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On the Absence of Middle Ground

One of the consistent gifts of A Course in Miracles is its refusal to equivocate. This is a gift because it renders our options stark indeed: we are with God or we are not. We are heeding the Holy Spirit or we’re not. There is no middle ground. We are either in Hell or we are in Heaven.

This sort of all or nothing approach can be a little daunting. We are accustomed to shades of gray – people are mostly good but they have bad days. I’m generous most of the time except when I’m really tired and then I just want everyone to serve me and get cranky if they don’t.

That makes sense because it matches our experience. The world as we know it is not black and white. It’s shifting. It’s all over the place. It’s in a state of constant flux. All our perception attest to this.

Yet Jesus urges us to be cautious in accepting this judgment of life and the world.

Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. Your interpretation thus becomes the justification for the response (T-12.I.1:4-5).

Properly understood, the flux that we call life in the world is not reality at all but rather our perception of reality. And our perception is untrustworthy and unstable. When our perception is not given over to the Holy Spirit but retained for the egoic self, we see a world that is fearful, chaotic and dangerous.

Again, that seems perfectly reasonable. The ego always see what reinforces the illusions it claims are reality. But the ego is always wrong, regardless of what it sees (T-9.III.2:10).

It follows, then, that when we allow the Holy Spirit – our healed mind – to perceive for us, we will perceive reality rather than the horror show that was made to hide reality.

In the real world there is no sickness, for there is no separation and no division. Only loving thoughts are recognized, and because no one is without your help, the Help of God goes with you everywhere (T-11.VIII.10:1-2).

There is no middle ground here. We do not transition by degrees to perception via the Holy Spirit. We do not have two teachers working side by side. We are always listening to one or the other. And our experience will tell us to whom we are presently attentive.

What does this mean practically? It means that we have to give attention. We need to be attentive to what we are thinking and feeling – how are we judging one another? How are we judging ourselves?

If we do this regularly and patiently – invoking the Holy Spirit by the means that works best for us (prayer, long walks in the woods, close readings of sacred texts, whatever) – then we will begin to perceive the many conflicting levels of which we are composed.

We will begin to see with great clarity the utter hopelessness of working out any solution in which the self and the body are winners. This is our beginning for it is here that we at last accept the need for another teacher, and the need to follow that teacher’s instruction without reservation.

The course offers no middle ground because in truth there is none. That is our comfort and our salvation.

Real freedom depends on welcoming reality, and of your guests only the Holy Spirit is real. Know, then, Who abides with you merely by recognizing what is there already, and do not be satisfied with imaginary comforters, for the Comforter of God is in you (T-11.II.7:7-8).

Thus our practice is always bent on that singular helpful contact: moment by moment: with the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, whose guidance is quiet and sure, and whose focus is ever on Love.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • anil August 6, 2013, 12:53 am

    Maybe because I have always tended to like black and white, maybe because I am depressed/in turmoil beyond any prior experience this morning, maybe because the stars are aligning, or maybe because your post reflects Absolute Truth…. today, more than any other day, I find your post to be spot-on. I read it, re-read it and an now reading it a third time, word by careful word.

    Thank you ! It is a source of relief indeed.

    • Sean Reagan August 6, 2013, 7:53 am

      Thank you Anil! I’m glad it resonated. Hope all is well –


  • Eric August 7, 2013, 8:10 am

    Reason will tell you that there is no middle ground where you can pause uncertainly, waiting to choose between the joy of Heaven and the misery of hell. Until you choose Heaven, you are in hell and misery.~ACIM

    • Sean Reagan August 7, 2013, 4:51 pm

      That’s it!

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