristic, I write, which is simply a form of giving back what was given, somewhat transmuted, somewhat translated. Walking and writing are the practice. A Course in Miracles is the scripture binding it up. There are others but this one works. Not perfectly of course, but still. We have to choose and commit to what we chose. The responsibility is ours.

Reality opens: the opening opens: and the opened opening opens. It is like the old story – turtles all the way down. You can’t “get it” because it is always new, and you can’t freeze it in amber, or even get it into a poem. You can’t see the wind; you can only see evidence of the wind. God is like that; reality is like that.

The peace of God is everything I want (W-pI.205.1:2).

Clarity matters: honesty matters. Can we say “the peace of God is everything I want” or are we yet hedging? Hedging isn’t a crime; there are no consequences. Yet it’s not unlike wanting a cake: you have to go out and buy it, or make it in your kitchen, or visit a friend who bakes herself. You can’t just say it, or keep saying it. Are you serious about cake or not? Are we serious about the peace of God or not?

We have to ask, over and over: what else do we want beside the peace of God? Hot sex? Better abs? More money? Black bear sightings? It’s not to say those things are bad – they’re neither good nor bad and I want almost all of them myself – but to say rather that they obscure the truth that the peace of God is already inherent. We don’t have to do a damn thing but remember this.

. . . your completion is God’s, Whose only need is to have you be completele. For your completion makes you His in your awareness. And here it is that you experience yourself as you were created, and as you are (T-15.VII.14:8-10).

Our completion is not external; it is not about the right marriage or the perfect house. It is not about A Course in Miracles trumping this or that spiritual tradition, or this interpretation of it being more right or better than another.

Our completion is beyond us: it is not an accomplishment. It didn’t happen yesterday and it won’t happen tomorrow because it is outside of time altogether. If we could do it ourselves, without intervention or assistance, we would – we would do it and then sell it. So all we can do is choose the form of the altar that’s most helpful and then go there as often as possible. Just go there and sit quietly. All we can do is bring the drama of the external to a close, which is simply to disregard it, and give our attention to the faint light – the faint voice – inside us whose whispers are stillness itself.

When we swallow an aspirin to reduce our fever or ameliorate a headache, we simply let it do its thing. We open to it; and it functions accordingly. We don’t have to do anything else. This is what it means to wait on God: go where you are quietest and be still: for we are all already blessed: we all already said yes: even now the peace that surpasses understanding flows gently over the walls that bound us only in our dreams.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Pam Peterson December 21, 2014, 12:28 pm

    I love the aspirin analogy! Another inspiring post. Thank you, Sean, for giving back with your very eloquent writing.

    • Sean Reagan December 21, 2014, 4:08 pm

      You’re welcome, Pam . . . thank you for reading and your kind thoughts . . .


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