A spirit of inquiry is helpful in our practice of A Course in Miracles. Forgiveness requires honesty, often at levels to which we are unaccustomed to giving attention. The willingness to investigate – to ask questions – particularly outside the bounds of our spiritual and psychological comfort zones can be very fruitful. It can help facilitate insight.
I do not mean that as students of ACIM we are meant to indulge in emotional or spiritual archaeology, becoming Lara Crofts of the psyche or spirit. It is my experience that devotion to A Course in Miracles – studying the material, doing the lessons, participating in dialogues here and there – will naturally evoke more than enough ruins and skeletons to keep us busy.
Our goal is not to push forth boldly into territory marked unknown but to be patiently attentive to what shows up. And what can we expect will arrive? Memories, family stories, biology, world events, theological beliefs, fluctuations in personal economy, opinions and ideas, art, teachers, weather and cake.
It will all show up – the whole world, which includes your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, energies, ideals and so forth, will just show up. And piece by piece – for that is how we begin when we believe tacitly in separation – we will look into it. We will engage in inquiry.
Inquiry in this case really doesn’t mean much more than a level-headed study that does not rush to conclusions. If you are angry at the world bank, you can just look at it: your ideas about the bank, what it did or didn’t do, your feelings about global finace, fiscal equality. All of it. Just look and notice what is going on.
When we do this enough, we eventually begin to see that the external problems are really just symbols of an internal dilemma. So our attention will start to turn inward. We will notice that we are angry at China for failing to curb coal emissions and we will say: “oh, right. This is about concern that we leave a planet for my grand-children and that is really just fear.”
So then we are looking at fear. Or something else will bring up sorrow and so we will look not at the symbol but at the content it symbolizes.
So a spirit of inquiry – a habit of inquiry, a willingness to inquire – are all means by which we begin to deepen our capacity to make contact with the vast reservoirs of guilt that seem to roil just beneath the surface, keeping us separated from the Love that is God.
Contact with guilt is not made for its own sake; that would be masochistic. Rather, it is made so that with the Holy Spirit, it might be undone. I say “with the Holy Spirit” because it is essential we understand that we are not the undoers. We want to avoid all temptation to seize steering wheels or grab reins. A certain passivity is more than helpful here. In a sense, as we inquire, we are taking what we learn and offering it to the Holy Spirit – it is a simultaneous action really – and it is undone for us. So we are participants, but kind of the way that we are participants in a flower’s beauty. We have to stop and see it and smell it but we didn’t create it.
So that becomes part of our practice of A Course in Miracles: inquiry, which is attention give to what is, and what is is always shifting and changing. It is never not there, and we are never not without opportunities to learn and deepen and become grace-filled.