On Letting Go and Letting God

We are not really capable of full alignment with the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles. To even recognize ACIM – as a book, a method, a community – is to be separated. So I think that while being clear about the underlying metaphysics is helpful to our practice, it’s not – in and of itself – enough.

Helen Schucman understood this very well, writing (in a non-scribed section of the preface):

The text is largely theoretical, and sets forth the concepts on which the Course’s thought system is based. Its ideas contain the foundation of the Workbook’s lessons. Without the practical application the Workbook provides, the Text would remain largely a series of abstractions which would hardly suffice to bring about the thought reversal at which the Course aims.

In other words, the world is not real and we are not bodies and we learn this in our bodies in the world.

Which is reasonable, right? I mean, where else would those lessons even make sense?

So there’s a kind of two-step dance here. There’s the underlying metaphysics of ACIM (which are complex and theoretical, relatively speaking) and there’s a principled application of those metaphysics (which is embodied and psychological, and simple but not easy).

If you do one without the other, then you have a move, not a dance. And we want to dance.

The pragmatic living the course encourages centers in significant part around carefully watching the function of our mind and patiently correcting its habit of projection and denial (which, together, obscure peace and happiness).

. . . we watch our thoughts, appealing silently to Him Who sees the elements of truth in them. Let Him evaluate each thought that comes to mind, remove the elements of dreams, and give them back again as clean ideas that do not contradict the Will of God.

W-pI.151.13:3-4

This is not a thing we do alone! It’s a thing that we consent to having done for us. It’s like going to the doctor for a broken arm. You don’t set the bone yourself; you consent to let the doctor set it for you. But you do have to get there.

In A Course in Miracles, our job is to show up and give consent to healing which is the function of the Holy Spirit. We don’t have any other job, any more than the doctor setting our bone needs our advice about osteology.

The course lessons are essentially baby steps in showing up and giving consent to be healed. Any one lesson can wake us from the dream, but it’s their cumulative effect that is actually transformative.

If we make a good-faith effort to hold the metaphysics in mind, and then do the lessons with sincerity and integrity, our living will gently shift in the direction of peace and happiness

This works because ACIM is basically about shifting our minds away from what hurts towards what helps, and even tiny shifts are healing. And because it works, we naturally lean into it, which begets even more healing.

The bible says that as we “thinketh in our hearts,” so we are (Proverbs 23:7). A Course in Miracles reframes this to “as a man thinketh, so does he perceive” (T-21.in.1:6).

But both frames make the same underlying point: don’t try to change the world. Rather, change the way you think about the world, and the world will follow.

There is only one thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain, and the complete escape from sin, all to be given to you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for there the power of salvation lies:

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide
upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me
I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you.

T-21.II.2:1-6

In many ways, that’s a big pill to swallow, but our attending physician – God, Jesus, Buddha, Holy Spirit or your guardian angel – is happy to cut the pill into manageable chunks. Ask and it shall be done.

The Healer watching over us wants only to heal us; it has no other function. Our job is notice our need for healing and then relinquish the mad idea that we are (or even could be) in charge of our own healing.

I have always liked the phrase “let go and let God.” It neatly captures the two steps of the ACIM dance I’m talking about here.

“Let go” is the active thing we do – releasing our stranglehold on methods and outcomes. “Let God” is the metaphysics that we can’t really understand in worldly terms. God acts when we do not. Together, these two steps are a cornerstone of joy and peace. They go together in us, as we go together in them.


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19 Comments

  1. Beautifully written. A balm to my soul.

    Yes, I have too come to grasp that we are here to relinquish any control, except that of choosing the right mind, over and over again… To surrender completely to the divine plan and to see a blesssing in everything is total peace. 🤍 Yet the fear has to be undone on all levels to surrender it all…and this is the Work.

  2. Jurgita says it for me better than I could do. I just thank you for the way you make it so simple,you are a great blessing to me

    1. Thank you to both of you. It is hard to describe this feeling of deep gratitude in witnessing so much kindness here. 🤍🙏🤍 Peace and blessings.

  3. Hi Sean… When I click on Sean — your page gives me this Access to seanreagan.com was denied You don’t have authorization to view this page.
    HTTP ERROR 403

    Thanks

    Guy from Vancouver

    1. that’s weird! and I’m sorry Guy! I can’t seem to recreate that error on my end . . . I assume you were able to see the post because you were able to comment . . . were you clicking on the author link? That should not give your a 403 error . . .

      thanks for letting me know . . . i’m sorry for the inconvenience . . . I’ll keep poking around over here to try and get things functioning smoothly all around.

