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The metaphysics of A Course in Miracles are clear: there is no world (W-pI.132.6:2) and we are not bodies (W-pI.199.8:7-8). On this view, what happens merely appears to happen; it’s an illusion. It’s like winning the lottery in our dreams at night – we still wake up poor.
To bodies in the world, and to minds that believe they are encased in and limited to those bodies, the metaphysics of ACIM will always be insane. From the perspective of bodies and egos, injustice happens. Evil happens. Bad things happen to good people. Only a fool would deny this.
And, indeed, the course is not asking us to deny this. Rather, it is asking us to reframe it – to understand that it is all happening in a dream, and to invoke the guidance of powers that transcend the limitations of body and ego, powers that are in the dream by not of it, and so can point beyond it.
In the tradition of ACIM, we call those “powers” Jesus or the Holy Spirit. What we name them is less important than our ability to rely on them in times of need – which is to say, to not rely on our own judgment. “Not my will but yours” is really the point.
The fundamental practice of ACIM is to see the world as blessed and saved, and – since we cannot see this way unaided – to avail ourselves of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who can and – more importantly – can teach us how to see it that way, too. They teach us to see peace and love by teaching us how to bring forth peace and love as a function of what we are in truth.
In spiritual terms advocated by the course (T-12.I.10:1-2), that which appears as injustice, immorality, horror, and evil is a call for love. And the only helpful response to that call is love itself.
What will love look like in the world of bodies? How will it appear in the world of form? That is not our call!
Perhaps it will look like a protest march or civil disobedience. Perhaps we will make donations of food or money or time. Perhaps we will pray our knees or console someone whose grief is temporarily greater than ours.
If we ask for guidance and are even the tiniest bit willing to hear and accept it, then whatever we do will serve the cause of love. And that will be sufficient in the world because we are not the ones doing it.
A Course in Miracles makes clear that in the context of illusions and dreams, we are the keepers of our brothers and sisters, and they, in turn, are our keepers. It’s good to have a grasp on the metaphysics – it can inspire, nurture and comfort us – but really, here in the dream, the only question that matters is: how can we help our brothers and sisters? And: are we ready to let them help us?
Whatever it is that opens your heart – whatever form of service brings forth your compassion, caring, concern – is the voice to trust when you ask: what do I do with all this suffering I perceive? It will guide you to the most helpful posture you can assume in this world, and in doing so will take you – with all of us – beyond the world.