      Thanks again, Guy!

        1. thanks Guy . . . I think that happens because you’re not a registered user of the site. All it links you to are my most recent posts, which are all on the home page anyway. You’re not missing anything 🙂 Thanks for letting me know.

          Sean

  4. This was beautifully written Sean. I like the reminder that our part of showing up is basically in the tasks of our daily lives.

  5. Good Morning Sean,

    Just wanted to drop in and tell you how much I enjoy your recent Course writings and how meaningful they are to me.

    And a synchronicity: Yesterday I was nudged to open the Course at random, and I lit on Chapter 21, the page that holds the “I am responsible for what I see . . .” that you quote here. This morning I read it in your writing. It does not surprise as much as it delights. A reminder and an invitation, a God moment. I have learned (and continue to learn) to give attention to these.

    I may have mentioned this before, but I began my Course study with the Workbook. I don’t remember why although I imagine it seemed less daunting. My younger daughter, Alaina, (the one with the math brain), decided to do the same about two weeks ago. I am so looking forward to the conversations she and I will have.

    Thank you again for your writing.

    Love,
    Cheryl

    1. You are the resident angel of synchronicity, Cheryl. Jessica told me that the date I randomly picked in an earlier post was your birthday. You and I are not finished learning with each other, apparently.

      That makes me happy 🙂

      I have been reflecting a fair amount the past few days about what gets us into the course and then what holds us. And how that gently shifts over time. The workbook is I think the most neglected aspect of the course. We love the drama of light shows and ascended masters, or the tangled metaphysics of the text, or the elitism of the Manual but the workbook is . . . like pushups or flossing or eating kale. Suit up and practice!

      I mean, it’s not like that in a macho sense but the course is meant to be worked and applied in the context of our lives in the world and the workbook is soooo helpful in that regard. It makes sense to me that would be your starting point.

      Anyway, let’s start a study group in the new year, see what our little lights can do.

      Love,
      Sean

      P.S. I love that Alaina is giving the course a whirl! My son recently started meditating. It’s a trip to spend time with our children as they begin their own spiritual adventures. It makes me deeply grateful and softens the sense of needing to do all the work. Better hands than ours are always working the clay 🙂

      1. Yes, seeing that date startled me . . . and then there was the delight of recognizing how we continue to be woven together in learning to walk this talk, even as it winds and shifts and puts up roadblocks.

        An ACIM group would be helpful and I would very much be interested in participating although I am more self-conscious in the Zoom medium than I am writing or even on a voice-only phone call. (So there is that ego obstacle that tends to get in the way for me that perhaps I am called to work through.)

        But little lights must do what they are called to do . . .join together and Shine. Why else are we here, after all . . .

          1. I foot-stomped, rocked and smiled my way through this (Dude the dog barked at me the whole while.) Never heard Bruce take on this song before. . . It was so freaking wonderful . .Still smiling over here . . .

  6. Hi Sean,
    I have been thinking more on the idea of “patient correction” – that is a dance. Like the hokey pokey, right? Put your right foot into the ego’s dream, shake it, and then remember the truth – and smile as you take it back out. (Or perhaps the other way round.) It is the struggle for kind “patience” with myself for having done it again (and again and again – LOL) that I can take too seriously. That is my patient-correction-dance.

    I got to practice my dance steps yesterday – on focusing away from what hurts and towards what helps. Ego prickled with an invitation to take the bait and make it all real and awful. Then, (and it is a miracle so heart-smilingly wonderful) I remembered that I am responsible for what I see and I choose the feelings I would experience. The other person involved was not to blame – all I needed to do was be totally loving in that moment. What a relief!

    I like having a place to share without worrying too much about whether I am understood. (Smile). Thank you for being here.

    1. hokey_pokey

      The dance metaphor has appealed to me for a long time. It’s such a creative collaborative space and largely wordless so the communication always feels a little more mystical. The premise of dance always feels like sharing to me. And your comment is like multiple levels of dance – self and ego, your self and this other self, and yourself and spirit. I mean, yes, in the end it’s all one movement but even then, even then.

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